Case Study: Kanawayhitowin

Kanawayhitowin—Taking Care of Each Others Spirit

The Situation

The Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centre (OFIFC) launched a program called Kanawayhitowin—Taking Care of Each other’s Spirit. The program addresses the issues related to violence against Aboriginal women in Ontario.

To assist with developing and delivering this campaign, PR Associates created and executed a campaign with the goal of raising public awareness among First Nations men and women, living on and off-reserve in communities across Ontario, about domestic violence within the First Nations communities, how to recognize the signs of abuse against women and of the resources available to help those impacted.

Our Solution

PR Associates developed an extensive media relations and public communication strategy to increase public knowledge of the signs of abuse against women, targeting Ontario Friendship Centres, Métis Councils, women’s shelters, and First Nations service providers to encourage support in providing appropriate services to people experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse. PR Associates researched and targeted key mainstream, First Nations, and online media to ensure broad distribution of these messages over a two-year period.

Primary Challenges

  • Did not present all the tips and information before doing the interview
  • Did not prepare answers for the group to use for the launch and for everyone at the training session
  • Timeline was short
  • No media follow-up event
  • No E-Newsletter or media page on current Kanawayhitowin website
  • Need more diversified spokespeople
  • No collateral material
  • Did not communicate with local healthcare providers

How can we broaden the reach to engage the general public?

The team at PRA created a comprehensive plan to inspire dialogue and engagement and raise awareness and understanding about programs relating to violence against Aboriginal women. Specifically:

  • The campaign focuses on four communities in Ontario with high incidences of violence against Aboriginal women. The first community was Thunder Bay, where PR Associates conducted initial on-the-ground research and public awareness building by visiting local media and relevant organizations to assess awareness and understanding about programs relating to violence against Aboriginal women
  • Once the initial research was conducted, PR Associates developed and delivered a media training program designed to prepare local Kanawayhitowin facilitators for media interviews
  • Following media training, PR Associates organized a Kanawayhitowin program launch at the local Friendship Centre followed by a press conference which was attended by local newspapers, television, and radio stations

Media Coverage Examples

Lakehead University Radio Potential Reach

Thunder Bay Television Potential Reach

CBC Great Northwest Potential Reach

Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal Potential Reach

Wawatay Magazine Potential Reach

Lakehead University Public Service Announcement Potential Reach

Wawatay Public Service Announcement Potential Reach

The Results

With the Kanawayhitowin media relations campaign only six months underway, the key messages of the program have successfully reached over 4,897,000 people in the local Thunder Bay area and surrounding communities.

Following the launch of the media relations campaign, local women’s organizations and hospitals have witnessed an increase in call-ins about the Kanawayhitowin program, indirectly leading to improved support for Aboriginal women and families who have been subject to violence.

Our Services

We create stories, communications, and experiences that engage audiences, captures imaginations, shift mindsets, and move markets.

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