A thought-provoking sexual violence awareness campaign created in Nottinghamshire is now being taught in schools in Sierra Leone.
The A-Z of Consent, which can be seen emblazoned on trams and buses and tram stops across Nottingham, uses eye-catching images and messages, all based on different letters of the alphabet and each one designed to spark conversations on sexual consent.
The campaign, which is also publicised on social media and available as an online educational resource, was developed by the Consent Coalition and funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire.
Now, it has been picked up by EducAid, an education organisation which runs a network of schools in Sierra Leone and aims to strengthen education, particularly for those who are least likely to access schooling without support.
It is giving people a new way to learn about body boundaries, bodily integrity, safe and unsafe touches and the importance of consent. It will also help empower students to speak up when they feel uncomfortable or violated and ensure that they have the support and guidance to assert their boundaries confidently.
Speaking on the International Day of Consent today (Thursday 30 November), Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said she was delighted to hear that the local campaign was sparking conversations about consent across the globe.
“The A-Z of Consent is a big, bold and unashamedly edgy campaign and very innovative so in many ways it’s no surprise that it has received national and international attention,” she said.
“It’s great to hear that the campaign, invented here in Nottinghamshire, is now helping to safeguard people around the world.
“The campaign is part of our efforts to prevent sexual violence and protect vulnerable people in Nottinghamshire but if we can help people outside of Nottinghamshire too then that’s a real bonus.”
Dr Miriam Mason-Sesay, Country Director, EducAid Sierra Leone, said the organisation has discovered the A-Z of Consent after doing some research to improve the school curriculum.
“Understanding of our right to bodily autonomy, to bodily integrity, to safety, is so important for children and young people,” she said.
“EducAid has used a range of tools to support our children’s clarity on these issues for many years and have been delighted to have access to the A-Z of Consent to approach the key ideas in a different way.
“We appreciate the Coalition’s willingness to share their materials with us and look forward to using them in many more settings as we move forward."
The Consent Coalition is a partnership of more than 20 organisations including specialists in the sexual violence field and public agencies, who work together to help share messages on consent and information on how to get support.
Consent Coalition Manager Louise Graham said: “The Consent Coalition is excited about our new international friendship with EducAid. We are really pleased to have been able to share the A-Z of Consent with EducAid and to see it being developed in this way.
“We once overheard a member of the public say ‘the A-Z of Consent literally saves lives.’ We hope that in sharing this resource ensures that this happens across the world.”
The latest edition of the campaign – the Night-Time A-Z of Consent – which features a new range of messages based on the night-time economy, was launched in May with a Nottingham tram completely wrapped in the messaging. This followed funding from the Home Office’s Safer Streets campaign, secured by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
For more information on the A-Z of Consent and the Consent Coalition, visit Consent Coalition | Consent Coalition (nottssvss.org.uk)
Posted on Thursday 30th November 2023