This year, Zonta clubs in Germany broke a record by having a whopping 90 percent of its 130 clubs conduct a Zonta Says NO action. Together, the participating clubs lit up an estimated total of 700 bridges, landmarks, offices, banks and schools in orange light in alignment with UN Women’s campaign to orange the world to end violence against women.
In all 16 federal states from North to South and East to West, from the smallest rural towns to the major German cities, the country radiated orange on the night of 25 November as a symbol of hope against the problem of violence against women and child marriage. Famous buildings such as the Munich airport, Funkturm Berlin radio tower, Parliament building in Düsseldorf, St. Paul’s Church in Frankfurt, Alster Lake in Hamburg and even the world-famous football arena from FC Bayern in Munich, Allianz Arena, were lit up in orange light.
Zonta clubs around Germany worked tirelessly for months convincing local politicians, institutions, corporations and like-minded organizations to cooperate with them and join in the campaign. Some clubs, such as the Zonta clubs of Dortmund and Osnabrück Westfälischer Friede, managed to light up over 80 buildings in their town alone and others such as the Zonta clubs of Leverkusen and Moenchengladbach Area helped decorate city buses in orange.
This concerted nationwide campaign was accompanied by a huge press campaign on local, regional and national levels. The campaign appeared on German television, radio, online media, newspapers and magazines. The combination of the strong visual theme, the urgency of the problem, the concrete club activity, often in cooperation with other local partners and states, as well as the nationwide campaign, was powerful enough to garner the interest of the press.
Around 25 Zontians helped to make this happen by volunteering to join the national Zonta Says NO Action Group – an inter-district group with representatives from all seven areas in five districts. They developed a huge catalog of promotional materials with a graphic designer, a fellow Zontian. A flyer, poster, banner and roll-up in German, as well as branded umbrellas, scarves, giveaways and more, were designed and could be ordered and customized by all German clubs.
Furthermore, they developed a comprehensive press kit with facts and figures on all aspects of the campaign, thanks to the extensive research done by the German Advocacy Group, and provided the clubs with a press release template they could easily customize for their local activity. They worked endlessly to contact regional and national media and helped find interviews.
One Zontian managed to convince a production company to produce a professional radio spot, which many German radio stations aired at no cost.
Students in one district produced an outstanding video that clubs and other districts could use to motivate local state institutions and corporations to join the campaign. The Zonta webmasters for the German website and Facebook pages ensured the information was current, attractive and motivating for Zontians, the media and the general public alike.
This great success demonstrates the power of the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign and what can be achieved if clubs join forces and a national committee or action group leads and motivates clubs, coordinates and consolidates activities and produces concrete tools and guides for clubs. That inspiration and concrete support of the clubs makes all the difference.