“We came up with the idea to run a campaign course because we couldn’t find a lot of great training for activists and we wanted to give them as many tools as possible to feel competent and involved,” says Arun Devasia, HOPE not hate community organiser. 

Over the last six months, HOPE not hate has run training for a range of activists in the West Midlands. The aim has been for activists to learn from each other and from each organisation’s techniques. 

"The hope is that when the time comes and communities face certain challenges, there are leaders ready to act for their community," says Arun. "We are also building a stronger network alongside other organisations."

HOPE not hate, Friends of the Earth, Psychologists Against the Cuts, Migrants Organise and Birmingham City University pooled their resources to design six workshops.

“It was the first time running much of the material,” says Arun, “People got a lot out of it, they grasped the concepts really quickly and had great ideas.”

Arun and Tatiana Garavito, community organisers for HOPE not hate ran one workshop a month from July to December 2017.

“I took something away from each workshop and really enjoyed them – it was a great atmosphere and everyone respected each other’s viewpoints,” says Elin Strom, a Swedish activist volunteering for Friends of the Earth.

Workshops were carried out during the weekends and included media training and difficult conversations. Each organisation invited ten activists to participate in the training pilot scheme.

Salani Mutseyami, a human rights campaigner focused on Zimbabwe, says the media training workshop was especially useful as she was interviewed on Sky News soon after.

“I got to put into practice everything taught to us on a theoretical level and the training made me more confident,” she says. “Through the workshops I could discuss topics that interest me and learn to better my campaign strategies.”

HOPE not hate is planning to run the training again in the future and aims to further its work with the activists involved.