Press release

Lehdistötiedote SahWira Africa International 20.6.2018

www.sahwira-africa.org

Yhteydenotot: Dr. Faith Mkwesha, puhelin 045 668 8875

 

Aihe: Kokous SahWira Africa Internationalin, Plan International Globalin ja Plan International Suomen kanssa

SahWira Africa Internationalin, Plan International Suomen ja Plan International Globalin kanssa järjestettiin Scandic Plaza -hotellin Yliopistonkatu 29, Turku klo 12.30-14.00 20. kesäkuuta 2018 kokous, jossa keskusteltiin Plan International Suomen äitiysvaatekampanjasta, jossa oli mukana 12-vuotias raskaana oleva sambialainen tyttö nimeltä Fridah.

Elokuussa 2017 lanseerattu Plan International Suomen kampanja on voittanut useita palkintoja muun muassa Art Directors Club of Europe International Prize for Creativity vuonna 2018. Palkinnot myönnettiin Plan International Suomelle ja sen yhteistyökumppaneille Meeri Koutaniemi, Paola Suhonen ja hasan & partners.

Plan International Global tuli Suomeen vastaamaan SahWira Africa Internationalin online-vetoomukseen, jonka otsikkona on “Pyydä anteeksi, palauta palkinnot ja maksaa hänelle #ProtectBlackGirlsToo”. Vaatimuksenamme on (1) Julkinen anteeksipyyntö, (2) Palauttaa palkinnot (3) Maksaa palkkion Fridahille.

Plan International Suomen teini-ikäisen raskauskampanja laittoi 12-vuotiaan mustan afrikkalaisen sambialaisen tyttölapsen raskaana olevan ruumiin julkiseen näyttelyyn Helsingissä näyteikkunoissa, mainostauluissa ja bussipysäkeillä myös muualla Suomessa. SahWira Africa International, lapsiasiainvaltuutettu Tuomas Kurttila, useita järjestöjä ja yhdistyksiä sekä yksityishenkilöitä, jotka tukevat SahWira-kampanjaa, sanovat Plan Suomen kampanjan rikkovan lasten oikeuksia ja että se on rasistinen ja seksistinen esimerkki valkoisesta pelastajasta, eikä osoita kiinnostusta Fridahia ja hänen lastaan kohtaan, joka syntyi syyskuussa 2017.

SahWira Africa International on iloinen ratkaisusta ja ilmoittaa erityisesti sen vetoomuksen esittäjille, että vuoropuhelu on onnistunut ja se on johtanut seuraaviin sopimuksiin Plan International Suomen taholta:

  1. Plan pahoittelee. ”Ymmärrämme kampanjan herättämän kritiikin ja pahoittelemme, että kampanjamme on osittain ollut loukkaava.
  2. Plan ei ota vastaan enempää palkintoja. ”Kielteisen palautteen huomioiden emme myöskään ota vastaan kampanjasta uusia palkintoja.”

c.Tulevaisuudessa järjestö ottaa kritiikin vakavasti. ” Teiniäitiyskampanjamme loppui Suomessa viime vuonna, ja tulevien kampanjoidemme suunnittelussa otamme saamamme palautteen huomioon.”

  1. Plan tukee sambialaista tyttöä ja hänen yhteisöään. ”Plan International tuki häntä raskauden aikana ja synnytyksen jälkeen. Jatkamme yhteistyötä hänen ja hänen yhteisönsä kanssa tärkeiden taitojen kehittämiseksi, taloudellisen kestävyyden parantamiseksi sekä teiniraskauksien ja lapsiavioliittojen ehkäisemiseksi.”

Mielestämme tämä on voitto mustille afrikkalaiselle SahWira Africa International odottaa enemmän vuoropuhelua ja kumppanuuksia tulevaisuudessa. Työskentelemme ja kampanjoimme suojelemalla afrikkalaista tyttölasta rasismilta, rodullistamiselta ja valkoisien silmälasien kautta muodostetuilta stereotypioilta. SahWira Africa International tekee työtä rasismia ja kolonialismiin pohjautuvia asenteita vastaan. Odotamme innolla yhteistyötä muiden järjestöjen kanssa, joilla on sama näkemys kehitystyöstä Afrikassa.

 

SahWira Africa International Press Release

www.sahwira-africa.org

Release date: 20 June 2018    Contact: Dr. Faith Mkwesha       Phone 045 668 8875

Subject: Meeting between SahWira Africa International, Plan International Global, and Plan International Finland on ‘12 year old maternity wear campaign’

On 20 June 2018 at Scandic Plaza hotel, Yliopistonkatu 29, Turku at 12.30 to 14.00, SahWira Africa International, Plan International Finland, and Plan International Global have had a meeting to discuss Plan International Finland’s 12 Year-Old Maternity Wear campaign that featured a 12 year- old pregnant Zambian girl named Fridah. This campaign by Plan International Finland, which was launched in August 2017, in 2018 won several prizes including the Art Directors Club of Europe International prize for creativity. The prizes were awarded to Plan International Finland and its partners Meeri Koutaniemi, Paola Suhonen and hasan & partners.

Plan International Global came to Finland to respond to SahWira Africa International’s online petition titled “Apologise, return the prizes and pay her #ProtectBlackGirlsToo”, which is demanding from Plan International Finland the following: (1) a public apology (2) return of the Prizes and (3) payment of Fridah.

Plan International Finland’s campaign on teenage pregnancy put the pregnant body of a 12-year old black African Zambian girl-child on public exhibition at a shop in Helsinki and on display in billboards and public transport spaces in Finland. SahWira Africa International, Children’s Ombudsman Tuomas Kurttila, several organizations and associations, as well as individuals, supporting SahWira campaign say Plan Finland campaign violates child rights, it is racializing, racists, sexist, an example of white savior mentality and does not consider what is in the best interest of Fridah and her child (who was born in September 2017).

SahWira Africa International is glad to announce, especially to its fellow petitioners, that the dialogue has been successful (see Plan Statement after the meeting on https://plan.fi/lausuntomme) and has resulted in the following agreements:

  1. Apologized , “While the campaign has garnered strong support from across the world for raising awareness on teenage motherhood and for its creative concept, it has also received criticism.

We acknowledge the concerns raised on the design and execution of the campaign and are sorry that some aspects of the campaign have caused offence.

As a child rights organization we greatly value all feedback we receive and these play a major role in continuous evolution and improvement of our work.”

  1. Will not accept any Prizes “Also, in acknowledgement of the concerns, we will not accept any more awards for the campaign.”
  2. Future work will take criticism into consideration, “Our teenage motherhood campaign concluded in Finland last year and our future campaigns will be informed by the feedback we have received.”
  3. Pay her- they will continue to support her, and pay for skills of her choice, “She received support from Plan International during her pregnancy and since giving birth to her baby several months ago. We will continue to work with her and her community to build skills and economic resilience and tackle teen pregnancy and child marriage.”

We consider this a victory for the representations of black Africans and PoC, especially in this case, the African girl-child who needs to be protected from undue exposure to racism, racializations, racial and gender stereotyping and the white gaze (defined as looking at other people/nations through a white person’s eyes).

We are optimistic that all development work and campaigns in the future will be sensitive to the issue of racism, colonial history, racialized power relations; and avoid negative representations that perpetuate racism, prejudices and stereotypes.

SahWira Africa International is looking forward to having more dialogues and partnerships with Plan International and other development –oriented organizations who share this vision of the future of development work.

SahWira Africa International Press Release

Demonstration and give petition

Date: 7 May 2018  

Time: 11.30 am to 12.15

Place: Lautatarhankatu 6, Helsinki, Finland

Its Child human rights justice issue: racism, sexism, right to protection, unpaid girl-child-labor

Silent Poster Demonstration & Give petition to Plan International Finland

#ProtectBlackGirlsToo  #ChildRights #WhatOfMe #NotoRacism

We would like to notify the media that SahWira Africa International would be having a Silent Poster Demonstration, and then give a petition to Plan International Finland at their offices. This is a critique to Plan International 12-Year-Orld Maternity Clothes campaign. We ask for a public apology from Plan International Finland, which they have failed to give. We ask for the recently given prizes to be given back, and for Fridah to be paid for the child labor.

The campaign used a real life story of a traumatized pregnant 12 year-old girl from Zambian, Africa called Fridah. Plan Fundraising Director Eva Anttila says the campaign used a real story to create shock and awe for awareness raising of the problem of child pregnancies and fundraising.

We ask if it is ethical to coerce a traumatized 12-year-old girl child to be taken photos to be put on public transport places, billboards, and short videos on international social media platforms. We ask, Can this be done to a 12-year-old traumatized pregnant white Finnish girl? Race is a social construction, and therefore, we are not different. Treating people differently because of melanin or skin color is textbook racism.

We find the erotizing and sexualizing of a pregnant 12-year-old girl going through a life crisis reprehensible. This perpetuates the prejudices of hypersexual black girls and women. Paola Suhonen the designer and director explains that her theme in the campaign was Hamilton, and describes the clothes as playful and having a romantic feel. Sexual language is inappropriate for a girl-child. In addition, the judge has declared Hamilton products child pornography, therefore, prohibited.

The scene in the video where a white man is seen with a huge camera chasing, and recording Fridah as she plays an African game alone. This can be seen as very threatening to a girl-child wearing tight short clothes, and can be viewed as pedophilic.

We say, the campaign is sexist, and places all responsibility to stop pregnancy on girls. A teenage boyfriend is involved, so, sex education for both sexes in needed.

We also find it shocking that an organization that should protect child rights, involved itself in unpaid child labor. Plan increased monthly donations by 40 % and the campaign raised 56.6 million in terms of media value. She must be paid same way like Western models.  Paternalistic view that we will pay her fees is intolerable; she has her mother and community to support her.

We condemn the awarding that won the Vuoden Huiput award, and Creative Distinction Award from the Art Directors of Club of Europe, and request that the prizes be taken back. Those who gave the prizes can show remorse by rescinding the prizes.

We are unhappy with the white savior mentality evident in the campaign. It centers the Western gaze on her pregnant body, her sexuality, and frames her as the object of pity with no future. Therefore, creates the impression that white Finnish audience will “rescue” African girls in a manner that reminds of colonial representations. It is not a call for equal relations and raising awareness of the effects of global white supremacy.

Afro-Finns, African diaspora and all other races in Finland request equal representation in media, with empowering images, and vibrant programs that are inclusive.