In 2018, over 100 children were being held in a prison-like camp on the small island of Nauru.
The Australian government’s policy of indefinite detention led to some 650 refugees being held on the island for up to 5 years, creating a dire medical crisis. Children were diagnosed with resignation syndrome, self-harming and begging to die.
Research showed that few Australians even knew kids were detained. So we developed a narrative we knew nobody could argue with: while the refugee crisis is complex, locking up children is never the answer.
Then we launched a social campaign: #kidsoffnauru, with an open-source brand that anyone could use – provided as a downloadable pack, or easy-to-modify assets in Canva. In doing so, we gave participants the power to create their own highly recognisable collateral, quickly sparking a responsive grassroots campaign with high visibility.
Launching in August, we coordinated voices across Australia, providing messaging to major charities and influencers like Sam Neill, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, earning global media attention. By October a YouGov Galaxy poll showed 80% of Australians wanted #kidsoffnauru. By November, 102 of 119 kids were relocated – and the government has now moved all kids and their families to safety.
The campaign reached 6.7 million people, and on average an Australian engaged with our campaign online once every 30 seconds.
Facing an intractable 5-year old problem, World Vision and #kidsoffnauru won an inspiring human rights victory in 6 months.