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HISTORY / ABOUT US

We Can! Singapore started as a three-year campaign that took off at the beginning of 2013. With the tagline Change Starts with Me, the campaign used interactive theatre, intimate workshops and collaborative projects to reach out to individual Change Makers and community groups, provoking thought and discussion on the less obvious forms of violence against women.

We Can! built on the belief that change can be achieved when people recognise the problem of violence against women as their own, know that there is a better alternative, and feel empowered to make that change happen.

Through individual Change Makers and community alliances, the campaign hoped to transform underlying social attitudes and beliefs that tolerate violence against women. 

Internationally, WE CAN End All Violence Against Women began as a six-year, six-country South Asian campaign in 2004. This regional campaign currently runs in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

The movement has since spread around the world, to countries such as Indonesia, Canada, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Netherlands. Singapore is the 16th country to participate in this global movement against gender violence.

We Can! Singapore was launched in January 2013. Since the beginning of the campaign, we have recruited dozens of Change Makers through our workshops and forum theatre programme, been featured by local and international media outlets, and participated in a number of public events. Read more about the three-year campaign here.

Since 2016, We Can! Singapore has transitioned from a campaign to a community outreach enabler that rolls out a plethora of gender-based workshops and programmes, and various independent campaigns such as the White Ribbon Campaign. Read more about what we do here.

 

OBJECTIVES

We Can! Singapore aims to:

  • Shake up social attitudes and beliefs that tolerate violence against women
  • Join hands with various communities willing to work towards a violence-free society
  • Reach out to individual Change Makers who embrace a violence-free life and encourage others to do the same

 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

We Can! Singapore is a movement to end violence against women by changing the attitudes and behaviours in society that perpetuate violence.

The movement is based on the belief that change is achieved when people recognise a problem as their own, know that there is a better alternative, feel empowered to make that change happen, and choose to act.

When enough individuals are mobilised and come together for this change, we attain a critical mass that can influence and transform wider institutions, communities and society.

The guiding principles of We Can! flow from this understanding:

Change is the responsibility of the individual, so…

  • We draw attention to the violence that ordinary people experience, witness, or commit.
  • We highlight violence against women as a public, and not private, matter.
  • We provoke women and men alike to think about their attitudes and behaviour.
  • We encourage people to find their own solutions and make their own choices.
  • We do not prescribe how people should think or behave.
  • We invite people to become Change Makers, to commit to rejecting violence in their own lives and encouraging others to do the same.

Change is within the power of the individual, so…

  • We focus on violence against women at a level that ordinary people have the capacity to influence.
  • We draw attention to the choices that ordinary people make to accept or reject violence.
  • We give encouragement to reject violence on a common platform together with other individuals.
  • We treat both women and men as agents of change, and not the former as powerless victims or the latter as all-powerful tyrants.

Change is a social process, so…

  • We seek to mobilise a diverse range of individuals, communities, and institutions on a significant scale, to be agents of change.
  • Change Makers are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences with others, in order to trigger a “chain reaction” of self-reflection and self-transformation.
  • Change Makers are invited to network with each other in order to support one another, women facing violence, and others seeking to end violence.