Ramy Barhouche is a people person bringing people power to campaigns from the Arctic to the Mediterranean
How many people have followed a path from sandwich maker to mobilisation leader at Greenpeace in Lebanon? We don’t know the answer to that question but our estimate is one and his name is Ramy Barhouche.
We spoke with Ramy by email for our first edition of “Meet the Mob Squad.” We found that the current Volunteer and Mobilisation Coordinator at Greenpeace Mediterranean in Lebanon has been volunteering with Greenpeace for three years and has also volunteered with Red Cross EMS.
Mobilization is about moving people to action and Ramy has always worked with people. That has included the aforementioned sandwich making, front desk agent at a hotel, waiter at a restaurant, retail and more.
You won’t find Ramy on Twitter but you will find him organizing for marine reserves in Lebanon and saving the Arctic. What else did we find out?
What are you working on right now (besides answering these questions)?
I am working on a more efficient volunteer and activist structuring program, on creating and adapting training programs for such, and Save the Arctic Campaign.
What is one thing about that you that nobody knows? Well, maybe your mom knows.
I walk around the house when I’m stressed or anxious about something, it help me clear my mind and think things through. Also, when I am feeling down, I put my headsets on and begin dancing to let all the negative energy out.
What is the most interesting campaign you’ve worked on?
I love the current Defending our Ocean campaign which is working to create a network of marine reserves in Lebanon.
When it comes to campaigning and mobilisation, what’s your favorite tool or technology?
Face to face discussion and communication. Second best is the audio/visual message of the campaign.
Offline campaigning is a big part of our work. Do you have an approach or technique for offline work that you’ve found most useful?
Storytelling and relating the campaign to a personal level. This Usually connects people to me and the campaign, which in tern help them see how passionate I am about it, and I found that many times it give them the push they need to have hope and believe that we can achieve the campaign’s objective.
What’s the biggest challenge you face doing mobilisation work at Greenpeace?
Keeping the people interest for a period of time. Usually people are really interested and active at the beginning of the mobilization. But then they seem to become less and less involved in the process.
Is there a great untold mobilisation story that you can share with us?
I was working on the Blueshield Project, part of the Marine Reserve campaign. We wanted to mobilize around 50 people to come with us to two separate locations with landfills right on the coast. We did a meeting and 50 people attended, then came the day of action. We called the people that attended the meeting and about 200 volunteers on our mailing list. Out of these 250 people 55 said will come. While doing these calls we were able to differentiate the volunteers that are interested in staying with us and those that no longer can. So we called the 55 people 2 days before the action to confirm that they are still coming, and 46 of them confirmed. However on the day of the first action only 12 attended.
The next time I called the whole list again and got 40 to confirm, then 3 days before the action i called again, and 1 day before the action I called one more time, and sent an sms. Also we asked the volunteers to pass by for a briefing before the action. For this action we had 35 volunteers with us, and we did a march for 20 minutes before we got the biggest landfill in Lebanon, people were looking at us, and were asking more about what our purpose is, and what they can do to help out. Even though we didn’t get our 50 volunteers to join us, I find this to be a success.
What’s coming next (in tech, mobilisation, campaigning) that you’re most excited about?
Excited about The Mob Lab because it is something new and would like to see how it will go. And Greenwire, because we were planning on creating a similar program as Greenwire in Lebanon in order to create and have active local groups, however that will be like re-inventing the wheel since there is already a functioning program. I am excited about learning more about it and about other offices experience with it.
Pirates or Ninjas?
Pirates! What’s better than roaming the sea, leaving the killing and stealing part out of course.
What’s your advice to someone just getting into mobilisation campaigns now?
It’s just the beginning of a long, exciting, and productive journey.