Last year the IAPB board tasked us with imagining a global campaign that would have:
One overarching approach
We were riding on the coattails of our biggest World Sight Day yet and reviewing how our Love Your Eyes theme had helped deepen engagement from within the sector and broaden reach outside of it.
It seemed that the answer to the board’s challenge was right in front of us – making Love Your Eyes our umbrella for a wider campaign, to encourage more people, including the public to help us achieve our 2030 in Sight strategic vision.
Next steps saw us planning how we could move from Strategy to Campaign and how we Activate change. We considered the things we already know; that our mission of 2030 In Sight will only be achieved with the help of new and wider stakeholders; that this requires a new way of working and communicating; that it is important to get clarity on the ‘asks’; that our language needs to be external facing, accessible, assume no knowledge of the sector or issues and must be persuasive and actionable.
If there was something I took away from my time working in politics, it is the power of simple and repetitive communications. The most successful communications are those that return to the same thought, the same line, the same message time and time again. It’s not until we get bored of saying something that we know it is finally cutting through.
Even with the collective years of experience of our sector, it is often important to switch off the specialist side of our brains and try to think as a neighbour would, as the person we stand behind in the lunch queue would, as a member of our own household would.
As a sector we should take more learnings from grassroot and political language when pulling together our campaign. Eye health is a global matter, our world is vast, but in recent years campaigns have gone global, sparking action around the world with the same simple messages. Some are even campaigns or messages that we may not always agree with, but they stick, people understand them, and people can repeat them.
Some of the greatest campaigns rely on three words. They are their call to action, their organising thought, the spoke in the centre of the campaign wheel. As we move this campaign forward, we must remember the importance of language and the power of three.
Three simple words that simply highlight what this campaign is here to do;
Love Your Eyes.
Simple yet powerful, positive yet instructional.
We then decided to focus on three Love Your Eyes ‘Actions’ to bring our campaign to life and be strong, rallying calls to action – understandable to the widest audience possible.
Accessible eye care
Available sight tests
Three actions to educate, inform and encourage. Each meaning something different, but also part of the same family.
Accessible eye care means access to treatment and surgery for the vast array of eye health issues including for cataract, trachoma, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and many more. Unlocking funding to prioritise eye care so that everyone, everywhere can access the care and relevant rehabilitation services they need. Available sight tests means that no matter who you are and where you are in the world, in a school building, in the workplace, in old age – you can get the sight test and the treatment you need to ensure you are looking after your eye health.
Affordable glasses means understanding the vast and growing numbers of people around the world that need a pair of glasses or lenses but cannot access them because of the costs and regulations barriers that need to be broken down and also because it is the experience that is most understandable and relatable to the public.
Together with our main call to action encouraging everyone to Love Your Eyes breaking down social stigma and increasing demand for eyecare.
We have carried out global and extensive social listening which tells us that these are words that the public can understand. We understand now how people talk, what helps them engage and more crucially what causes them to switch off.
We hope that as we grow the campaign over the coming months and years that these actions start to come alive and can be used in different contexts.
Earlier in July I was lucky enough to visit projects in Kenya run by IAPB members The Fred Hollows Foundation and CBM, as well as projects in India being run by VisionSpring and Sightsavers India. What these projects had in common was that they were all about delivering accessible, available, and affordable eye health to everyone. That’s what IAPB’s amazing members around the world do 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
What we now need is for governments and businesses everywhere to unlock funding and prioritise eye care so that everyone, everywhere can access the care they need.
We have an opportunity to change the lives of over a billion of the most vulnerable people on this planet in the next decade. Let’s work together to act now so everyone can have 2030 In Sight.