The Association of Medicine Students and Interns (Associa-Med) focuses on human rights, health and humanitarian issues, outreach activities and equipping medical students with the tools necessary to their future careers and as leaders in society. Members of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace (SCORP) within Associa-Med attended New Tactics in Human Rights’ Strategic Effectiveness Method training and subsequently developed an advocacy campaign focused on protecting endangered children by reinforcing the need for doctors to report abuse cases. As a result of the Associa-Med campaign, awareness was raised among doctors and medical students at both the hospital and university levels regarding their obligation to report abuse.
Initially, Associa-Med’s problem statement was quite broad, addressing the issue of reporting child abuse in general. As a result of completing the create a vision and map the terrain steps in the Strategic Effectiveness Method they realized that in order to be effective, they needed to focus on a particular group to target for change. They revised the problem statement to focus on the obligation of doctors to report abuse cases, and decided the best way to approach the issue was to work with physicians and hospitals.
The tactics they chose involved activities such as creating videos and sharing them on social media, printing posters, and updating Facebook profile photos to raise awareness. They were strategic in selecting tactics that were familiar and achievable for them. And finally, they took action: they visited all the hospitals in Tunis and spoke to pediatricians, presenting them with the project’s goals and statistics, reminding them of their obligation to report abuse, and providing a toll free number for them to use and make publicly available. They also hung posters in the hospitals and produced a video that was shared on Facebook. Then, they worked to establish an automatic system to convey this information in order to alert future medical students and doctors of the obligation to report. To establish this system, they convened a meeting of interested groups (lawyers, doctors, The Association for the Protection of Children’s Rights, the Association of Pediatric Surgery, UNICEF representatives, delegates from the child protection agency, child psychiatrists, the head of the department of university medicine in Tunis, and the Director General of the National Organization of Family and Population) to discuss solutions and future plans. Interested members agreed to help implement some of the solutions identified. Moving forward, a reminder of the obligation to report will be circulated. There will also be a meeting with the members to begin to organizing awareness training seminars for doctors as part of the on-going campaign.