image for Step up and be counted for refugees around the world

Step up and be counted for refugees around the world

Published on Friday, 11th January 2019

Actor, director and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Ben Stiller, voices the new ‘Step with refugees’ campaign from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in support of a global movement to raise awareness of the plight of refugees around the world.

Each day, war and conflict forces thousands of families to flee their homes. To reach safety, these refugees walk more than 1 billion cumulative miles across the globe each year.

Matching this insight with the global fitness trend, the latest campaign from Hello Charlie, Great State, and the UN Refugee Agency encourages people to connect their fitness apps and donate the miles they’re already covering to a global total matching the distance travelled by refugees.

Hello Charlie, as creative directors leading the two-year project, engaged Great State to work collaboratively on the lead creative, from inception through to the project launch. The team worked closely with the UN Refugee Agency to find the right balance of sentiment and action befitting a global campaign that would bring about awareness and change to the plight of refugees across the planet.

Hello Charlie created the essential launch film and Great State constructed the core digital activation, allowing participants to donate their physical activity to help reach the ambitious target, generating valuable leads for UNHCR, and raising awareness of the magnitude of the global refugee crisis.

Results will be added in real time on the campaign website, so participants can see the individual difference they are making and keep an eye on the running total for the campaign’s duration.

In 2019, people in 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Central and North America, Europe and the Middle East will take part in the campaign, including individuals, celebrity supporters, refugees and UNHCR staff. The target is to engage 1.5 million people around the globe to sign up. Participants can also seek sponsorship to fundraise for UNHCR, which will be used to support refugees as they reach the first point of safety. This includes vital registration and reception services, which provide refugees with access to life-saving food and water, household supplies, shelter, and healthcare and psychological support to ensure their well-being in a place where they are now safe. 

Charles Golding - Hello Charlie’s Senior Creative on the project said: 

“After an extensive period of research and development, the team were able to develop a concept that has global resonance and a universal understanding. The journey narrative is a strong and evocative motif that runs through the entire campaign. Whether you are walking to school or working out in the gym, the campaign allows for anyone from any background to engage and empathise with a subject matter that is often perceived to be far from many people’s daily reality.”

Lucy Weston, Senior Art Director at Great State said: 

“The beauty of this campaign is how easy it makes it for users to connect with refugees. It uses technology in a really subtle way to draw a physical connection and understanding between people who could be millions of miles apart and allows people who feel powerless to help make a difference in everyday life.”

Christian Schaake, Head of Private Sector Partnerships at UNHCR said:

“We know that there is immense public sympathy and compassion for refugees. I see this every day when talking to our donors and supporters all over the world.

We wanted to tap into these positive feelings of solidarity by uniting millions of people all over the world in a visible global campaign that both celebrates the resilience and strength of refugees and achieves a common goal to protect them as they reach safety.

The public response to this campaign has already been fantastic. It will be inspiring to see people from over 27 countries stepping with refugees, donating miles, donating funds and engaging their family and friends to do the same.”