|Friends of the Earth Birmingham
Action Briefing Feb 98/Mar 98
Six months have passed since I became a volunteer daytime campaigner with Birmingham FOE. I started because I wanted to get to know more about environmental issues (the current problems and possible solutions) and also because I was curious to see the ways of campaigning and how an NGO (Non-Government Organisation -Ed) works here (NGOs are much weaker in my home country, Japan). I am finding this job even more interesting than I expected, and I am writing this article in order to persuade some of YOU to become new daytime campaigners!
The main role of daytime campaigners is to be in the FOE office half a day or a day per week to do some clerical work, some research, to answer the phone enquiries from the press and even to do radio interviews if you feel confident enough! Of course you need to know what's happening in B'ham FOE, so it is necessary to come to the Monday meetings as frequently as possible.
"The position of Daytime Campaigners is unique.."
For the first week or two I felt that I didn't know what to do. But while spending time filing or reading magazines (including old Action Briefings), I started noticing that there are plenty of things I could do. The more you put into the role, the more fulfilling the job will be for you! The position of daytime campaigners is unique: firstly, they can promote communication between those people working during the day in the Warehouse and those people who come to Monday meetings; secondly, because they don't commit themselves to a particular campaign, they can overview all the activities and possibly notice something missing from the individual campaigns. For example, I started sending a leaflet called 'Info'* to those people who cannot come to Monday meetings but are still willing to write letters to their MPs or help particular actions and stalls, so that another layer of people ('campaign supporters') can exist between the campaigners and the FOE members.
"..it's meant a lot to me.."
It is difficult to describe what I've learned from this job, but it has meant a lot to me. Thank you to the FOE people for their openness in letting me work. I will keep on working probably until March.
If you are interested in becoming a new daytime campaigner, please contact me (or FOE Reception- Ed) as soon as possible, so that I can tell you parts of what I've learned before I leave. If you are too busy to do this job yourself, please look around you and mention it to somebody who might enjoy it.
Kanae, Daytime Campaigner
Info is designed to provide more immediate information on action points which arise from the weekly campaign meetings: specifically about what you can do to support FOE campaigns. As a bi-monthly, Action Briefing can't always respond with enough immediacy to do this effectively. If an action is organised too quickly for the post, 'Info' subscribers will be contacted by telephone. If you'd like to know more, write to
Kanae at FOE, or telephone or email her on 0121 632 6909(Fridays).