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Visibility of War Child

In 2013, War Child appeared in at least 1,645 online and 2,022 offline publications, in addition to sixty five items on television or radio, which was 20 percent higher than the target. Almost a quarter of the publications had an explicitly positive tone, while the majority was neutral, and only a very small percentage was negative. The original target for media value was also surpassed by 10 percent, totalling almost € 3.5 million.

Traditionally, a major part of the media attention received by War Child is through articles and broadcasts that focus on the numerous initiatives and events organised by companies and individuals to raise money. Nevertheless, trips to Lebanon and DR Congo made by War Child’s ambassadors, and the publication of the report ‘Psychosocial support in emergencies: critical for Syrian children’, contributed to our ambition to position the organisation as an expert on children affected by armed conflict.

To profile War Child’s work and expertise, visibility was generated for:

  • The ‘forgotten’ conflict in eastern DR Congo, particularly the lack of protection and the psychosocial impact of the conflict on children. A trip made by War Child ambassador Marco Borsato to the region resulted in: a news article and video on, which was also broadcasted in RTL Boulevard; a published opinion article in De Volkskrant, one of the leading Dutch daily morning newspapers; an appearance by Marco in the Dutch TV news programme Pauw & Witteman; and an one page interview in the Algemeen Dagblad, a national newspaper reaching approximately five million people.

  • The psychosocial impact of the Syrian conflict on children and War Child’s response to the emergency in Lebanon. War Child kids ambassador Jetske van den Elsen visited War Child’s emergency response projects for Syrian children in Lebanon, which resulted in her appearance in the Dutch TV news programme Knevel and van den Brink and in the popular children’s primetime TV programme Zapplive, airplay on a radio 1 MAX programme, and a full page print article in the NCRV-gids. Through this publicity War Child was able to bring the stories of Syrian refugee children to more than 1.7 million people.

  • War Child’s response to the Syrian conflict through a diversity of interviews conducted by RTL news, NOS news’ eight o’clock broadcast, Jeugdjournaal, radio 1, and, with one of War Child’s Dutch employees in Lebanon, Minou Hexspoor. Minou used the interviews to explain the need for psychosocial support for Syrian refugee children, in line with a report on the same topic (see above). The various items reached about 7.5 million people through radio and television, and almost 175,000 people through national and regional newspapers.

  • The National School Breakfast, an event organised by the Dutch bakery industry to promote the importance of eating breakfast to primary school children. Organisers of the event chose War Child as the recipient charity for the campaign, which generated a lot of focused media attention on our post-conflict work in Sri Lanka, the earmarked programme for campaign donations. Media-attention was immense: local and regional newspapers published more than five hundred articles about the events during the campaign week, reaching more than 15 million people nationally.

Lessons learnt

As we do not have any international research methodologies in place to measure branding and positioning, it proved difficult to analyse whether our focus on positioning the organisation as an international expert in the field of psychosocial support was successful. In 2014, more research will be needed on our international constituency, and how to best reach them. We also need to train more international spokespeople as global media attention could potentially increase as we move towards working in areas directly affected by active conflict, which tend to receive more media coverage than post-conflict areas.

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