Stop Arming Saudi banner held by ten activists in front of a truck. Twenty activists sat in front of the banner. An activist with yellow sunglasses long dark hair and patterned leggings is eating it appears a piece of fruit watching on,.

Capacity Building: Changes to how we resist DSEI

2020 has been a year of change for all of us. Siana Bangura discusses the results of the discussions we hosted with activists and supporters in the Autumn regarding the resistance to the DSEI arms fair, and the move to a capacity building strategy

A Year of Change

2020 has indeed been a year of BIG changes for all of us, and our organisation is no exception. We’ve found ways to adjust to the challenges of working in a primarily digital landscape, we’ve adapted our approaches to disruption and resistance, and – as part of an organisational-wide review of strategy – we are looking ahead to the future, learning from the past, and considering how we can continue to be effective in our work as a campaigning organisation working to end the arms trade.

Consulting with You

During the autumn, we conducted a series of roundtable consultations to find out from our supporters and activists what role they’d like to see CAAT play in future resistance to arms fairs across the country, and within the Stop the Arms Fair Network itself. Taking on board feedback from those who engaged with the process as well as internal reflections here at CAAT, it is clear the best way for us to continue supporting our community of campaigners is to focus on capacity building.

Capacity Building

What does that look like?

  • We will be moving away from leading on the organising of the DSEI Week of Action, and shift our focus towards supporting those who may wish to take action against arms fairs across the country throughout the year, in whatever form.
  • We will redistribute our focus, ensuring we are not only focused on the DSEI Arms Fair, but also on other local fairs, including the likes of Security & Policing (in March), DPRTE (in June) and Farnborough (during non-DSEI years), be they online or in-person.
  • We will be offering a more robust training programme to equip our supporters with the skills they need to continue their resistance in the ‘real-world’, as well as in our increasingly digital-world. Our Training & Events and Local Co-ordinators are working hard on designing this ready to roll-out in the new year.
  • And, we will also be launching the Stop the Arms Fairs (STAFs) fund, which will be a pot of money available throughout the year for campaigners and organisers to apply to, in order to get the funds they need to take action, be it at DSEI or any other local arms fair


Update: 03/08/21

You can now apply for small pots of funding from our STAFs Fund – APPLY NOW for our first round! Applications for this round close on 31st August 2021.

Typical grants might be to cover travel costs, accommodation, accessibility, printing resources, or buying equipment or materials for a more creative protest. We will be giving out small grants ranging from £150 to £500 depending on the needs of groups and individuals.

Please be aware that CAAT cannot make grants for plans to break the law nor any activities or groups wishing to work with the police, however we do encourage you to be as creative as possible in your protests against UK arms fairs.



Want to reach the new Stop the Arms Fair Facilitation Group? Email [email protected] to find out how you can take action against DSEI in 2021.


CAAT would not exist without its supporters. Each new supporter helps us strengthen our call for an end to the international arms trade.

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