speak out against poverty
Today’s celebrities have a massive influence on a vast range of people. They are able to sway many people to support specific causes. Major artists around the world are using their platforms to speak out against poverty. Here are five celebrities aiming to alleviate global poverty.

5 Celebrities Aiming to Alleviate Global Poverty

  1. Lauren Daigle: Growing up, Lauren Daigle helped those in need, always believing in the “value of diversity.” She founded The Price Fund Foundation to bring hope and love to all people. This Foundation focuses on providing care to people all over the world through “communal initiatives and outreach.” By partnering with Love Does, a human rights foundation focused on conflict zones, Lauren has contributed to building a school in Goma, a small city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Located in a conflict zone, it is hard for children in Goma to experience a sense of normalcy. The school will help them gain access to an education that could steer them away from a world of war. Moreover, through her fundraising music video “Hold On To Me,” Lauren sends a message of hope to all struggling people. She also started a fundraiser to raise money for different charities that provide aid for individuals in distress.
  2.  MercyMe: Award-winning Christian Band MercyMe has partnered with Children International to help children build healthy living environments. Children International is an international charity with the goal of bringing an end to poverty. Since its conception in 1936, Children International has established 67 community centers and helped over one million children. Working with the organization has allowed MercyMe to initiate the change they want to see around the world. Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe, said that “Helping people is a core part of our beliefs. We are called to love those around us and give to those in need.”
  3. Amy Grant: Christian music icon, Amy Grant, recently used her platform to speak out against poverty at the International Poverty Forum (IPF). The IPF is an annual event that works to address global poverty. Caring for Others, Inc., a human services organization devoted to providing relief to those in need, ran this event. On March 4th, 2022, Grant brought awareness to the importance of helping others in her speech at the IPF alongside Tim Tebow and Deion Sanders. In addition, Grant has also brought awareness to global poverty through the songs that she has written. In her song, “Third World Women,” Grant “contrasts Western affluence with global poverty.” She emphasizes themes such as the significance of women standing up for women across the globe.
  4. Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United: Two well-known artists joined together in the fall of 2022 to help alleviate global poverty. Both Tomlin and Hillsong united with Premier Productions to raise money for poverty. Through their combined tour and partnership, the artists were able to raise $271 million to help people and communities worldwide. The two artists also joined together in supporting World Vision, an organization dedicated to protecting kids from the world hunger crisis.

Looking Ahead

The celebrities above are just a few voices in the sea of many that can speak out against global poverty. It is important to emphasize that one does not have to be a celebrity to influence people to take action against poverty; every voice matters.

– Madison Stivala
Photo: Flickr

Ethnic inequality in Malaysia
Malaysia made remarkable success fighting poverty over the past 50 years, dropping from 50% in 1970 to almost zero in 2014, in large part due to the decreased ethnic and racial differences in living standards. The road that the country laid to get there, nevertheless, has regrettably led to widespread racial or ethnic inequality and violence in Malaysia.

The Disparity in Living Standards Between Racial Groups and the 1969 Riot

Since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957, the Bumiputera have maintained their status as the poorest group with the lowest average income, as a result of the British colonial heritage in contrast to the wealthier minority contingent of ethnic Chinese and Indians. After independence, the government gave emphasis on economic development, but until roughly 1970, it seems that policymakers were less concerned with ethnic inequality in Malaysia.

A Sino-Malay race riot broke out in 1969 when new opposition parties led by Malaysian Chinese gained more votes than the multiethnic Alliance party that had been in power since independence. The government’s lack of concern for the country’s pervasive ethnic injustices and the Chinese-dominated party’s win, which appeared to be further detrimental to the living condition of the Malays, were the primary motives behind the riot. Malaysia then declared an emergency and suspended Parliament for two years as a result.

Malaysia’s New Economic Policy (NEP)

The government created the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970 as a comprehensive affirmative action strategy in response to the race riot in 1969. Many viewed addressing the enormous racial disparities in the county as essential to accomplishing both its dual goals of eradicating poverty and restructuring society. The NEP officially launched in 1971 and ran for 20 years.

In addition to intending to reduce the poverty rate from 49% to 17% in 1990, the extensive affirmative action favored the Bumiputera by ensuring that they held at least 30% of corporate wealth by that year and that all initial public offerings set aside a 30% share for Bumiputera investors. The Bumiputera were promised preferential treatment when it came to housing, employment opportunities in the public sector, company share ownership and essentially in all other possible fields. By using quotas and university scholarships, the Bumiputera received preference in access to public education.

Next, the objective of greater economic growth allowed the non-Bumiputera sector’s share of the economy to decline while, in absolute terms, allowing non-Bumiputera commercial interests to expand. This was known as the “expanding pie theory” in some circles because it predicted that the Bumiputra share of the pie would grow without the size of the non-Bumiputra pieces of the pie decreasing.

This occurred to help the Bumiputera catch up economically with other Malaysians. To assure this, Malaysia enforced ethnic restrictions on share ownership in public companies. The following eight crucial strategies served as the New Economy Policy’s main drivers.

8 Crucial Strategies that are the New Economy Policy’s Main Drivers

  1. Deciding on a definition and metric for poverty.
  2. Raising productivity and enhancing revenue diversity.
  3. Focusing on the extreme poor through a unique program tailored to their requirements and providing other suitable aid to better their circumstances.
  4. Engaging NGOs and private sector entities.
  5. Enhancing the quality of life for the poor by supplying them with social and physical facilities including roads, power, piped water and schools for the rural population.
  6. Offering welfare support to the poor who were old or crippled and hence unemployed.
  7. Maintaining stable prices, which included state interference in the markets for a limited range of foods and other necessities.
  8. Lowering or eliminating the income tax rates for low-income individuals.

The Outcome of NEP

Martin Ravallion wrote in his paper about ethnic inequality and poverty in Malaysia that this country managed ethnic inequality better than many other nations. From 0.51 in 1970 to 0.40 in 2016, the Gini index of household earnings decreased. About 25% of the decline in absolute poverty was due to lower inequality (a pro-poor shift in distribution at a given mean), and the remaining 75% was due to an increase in mean income.

From 4% in 1970 to nearly 20% in 1997, the bumiputras’ share of global wealth increased. The country’s overall wealth increased as well; the per capita GNP increased from RM1,142 in 1970 to RM12,102 in 1997.

Since 1970, the mean income of the poor Bumiputeras has grown more quickly than that of the Chinese or the Indians, but the difference in growth rates has not been sufficient to close the wide absolute differences in mean incomes between racial groups. Relative mean incomes will continue to diverge if the pattern from 1970 to 2016 holds.

Conclusion

Policies that lessen racial disparities, such as affirmative action, can further social objectives besides eradicating poverty, such as encouraging cooperation and social solidarity. The majority status of the poorest ethnic group in Malaysia led to intense political pressure to rectify racial inequity, at least after the loud voices of dissent were heard in 1969. However, it is understandable that poverty reduction in Malaysia is a key metric for gauging the success of virtually any policies, including ethnically-based redistributive initiatives, in a nation like Malaysia, where there are significant racial disparities and an official poverty rate of close to 50% in 1970. While the official poverty rate has nearly reached zero over the same time period, the government has made significant strides in its fight against poverty, although the previous official poverty level is almost probably too low by today’s standards.

– Karisma Maran
Photo: Unsplash

Regina Equity Project
According to the First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty, published in 2020, 3.98 million Canadians were living under the poverty line, which corresponds to 11% of the whole population. Regarding specific categories, 748,000 children in Canada are considered poor, representing a share of 10.8% of all children within the country.

There is a huge difference between poverty levels in Canadian provinces. For instance, Saskatchewan is one of the poorest provinces in Canada with poverty statistics higher than the national average. Indeed, in 2018, 19% of its population are living below the poverty line; a number reaching 26% when it comes to children aged between 0 and 17, making the province the one with the second highest level of child poverty in Canada.

Poverty also significantly affects Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan. In fact, 15% of the population is poor and 20% of children are living below the poverty line. In reaction to the high poverty level in Regina, a few residents of the city launched an initiative to bring citizens united to fight against poverty in the town called the Share the Credit: Regina Equity Project.

An Initiative From Citizens and For Citizens

At the beginning of 2022, the Saskatchewan government announced that it would give $500 affordability cheques to the citizens of the province who fulfilled their taxes in 2021 in the fall of 2022. However, on September 2002, some Regina citizens decided to use their affordability tax credit cheques to fight against poverty in their city.

The city of Regina already had the experience of citizens united to fight against poverty. For instance, the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry (RAPM), an NGO made up of local citizens, is advocating for many years for a Saskatchewan Anti-Poverty Act that would promote basic economic and social rights for the population.

The aim of the RAPM is to advocate for political measures to end poverty in the province and its capital Regina. The RAPM is doing both individual advocacy, in order to mediate the tensions people, may have with institutions, and systemic advocacy, aiming at changing the anti-poverty politics of Saskatchewan with for example a deep modification of the Saskatchewan Income Support System, which is the main component of the anti-poverty measures in the province.

In addition to advocacy, the RAPM is also deeply involved in education and social justice. Better education can help young people get out of poverty, while it is integral to maintain and defend the rights of the poorest people.

The RAPM had for instance brought its support to an increase of the minimum wage in the Saskatchewan province on May 2022. The government of the province accepted this measure. As a consequence, the minimum wage went higher on October 1, 2022, increasing from $11.81 to $13 per hour. Following that, it should reach $14 per hour on October 1, 2023, and finally, $15 per hour on October 1, 2024.

A Fight Against Local Poverty

Citizens of Regina created the Share the Credit: Regina Equity Project in September 2022. The objective of this initiative is to convince residents of Regina to donate their 2022 affordability cheques to organizations fighting poverty. Furthermore, the creators of the project already decided to give their own cheques to four local shelters and anti-poverty organizations including the North Central Family Centre, Carmichael Outreach, All Nations Hope and the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry.

To help the initiative kick-off, the City and the University of Regina created in the last weeks a guide that includes a summary of the services available in town for those in need. The upcoming donations would be either split between the four local organizations chosen by the initiative or the donor can give his whole donation to one unique organization among those four.

The Credit Regina Equity Project shows how much citizens united to fight against poverty in their area can cooperate with local anti-poverty organizations as well as public powers. Other areas in Canada and other countries around the world could easily imitate this project.

– Evan Da Costa Marques
Photo: Unsplash

Private Sector BusinessesThe U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be met by 2030, are 17 goals aimed at increasing environmental and socially sustainable solutions to poverty, inequality and injustice, among other things. The goals are both ambitious and achievable but funding gaps hamper the progress of these goals. Through conscious investments toward SDGs, private sector businesses could close this gap. The U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres calls on business leaders to use their positions of power, finance and influence to help meet the SDGs, to the benefit of the entire globe.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the U.N. created 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030. The overarching aim of the SDGs is, “peace and prosperity for people and the planet.”

The goals principally involve less discrimination worldwide, eliminating poverty, giving more individuals more economic and educational success, increased justice, prioritizing the environment, improving global health and more.

The SDGs are meant for everyone to tackle, from the average person to national governments and major corporations such as private sector businesses.

The Need for SDG Funding

Reaching all 17 SDGs by 2030 will cost between $5-7 trillion per year, according to the United Nations. Although in 2016, development assistance funds hit a high of $142.6 billion, there is still a need for a much greater infusion of funds and a significant need for the support of private sector businesses.

The lack of available funds from the public sector, specifically, is the main reason why there has not been more progress toward the SDGs. Public sector sources of funding are predominantly national governments and government organizations.

Referencing this lack of funding, Guterres lamented the lack of progress made toward the SDGs and urged business leaders in the private sector to step up. “We need business leaders to use their enormous influence to push for inclusive growth and opportunities,” states Guterres. “No one business can afford to ignore this effort and there is no global goal that cannot benefit from private sector investment.”

Businesses Leading Change Through SDGs

Because there is an apparent need for more corporations to invest in SDGs, it is important to recognize those businesses fighting poverty through a commitment to achieving the SDGs.

The U.N. and 30 leaders of multinational companies created the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance in September 2019. They immediately began supporting initiatives for clean energy in Latin America, Africa and Asia, among other goals.

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative drafted the Principles for Responsible Banking to serve as guidelines for banks to commit themselves to the SDGs. Worldwide, more than 200 banks have committed to these principles. This figure represents more than one-third of the global banking industry. The signatory banks must report on their achievements, goals and growth regarding the principles. They must also accomplish all principle requirements within a set timeline. This ensures tangible strides toward actualizing the SDGs.

The company, PepsiCo, is also making good strides with the SDGs. It is committed to multiple projects in agreement with specific SDGs. The company established a “Green Bond” worth $1 billion in 2019 to do so.

A notable project is the company’s aspiration to restore 100% of the water it uses for manufacturing to areas that are “high water risk.” It aims to do this by water reuse and recycling initiatives, supplying smallholder farmworkers with “water-saving technologies” and sustainable agricultural techniques. PepsiCo cites SDG 6, “Clean Water and Sanitation,” SDG 15, “Life on Land” and SDG 12, “Responsible Consumption and Production,” as aligning with this particular objective.

The Contribution of Foundations

Private sector businesses fighting poverty go beyond business transactions and profitable decisions. Many companies commit to progressing the SDGs by supporting foundations. Top contributing foundations include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund and Gothic Corporation. Total global funding for the SDGs from foundations is upwards of $216 billion.

All these examples of private sector businesses committing to the SDGs prove it is a worthwhile endeavor that needs support on a broad scale. In the words of Guterres, “Corporate leadership can make all the difference to creating a future of peace, stability and prosperity on a healthy planet.”

Claire Kirchner
Photo: Flickr

fighting poverty with booksOxfam, an organization based out of Kenya, is fighting global poverty with books. How does that work, exactly? All over the world, second-hand Oxfam bookstores are popping up, sparking interest in the cause.

Oxfam: Alleviating Global Poverty

Oxfam provides support to people worldwide who suffer from disasters and poverty and works to build lasting solutions to these problems. Through “challenging the powerful,” Oxfam aims to hold those in power accountable for their actions in order to promote sustainable change. Oxfam challenges those in power by allowing disadvantaged groups’ voices to be heard, pressuring policy change and starting discussions with those in power to advocate for those in poverty. Throughout the organization’s 70 years of existence, Oxfam has changed lives on a global scale.

The number of global citizens living in poverty increased to 803 million people in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. The organization believes that the global community can alleviate global poverty by confronting the injustices in the world. In doing this, Oxfam provides a voice for those who often go unheard in their daily lives.

While working in 90 countries, Oxfam alone has changed the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. Oxfam used many different strategies, such as supporting NGOs on the ground aiding communities in need, donating funds and resources to humanitarian organizations and pursuing legal action for those in need. But, perhaps the most interesting is fighting global poverty with books.

The Oxfam Bookstore: Fighting Poverty With Books

A popular place for local bookstores to emerge is Great Britain. Walking through Oxford, near the pub C.S. Lewis frequented, is an Oxfam bookstore. The books within the bookstore come from donations to Oxfam and Oxfam disperses these books to the organization’s many locations. In selling these books to raise money, Oxfam is able to further fund its multi-faceted poverty-fighting agenda.

In these bookstores, it is easy to find books from all genres. A typical store features books from popular young adult fiction to antiquated books that are no longer in circulation. When a large bookseller hears about Oxfam and wants to contribute to the cause, it is quite common to find newly printed copies on Oxfam’s bookstore shelves as well.

In the event that there is no Oxfam bookstore location nearby, it is now possible to shop the bookstores’ selection online. To promote the organization’s values, it is essential for Oxfam to collect as many books as possible to boost sales. When looking online, it is easy to find the genres and the site even highlights a section to promote antiquarian, signed and valuable books.

To be more specific, volunteers run both Oxfam thrift stores and book shops around the world. The funds the bookstores raise are then dispersed to their various home bases. Through these bookstores’ contributions and by providing an accessible platform for people to donate and contribute to valuable causes, Oxfam furthers the global fight against poverty.

Fighting Poverty One Book at a Time

For book lovers who want to change the world, Oxfam bookstores are a great way to help out those in need while finding the newest story to delve into. From just a quick search, first edition novels such as “Ross Poldark,” “Will Grayson” and “The Screwtape Letters” can be found in these volunteer-led bookstores. Prices vary depending on the quality and rarity of these works, but it is clear that fighting global poverty with books is a great way to benefit both those in need and one’s own book cravings.

By fighting global poverty with books, Oxfam encourages widespread education that can be available to everyone, without having to explicitly say it. Contributing to the fight against global poverty can occur through the simple transaction of purchasing a book from a small shop.

– Natalie Belford
Photo: Pexels

health technologies for developing countriesIn recent years, there have been numerous innovations in medicine and new health technologies for developing countries. These technologies target a large variety of issues including medical testing, identifying safe drinking water, filtering dirty water and decreasing infant and maternal mortality rates. Some innovations that have had a significant impact on global health and show potential for future interventions include Hemafuse, Embrace Warmers, 3D printing in medicine and SMS services to identify counterfeit medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Hemafuse

The Hemafuse is a recent example of new health technologies for developing countries. Autotransfusion is a medical procedure that recycles a patient’s blood back into their system. This practice can be extremely useful when there is no donor or matching blood type in injuries with large volumes of blood loss or internal bleedings. Blood transfusions are necessary for many medical situations. A significant number of maternal deaths in developing countries result from blood loss. Medics in Sub-Saharan Africa often use an extremely unsanitary technique of blood transfusion that involves a kitchen soup ladle because of the lack of alternatives. Before being reinfused into the patient’s system, the blood is filtered using gauze.

Sisu Global Health developed the Hemafuse for women with ruptured ectopic pregnancies to prevent life-threatening internal bleeding. The handheld device recovers blood from internal bleeds, filters out clots and impurities and reinfuses it the patient. Sisu Global Health is hoping to expand its design and impact 14 million lives. The device is easy to use and has the potential to decrease maternal mortality rates in developing countries. This is because it is sterile and does not require donor blood.

Embrace Warmers

The Embrace warmer is one of the health technologies for developing countries created to help newborns. The warmers were designed as portable incubators and warmers for newborns who are born premature or are lacking body fat. Lack of electricity and heating in hospitals can lead to complications such as neonatal hypothermia for newborns in developing countries. Jane Chen designed Embrace warmers at Stanford University and the device costs less than 1% of what regular incubators cost. More than 300,000 newborns in 22 countries benefitted from Embrace warmers. Organizations around the world have recognized this innovation, as well as influential people including Beyoncé and Barack Obama.

3D Printing for Developing Countries 

3D printing technology has resulted in huge advances in medicine. Specifically, 3D printing as a form of health technology for developing countries can help improve access to medical supplies. Developing prosthetics, setting up field hospitals and creating medical devices are all ways in which 3D printing can improve healthcare in developing countries.

Around the world, 80% of individuals who need prosthetics don’t have access to them. The e-NABLING the Future project is a network of volunteers who bring affordable 3D printing designs for hands and arms to those in need. There are many people in the developing world who have lost fingers or hands to war, natural disasters or disease. Through the 3D printing of prosthetics, these individuals have the opportunity to regain the use of their hands and fingers.

Doctors Without Borders has been looking into how 3D printing could be used for field hospital setups. Additionally, 3D printing allows for medical supplies to be produced directly in developing countries instead of being imported. This process can help spark medical development in poor areas instead of relying on products from other countries. Medical supplies produced by 3D printers include water testing kits that test for bacteria to determine if the water is safe for drinking and lab-in-a-box kits that are solar-powered and test for various diseases.

SMS Texting for Fake Drugs

Another increasingly pressing health issue is counterfeit medicine in sub-Saharan Africa. It is difficult to know exactly how many counterfeit drugs are circulating because the market is underground. However, there have been many counterfeit drug seizures in recent years. One out of every 10 medical drugs in all developing countries, and therefore most of Africa, is counterfeit or not standardized according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO also estimates that counterfeit medicine causes 116,000 deaths annually in Sub-Saharan Africa, costing $38.5 million every year.

While there needs to be structural reform to address the issue, a company founded in 2009 by Bright Simons from Ghana has developed a text messaging system so that users can verify whether the drugs they have are legitimate. The company has since grown and has helped more than 100 million individuals. Users must scan the drug’s barcode with their phone camera or text a code from the drug’s label to a hotline for verification.

Many exciting health technologies for developing countries have been introduced in recent years. These innovations can be extremely effective and have the potential to tackle global health issues, but proper access remains an issue. Simply developing these technologies does not ensure that underserved communities have access to them. Some of the most common issues regarding access are affordability, low supply and low production. This is due to the underestimation of the demand for products in developing countries. Developing access plans that take into account all of the social, economic and cultural barriers to access is crucial to ensure that these innovations can make an impact on global health in developing countries.

Maia Cullen
Photo: Flickr

Pets in Poverty
The numbers of medical supplies and resources are always falling short in impoverished nations. With an exceedingly high demand for hospital necessities such as surgical tools, disinfectants, bandages and more, these necessities often overshadow the needs of proper health care for pets. Governments in developing countries often do not have enough resources to allocate the necessary funds to help keep pets healthy and safe. Many local administrations will often resort to inhumane methods to control the large population of roaming animals, such as shooting, poisoning or drowning. Therefore, many animal rescue organizations provide the necessary means and tools to aid these pets in poverty. Here are three animal rescue organizations helping pets in poverty.

3 Animal Rescue Organizations Helping Pets in Poverty

  1. SPCA International: The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is one of the leading nonprofit animal welfare organizations in the world. One of the most important programs SPCA International is working on is the spay and neuter procedures for animals in developing countries. Spaying and neutering are important for the quality of life for pets in poverty because many owners often abandon or give away any pets that have a chance of reproducing in fear of financial burden or neglect. SPCA International supports local organizations in countries with limited resources by providing cash grants through its Shelter Support Fund and veterinary tools through its Veterinary Supply Aid program. Additionally, it provides information and awareness about the ethics and importance of spaying and neutering. Local organizations, in turn, take the resources that the SPCA International provides to set up free or low-cost clinics and campaigns so that people can access the necessary health care for their pets. These low-cost campaigns are incredibly important for pets in poverty because there are little to no veterinary clinics able to provide accessible and cost-efficient health care in many regions. By supporting these spay and neuter campaigns, SPCA International continues to strive to reduce suffering and death for millions of animals.
  2. Animal Aid Unlimited: Animal Aid Unlimited (AAU) emerged in India in 2002. Its goal is to rescue and treat animals that people find on the street and are in need of medical attention. The organization runs an animal rescue center in India that doubles as a hospital and sanctuary for street animals. It found worldwide popularity by connecting its rescues and treatments through social media. AAU has more than 5.39 million subscribers on YouTube. The organization documents its rescues and medical treatment operations in short videos that often start out with anguishing undertones but end with a happy and healthy pet. The organization helps heal many of the pets in poverty left on India’s streets to die and shares the positivity online through its growing YouTube channel. AAU connects with and inspires the global community in its current efforts to help abandoned animals on the streets.
  3. Humane Society International: The Humane Society International (HSI) provides the necessary medical supplies and education for local governments in developing countries to enact humane ways of controlling growing animal populations. The organization works with local advocates in creating charities to battle against the inhumane shootings of unowned animals in the streets. With the support of HSI, local charities such as the Homeless Animals Protection Society in Ethiopia were able to emerge and thrive. These local charities receive the support to provide free or low-cost spay and neuter programs, as well as vaccination initiatives to combat deaths that rabies caused. The majority of deaths due to rabies occur in developing nations, and the vaccination equipment and education that HSI provides save thousands of people and animals each year.

While there are challenges getting health care to pets in developing nations, these three animal rescue organizations helping pets in poverty are truly making a difference. Through their continued efforts, pets should continue to receive the support they need.

Aria Ma
Photo: Pixabay

Social Media Fight Global PovertyIn today’s world, social media is a huge part of everyday life for most people. It allows for communication across continents with the simple click of a button. While many believe that social media imposes a negative impact on society, it is undeniable that this new means of communication can lead to extraordinary change. Here are five examples of social media fighting global poverty.

5 Examples of Social Media Fighting Global Poverty

  1. Joshua’s Heart Foundation is an organization using social media to tackle global poverty. Joshua Williams created the organization at the age of 4. By reaching out to his fellow youth through Facebook and Instagram, Joshua and his organization have raised more than $1 million toward ending hunger across the globe. The organization has nearly 12,500 followers on Facebook as well as 2,200 followers on Twitter, proving that a strong social media following allows for the opportunity to make an immense change.
  2. GlobalCitizen.org is an online community dedicated to raising awareness and inciting users to fight global poverty. The website encourages Internet users to learn more about extreme poverty on its website. When followers get involved,  they earn real-life rewards such as concert tickets for doing so. In its 10 years of existence, GlobalCitizen.org has cultivated a $48.4 billion commitment to aid the world’s poor. The website continues to grow as a social media platform, contributing heavily to the fight against extreme poverty. It aims to bring an end to the issue by 2030.
  3. #TweetsGiving was one of the earliest movements to use a social media website such as Twitter to fight global poverty and raise funds for a good cause. In 2008, the web-based organization Epic Change encouraged Twitter users everywhere to express their thanks. The hashtag “TweetsGiving” soon became the number one trending topic on Twitter. Participating users raised more than $11,000 as a way of honoring what they were grateful for. The money went to building a classroom in Tanzania, which included a wall displaying the Twitter handle of each donor. The #TweetsGiving movement has continued every year since its origin, accumulating more than $100,000 in donations. These donations have resulted in the development of schools, libraries and homes for disabled veterans in Tanzania, Nepal and the U.S.
  4. One Day Without Shoes is an Instagram campaign created by Toms Shoes, a Californian shoe company known for donating a pair of shoes to impoverished children for each pair sold. The campaign uses social media as a platform to fight global poverty by encouraging users to spend a day not wearing shoes. Users take photos documenting their experience and post them to Instagram with the hashtag “WithoutShoes.” It incited a movement that has resulted in people everywhere experiencing firsthand how difficult life can be when lacking an amenity often taken for granted. For every photo posted and tagged #WithoutShoes, Toms Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. As a result, Tom’s has given 100,000 shoes to youth living in poverty across 10 countries.
  5. #MealForShare was an Instagram trend that Colombian food bank ABACO generated in 2014 to draw attention to Colombia’s poverty issue. ABACO fabricated dozens of Instagram accounts through which the foodbank posted photos with the hashtag #MealForShare to display the devastating reality of poverty in Colombia. The posts featured rotten products as well as food dug out from the trash. Each meal featured in the posts was available for metaphorical purchase, prompting users to donate their chosen amount to ABACO. The trend contributed 185 tons of food to poor populations in Colombia.

From reward-granting websites to trending hashtags, there are countless ways that social media can provoke change when used as a tool for raising awareness. The Internet is now a major part of everyday life for people all over the world. This means everyone has the opportunity to join movements already in existence. They also have the chance to begin their own campaigns against global poverty, changing the world one click at a time.

– Harley Goebel

Photo: Flickr