The Make.org Foundation project is taking place at a time when representative democracy is showing its limits, whether it be with the abstention rate (66% in the 2021 regional elections), the loss of confidence in politicians or the distance between elected officials and the reality on the ground. This observation leads us to rethink democracy as a whole and especially the importance of the citizens’ will in the legitimisation of projects. This is why we have developed Great Causes programs, whose action stems from a massive citizen consultation, allowing us to conceive and deploy concrete actions responding to the citizen’s will.
As part of the Great Causes projects, Make.org Foundation decided to launch a large citizen consultation around the following topic : stop violence against women. This proposal was put in place following #metoo and the alarming statistics on the number of women victims of violence in any kind. Indeed, 100% of women have been victims of sexual harassment on public transport, 1 woman out of 3 has been subjected to physical and/or sexual violence, 12% of French women have already been victims of rape, every 3 days a woman dies under the blows of her (ex) partner.
Concerning the global project of Make.org Foundation, we have noticed that a constant decrease of citizens’ participation in the democratic debate requires a new legitimacy to their will. This is why our actions all originate from a massive citizen consultation, which is then translated into research and actions of general interest deployed on a national scale.
To achieve the expected changes and improvements, we work under our specific model we developed, named the Great Causes. This is a 3-year work cycle that includes a citizen consultation phase (3 months), a conception phase through various workshops (6 months) and a national project deployment phase (27 months). For each Great Causes projects, we have developed an action plan with qualitative and quantitative objectives. For almost all the actions, the quantitative results reach all the objectives. Nevertheless, all the actions have driven structural and qualitative improvements, making this first major cause a success in terms of social impact.
- Chouette pas chouette intended to sensitize 80% of the 4-6 years old to the fight against ordinary sexism thanks to a youth program broadcasted by all the television channels and to pedagogical kits for teachers and families. The actual results are very favorable and the awareness and media coverage have been very strong. We have planned the release of the manual in bookstores, an international distribution and the production of new episodes.
- “Comprendre pour mieux agir” intended to deploy an awareness-raising campaign for 66.000 police officers to improve the way police services deal with women victims of violence, in addition to existing training. Today, the modules are still on the front page of the National Police training platform and have been integrated into the mandatory modules of the police training.
- “Memo de vie” intended to help 20,000 women victims of domestic violence each year to become aware, secure documents, get information and call for help, thanks to a digital platform. The process of prescription by the professionals being rather long, the objective will be reached in a longer time. Nevertheless, we benefit from the recognition and partnership of the Ministry of Justice, the Gendarmerie, the National Police and the Medical Association.
- “Abri d’urgence” intended to allow each year 10,000 women victims of violence to have access to safe emergency shelter by mobilising unsold hotel nights.Despite the period of confinement that affected many hotels, the impact of this operation is on a very positive dynamic with the creation of a dedicated booking platform for women victims of violence and a national deal with the largest hotel group Accor in place (platform CEDA).
These works have created positive externalities on two levels. The first is the actions of the great cause, which have made it possible to support thousands of women who are victims of daily violence and to raise the awareness of a large number of actors and citizens on this subject. The second impact concerns the citizens who participated in the consultation. Their involvement allowed them to better understand the issues at stake, to contribute to a social problem and to have more confidence in democracy. The last one, is more internal to the functioning of Make.org Foundation and concerns the social impact of the pooling of expertise between actors of different kinds.
Insights / Advice to Peers
The deployment of the great cause could not be done without the coalition of the civil society united to act together against violence against women. In order to deploy our actions, we have brought together more than 400,000 citizens, more than 100 celebrities supporting the project, 13 companies including 3 founding partners, 18 media, 7 institutions and 35 NGOs and start-ups.
The advices we would give to peers are the following :
- The viability and sustainability of such a project was made possible by the mobilisation of all stakeholders. The energy and intensity deployed by all the actors has allowed structural changes and systemic and determining social impact.
- The choice of the right actors is also one of the keys to the success of the project. Whether they are private collaborators or donors, NGOs or public institutions, the strategic choice of project leaders is undeniably a major factor in the viability of our project.
- The synergy between the impact of the actions carried out and the will to improve the global democratic dynamics help us to manage such projects.
Marke.org Foundation, Head of Philanthropic Partnerships