With over 3.9 million evacuees, Turkey has the world’s largest refugee population. These people are in crisis. Food, water and shelter are available, but the more subtle fundamentals that make the difference between surviving and living, are hard to come by.
The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) is the biggest humanitarian project the European Union (EU) has ever funded – a debit card giving refugees a fixed monthly payment and a vital lifeline to buy fuel, pay rent and access medicine.
But this critical financial assistance was at acute risk. Without public support from EU taxpayers the ESSN debit card and other vital support could be cut. We needed to remind a news-jaded public that these refugees are real people and reassure EU taxpayers that their money was being put to good use through a programme that goes beyond just feeding people but helps them regain dignity and control.
Through extensive qualitative and quantitative research we identified the ‘care reflex’ – even if people can switch off from a remote problem, there is an almost primal instinct to help someone in trouble if they are physically or emotionally connected. We knew that if we could create that connection, we could re-ignite the world’s compassion.
So, we decided to take a look at the world through the eyes of Nour, an 8-year-old Syrian refugee, delivering a story no one could turn away from.
We achieved 98% positive sentiment across all channels – beating the 40% favourable sentiment average set from previous campaigns . We also helped outline the important work the ESSN is doing in Turkey without wading into political territory. But most importantly, the reaction was so strong, the EU extended its target and resources by 30% to reach 1.3 million refugees by March 2018, helping an additional 300,000 refugee families.