Interview: Be prepared, not scared!
An interview with Monika Al-Mufti from GNDR Member organisation #30days30waysUK
What is #30days30waysUK?
#30days30waysUK is a nationwide online campaign that raises public awareness of emergency preparedness. It is supported by a network of professionals that span the emergency services, disaster risk reduction, emergency planning and business continuity.
The campaign runs primarily on Twitter and Facebook with a yearly campaign called September is Preparedness Month. Advice, challenges and games are shared each day, using the hashtag #30days30waysUK, with a focus on locally-relevant information on risks.
Who’s involved in the campaign?
Everyone can join in and learn - in a fun, engaging way - how to be prepared for disasters.
42 UK regions in England and Wales have, by law, local resilience forums made up of the emergency services and supporting agencies. Each of these forums have regional responsibility to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their local area.
Many of the forums across the UK are now involved in the campaign. They take part by sharing advice and content on their organisation’s social media accounts, using the hashtag, #30days30waysUK. Charities, businesses, community groups and individuals also get involved in each of the daily discussions.
How did the campaign begin?
30days30ways was originally started in Vancouver, Washington State, USA, by the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency. Their primary focus was on sharing local emergency preparedness information by email. In 2015 Joanne Maddams established the campaign in the UK, shifting the focus to Twitter, enabling community communication to become a two-way conversation. Last year we reached an estimated 840,000 people on Twitter.
What are your ambitions for the future?
We are running and disseminating a free, open source, evidence-based, emergency risk communication method. This means that the campaign and the associated tools that are created and shared can be used and adapted by anyone, anywhere in the world.
Our ambition is to develop the campaign in other countries, so that each country can use the hashtag, #30days30ways and add two letters to signify their own country (e.g. #30days30waysNZ for New Zealand or #30days30waysPK for Pakistan).
Why did your organisation join GNDR?
It’s a question of outreach, first and foremost. We believe we have a very good methodology that is applicable and transferable to pretty much anywhere in the world. What got me thinking about this was when I considered how many Twitter users there are for example in Indonesia. When you have a country like that, that faces large-scale disaster risks, and has many Twitter users, then this presents an opportunity to really build preparedness.
For me it’s about developing and supporting civil society, about supporting bottom-up approaches to local emergency preparedness.
What’s unique about this campaign?
What I’ve seen most often is an approach which tries to scare people into action. It’s completely the wrong approach. #30days30waysUK took, for the first time, a much more light-hearted approach - by making it into a game, posting challenges and using humour. I joined the campaign because social media means potentially anyone can join or create their own locally-relevant approaches.
Read our Member profile of #30days30waysUK.
If you're a GNDR Member you can connect with Monika Al-Mufti on the GNDR Community Platform.