Inflammation and stories on Social Media

Social Media Affected Global Poverty
Social media has become a powerful presence in today’s world, with 3.48 billion people, 45 percent of the world’s total population, using social networks. Because social media can help get a message across or start many campaigns, people often use it to spread the word about things they are passionate about, including global poverty. Here are the five times social media affected global poverty.

Jonathan Acuff

Jonathan Acuff is an American author who runs a popular blog, StuffChristiansLike.net, that over three million people read. He has amassed a couple hundred thousand followers over all of his social media platforms, and they read his content daily. In 2010, Acuff garnered attention after he used his blog, Twitter and Facebook to raise $60,000, enough to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. His daughter saw a picture on the internet of an impoverished boy that shocked her, and he decided to post about needing $30,000 for a kindergarten in Vietnam as a result. He anticipated that it would take six weeks to raise the money. Through the power of social media, however, he managed to raise the money in a mere 18 hours, showing how powerful social media can be to spread awareness and help reduce global poverty.

Catapult

In 2012, Maz Kessler launched Catapult, the first crowdfunding platform for projects aimed at women and girls. Crowdfunding is when people fund a project by raising small amounts of money many people via the Internet. As the Guardian reports, “Catapult connects supporters to projects through social sharing, encouraging users to donate and track the progress of their donations.” Donations help women and girls living in global poverty around the world—from money going to building birth waiting homes for mothers in Sierra Leone to many global initiatives in Africa. So far, 432 projects have received crowdfunding and close to two million girls and women have received support. Catapult has a large following on social media with over 32,000 followers on Twitter, which shows how big of an impact crowdfunding through social media and the Internet can really have to make an impact to change the lives of those living in global poverty.

#ministermondays

In 2011, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Rwanda’s minister of health from 2011-2016, announced Monday with the Minister, or #ministermondays. This announcement meant that Rwandans would have the opportunity to ask Binagwaho and the Ministry of Health directly every other Monday and get responses about health programs in Rwanda. This hashtag serves as an example of how social media can be effective as a tool to educate and inform others about poverty happening around the world and in their own countries.

Omran Daqneesh

In 2016, a picture of a 5-year-old boy with his face drenched in blood and covered head to toe in a thick layer of dust surfaced online. This picture was of Omran Daqneesh, who had escaped a building in Aleppo that an airstrike hit. The Aleppo Media Center posted a YouTube video that contained the image and millions of people on social media quickly viewed, posted and shared it. The attention that the photo garnered on social media led to major news companies, such as NPR, picking up the story and sharing it. This picture raised awareness for the Syrian Civil War and how brutal the conditions were for innocent people and children living in Syria. This likely would not have happened without social media.

Global Citizen

Global Citizen is a movement with the goal to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. On its website and social media platforms, Global Citizen supporters, called Global Citizens, can learn about the causes of extreme poverty and take action by tweeting or sharing global issues happening in the present. By sharing and helping the global poverty cause, Global Citizens in return earn rewards, such as tickets to concerts or shows. So far, Global Citizen has impacted 650 million people worldwide, showing truly how social media can make an impact on causes such as global poverty.

These are just a few examples of how social media affected global poverty in a positive way. In today’s world, thanks to modern technology, people have the power to help others like never before.

– Natalie Chen
Photo: Flickr

Technology and PhilanthropyThe ongoing technological revolution is redefining how global political, social and economic development happens. Currently, around 50 percent of the world is online. According to “Digital Spillover” research conducted by Huawei and Oxford Economics, the digital economy was worth $11.5 trillion in 2016, or 15.5 percent of global gross domestic product. This could grow to nearly 25 percent of global GDP by 2025. This not only transforms today’s business landscape but also the business of doing good deeds. Here are three ways that the relationship between technology and philanthropy is already evolving.

  1. Direct Access to Donors Through Social Media
    Technology can be used to nurture closer links between donors and nonprofits. According to Giving USA, individuals, corporations, foundations and estates donated $410 billion to charities in 2017. This represents less than 3 percent of the United States’ GDP. Working to change this number through fundraising technology is social media platform Facebook. In November 2018, three years of launching its fundraising technology, Facebook reported that donations have broken $1 billion. No Kid Hungry, a U.S.-based child-hunger charity, reported raising $5 million from over 200,000 donors through Facebook fundraisers. Other social media platforms, like GoFundMe, have also made it easier for individuals to connect with causes they feel passionate about. Houses for Refugees is a notable beneficiary of such advancements, receiving over $2 million in donations through crowdfunding and online campaigning.
  2. Unmediated Engagement With People in Need
    Although many people in the world are not yet able to access the necessary technology, the internet is helping connect NGOs and their clientele more efficiently. This will change how NGOs are able to operate in cases of natural or financial disasters, as well as create new and innovative ways in which organizations can make a difference. Mobile cash transfers are becoming a popular way of transferring money to those in remote areas of the world. For example, in 2017, because of difficulties in establishing cash liquidity in Zimbabwe, the U.K. government partnered with CARE International, a major humanitarian organization that is fighting poverty in 92 countries worldwide. This partnership provided small monthly cash payments by mobile phone or SIM cards to over 72,000 families, enabling them to continue buying basic foodstuffs and utilities. Technology can also be used to develop help build communities from the inside, by reducing long-standing tensions between communities. One example of a technology company hoping to change lives by connecting people is Tech2Peace, a joint Palestinian-Israeli startup designed to train youth in technical skills such as website building, while also encouraging intercultural dialogue and conflict resolution sessions.
  3. Better Analytics to Improve Efficiency
    Technology companies are helping nonprofits streamline their systems of data collection and analytics. New technological developments are changing how companies can exercise “Corporate Social Responsibility,” or CSR, an ethical business strategy designed to maximize a company’s positive social influence. For example, Microsoft is currently partnered with the Virginia-based charity Operation Smile, which provides children with the free surgical repair for cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Operation Smile has a number of programs including operating international medical missions, running care facilities, conducting research on the causes of cleft lip and providing education to improve community treatment worldwide. One area where Microsoft assists Operation Smile is by developing customized solutions that allow the organization to analyze real-time patient outcomes and feedback, sharing simultaneously this data with volunteers around the globe. This cuts downtime spent by individual surgeons for patient evaluations and allows Operation Smile to perform more operations.

Technology and philanthropy are intricately connected. Advancement in technology has improved the relationship between donors and charities, charities and beneficiaries, and streamlined all the processes that define these relationships. As the technological revolution finds new ways to change the world, it will also find new ways to help those in need.

Holly Barsham
Photo: Google Images

The Pele Foundation and the Empowerment of the Disenfranchised Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known widely by the moniker Pelé, is arguably the most popular Brazilian football player and had led his team to trebled triumph in the World Cup. But Pelé doesn’t have a one-track mind: he has one leg in the sports pool and the other leg in the social activism pool.

Previously, Pelé worked with FIFA as an ambassador against racism as well as with UNICEF to advocate children’s rights. He has moved on to inaugurating his own organization called The Pelé Foundation to empower impoverished, disenfranchised children around the world.

The Pelé Foundation

When first announcing the launch of his foundation Pelé said, “In 2018, I am launching The Pelé Foundation, a new charitable endeavor that will benefit organizations around the world and their dedicated efforts to empower children, specifically around poverty and education.”

Having grown up poor, Pelé developed an affinity for charity work. In the past, he had supported a multitude of different organizations including 46664, ABC Trust, FC Harlem, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prince’s Rainforests Project and The Littlest Lamb.

In the future, Pelé’s organization plans to expand and cover issues such as gender equality and will eventually birth offshoot programs, not unlike other organizations of its nature.

Partner Organizations

Pelé isn’t alone in this endeavor. During the initial announcement, Pelé blazoned that he would be partnering with both charity:water and Pencils of Promise to fulfill his goals.

Founded in October 2008, Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the state of education for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ghana and Laos. Besides improving the quality of education, PoP also constructs schools and educational facilities, trains faculty, champions scholarships and supports sanitary programs. Backed by big names such as Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun, PoP is a big name itself in the humanitarian space.

Established in 2006 and having funded 24,537 different projects, charity:water is spearheaded by Scott Harrison. charity: water gives all donations to projects working to end the current water crises. Harrison said, “We’re excited to partner with The Pelé Foundation to bring clean water to thousands of people in the years to come. Having access to clean water not only saves hours of wasted time, but it also provides safety, health and hygiene. It directly impacts the future of children, and we believe it’s the first step out of poverty for rural communities all over the world.”

– Jordan De La Fuente
Photo: Flickr

 

How to Fight for Social JusticeAn important thing to keep in mind when learning how to fight for social justice is what social justice really is. Fighting for social justice is a way of solving social inequalities. Social inequalities can come in different forms, but they revolve around two major categories: inter-social treatment and unequal government regulation.

Inter-social treatment describes the treatment of groups of people on a local and regional scale and deals with issues such as racism, sexism, ageism and heterosexism. These social inequalities are commonly based on personal beliefs.

Unequal government regulation describes the laws and regulations in place which discriminate against minorities. These often relate to poverty, the death penalty, civil rights and access to healthcare and education.

Health, education, social mobility, crime and wellbeing are directly correlated to social inequalities due to inter-social treatment and unequal government regulation. It is important to remember that these two categories of inequality are often linked to each other. These social inequalities can be experienced directly and indirectly, and it is important to keep that in mind when learning how to fight for social justice.

Direct social inequality is the deliberate mistreatment of minorities or groups of people. This can come in the form of actions that take away resources and opportunities from select groups of people based on prejudices and personal beliefs. This type of inequality can include, but is not limited to, physical and/or verbal assault on a person or group of people and laws created based on established prejudices.

Indirect social inequality is enforcing unfair treatment of people unintentionally. Many people are guilty of this form of oppression because they are simply unaware of it. Consumerism is a large factor in this form of social inequality, because often the products being purchased are made by sweatshop workers, produce waste and chemicals which pollute the areas where impoverished people live and even support political candidates who promote social inequalities.

Taking action on a social issue is a major step in learning how to fight for social justice. Activism, by definition, is using consistent campaigning to bring social and/or political change. With the technology available today, even the busiest of people can become activists for social issues through a variety of means:

  • Using social media
    One of the easiest ways to fight for social justice is to use a social media platform. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all great starting points to grow an active voice for social justice. In today’s age of technology, something as small as a hashtag can be the start of a worldwide social justice movement, such as the “Black Lives Matter”, “Love Wins” and the “Me Too” movements.
  • Donating
    Organizations are always in need of donations to their cause, because to fight for social justice, organizations need funding. For some, it is not always practical to donate money, so an alternative is to consider donating your time. Holding fundraisers, hosting rallies and participating in sponsored walks are all great ways to fight for social justice through activism.
  • Contacting Congress
    A critical part of fighting for social justice is starting from the ground up in local government. Big movements take small steps towards greatness, and one way to help move forward for social justice is making a change in government. Contacting Congress about issues and concerns is a pivotal part of creating change. Voting in leadership who support important causes is another important step in fighting for social justice.
  • Joining local groups
    Connecting with local activist groups can help you stay up to date on events, fundraisers, news and information on social issues.

Whether we are fighting against global poverty, racism, sexism, ageism or the many other social issues that face us, the answer to “how to fight for social justice” is understanding what social justice is, finding a voice and using it through activism.

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Flickr

How to Stop Hunger Four Steps You Can Take to Make ChangeThere are many people in this world who wish to use their geographical privilege and resources to help those in need. However, one of the most common questions they find themselves pondering is: how does one go about creating effective change?

While these following tips on how to make an effective change can be applied to any global campaign, these points will focus on how to stop hunger. The truth is that every day, one in nine humans goes to bed on an empty stomach, while one in three suffers from malnutrition.

Ending world hunger is one of the biggest problems and tasks of our current era, and while the idea of ending world hunger may seem like a large, unconquerable project, this goal is actually quite attainable. There are a variety of things that you can do to further the betterment of suffering communities.

Here is your four-step guide on how to stop hunger:

1. Speak Up

One of the biggest problems surrounding world hunger is the lack of coverage this topic receives from media outlets that receive heavy traffic, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Poverty and food insecurity are prominent dilemmas in domestic and international communities alike, and due to their persistence, it is very easy for them to get lost in the media among other current affairs.

The most important thing we can do as individuals is to speak up — make this injustice known among your peers and beyond. An easy way to get the word out is through social media by posting to Facebook, Instagram and even writing public blog posts.

Living in a first world country, it’s quite easy to remain incognizant to the immense suffering going on in the world, and that’s why using technological and geographical resources is key to creating change. Change occurs when people begin to care — when large numbers of people start to pay attention from a variety of different social and economic backgrounds and/or an issue gains attention in many first world countries, then do we see change.

2. Be An Advocate

It’s one thing to share a few articles on Facebook and call it a day, but it’s another to be an active contributor in the quest for justice. Persistence and ambition are two factors in what makes a successful advocacy campaign, and being ambitious with your cause encourages others to follow in your footsteps.

It’s important here to have a clear and simple message – what are you advocating for and why should people join you?

Currently, there are 216 million fewer hungry people than in 1990-92, which is a great achievement considering the world’s population has increased by 1.9 billion. How will you use statistics like this to inspire others to have passion and empathy for others?

Advocacy can come in many different forms. It could look like hosting a weekly roundtable with friends, or it could be posting a weekly video on Facebook; but, essentially, advocacy is a continuous journey that requires persistence, solid facts and a clear message.

3. Think Bigger

How can you convince your peers to get engaged? Consider the major humanitarian organizations that currently work on how to stop hunger — is there any way you can join forces to make a better world? Are there any fundraisers happening near you that you and your friends could support?

For example, when tackling a large issue like world hunger, it’s vital to identify a key issue within the larger scope of your topic; perhaps pick a specific affected area or a certain type of deficiency to advocate for first.

While the idea of stopping world hunger with some social media action and contacting an organization like UNICEF sounds nice, this is a very large task, and you will be much more effective in your quest for change if you narrow your gaze to one implication of your problem of focus.

4. Organize

The last step in creating effective change — and in this instance, how to stop hunger — is to organize a project. Gather a group of dedicated individuals and figure out your course of actions: will your project involve traveling, will you be mailing care packages, etc.

This is the hardest, most strenuous stage of creating change, but if you have dedication, perseverance and a stable group to support you, anything is achievable!

When in the position to help those in need, any acts of gratitude count. Even if you are unable to complete all the steps above, a simple retweet or Facebook share can make all the difference. Use your resources to help stop hunger and other world dilemmas.  

– Alexandra Dennis

Photo: Flickr

Lessons from Anonymous: Using Social Media to Help End PovertyIn 2010, the Internet activist group known as Anonymous lent its technological expertise to Arabs who were protesting injustices in the countries they lived in. This aid let to an event known as the Arab Spring, in which the governments of several Arab nations were overthrown by their people. The ways that Anonymous utilized technology to help protesters are important lessons for activists trying to enact global change on both how not to use technology to enact global change and how to properly use social media to help people who live in poverty or under a repressive regime find their voice.

How should technology not be used by the modern activist?

Even though Arab people were aided by the help from Anonymous, Anonymous employed several methods which modern protesters should not use, because they rely on destroying the computational infrastructure used by a country and would risk generating bad publicity if they were used. One such example, known as black faxing, is a method in which Anonymous faxed black pieces of paper to various government agencies to cause the fax machines used by those agencies to run out of ink.

Anonymous also committed distributed denial of service attacks, in which members of Anonymous overloaded key web servers in a given country to prevent government officials from accessing network resources on the Internet. Anonymous carried out these disruptive activities so that members of the government would not be able to communicate, which made it much easier for the protesters to overthrow the government.

These methods should not be used by modern activists because they are more likely to be viewed as an act of cyberterrorism and not as a legitimate form of protest. Such methods would cause people to focus on the methods used by the protesters rather than the societal issues that the people using these methods were protesting.

What positive lessons can the modern activist or protester learn from Anonymous?

In addition to the use of technology for disruption, Anonymous also used technology to help the Arab protesters mobilize within their country and communicate with the outside world. The main tools used by Anonymous to connect the protesters with each other and with the outside world were social media platforms. Anonymous also helped protesters use proxy servers so that they could communicate with the outside world without the risk of being detected by their government. Anonymous used social media to help ensure that the voices of the protesters were heard by the world.

Anonymous used social media to help support the Arab Spring

Anonymous helped protesters in Egypt by reposting information that people in Egypt gave to them on Twitter, and by helping people in Egypt bypass firewalls set up by the Egyptian government. Anonymous also helped protesters in the Arab world by setting up IRC servers where protesters could virtually meet to organize and to plan their protests. Anonymous teamed up with Telecomix, another “hacktivist” group, to help people in Arab countries who were protesting their government connect to the Internet even after the government blocked Internet access.

People protesting against poverty, child soldiers, human trafficking or any other issue could learn from Anonymous and use social media to help people who are affected by such issues communicate with others or to help activists fighting against such injustices safely communicate with each other.

– Michael Israel

Photo: Flickr


Desperate citizens of Libya, especially in the country’s capital Tripoli, are using Libyan social media in a unique way. The people of Libya send helpful information that might say something like, “red light,” to signal an area where militia is fighting or perhaps even taking people for ransom.

The country has been hit with turmoil and danger, as they are three years into their civil war, and is fraught with economic collapse and militia violence. The country is mostly ungoverned, and without safety or regulations being taken, human trafficking and poor treatment of migrants is becoming common.

The citizens on Libyan social media have created groups on Facebook to exchange helpful information on things like where to find petrol stations containing supplies, banks with currency and medicine. The posts also let people know occurrences of danger and violence, and areas of caution.

The militia recently shut off water valves that pump water to the city from the large underground reservoirs in the Sahara; as a result, the residents are desperately looking for water bottles, drawing water from ancient wells and drilling through pavement to get access to water. This can be contaminated water and could potentially cause an outbreak of waterborne diseases. Thankfully, though, social media has been a resource outlet for people to find places with safe drinking water.

With all of the complications and fears the country faces, Libyan social media has become a successful way to quickly spread crucial information about the current situation. Many migrants look to the Facebook groups to warn them of certain areas where it is more likely to become subject to sexual abuse or sold as slaves.

Help came to the country through the installation of the International Organization for Migration, an organization that plans to carry out numerous strategies for evacuating migrants. The effort of relocating people safely is dangerous and difficult due to the lack of government safety, but the use of Libyan social media has played a significant role in successfully aiding others in the meantime.

– Chloe Turner

Photo: Flickr

South Africa's Instagram influencersOnline entrepreneurs have popped up around the world. South Africa‘s Instagram influencers, such as Keagan Kingsley and Thithi Nteta, help companies engage targeted audiences for their campaigns. “Microinfluencers” Nteta and Kingsley promote a company’s brand to their many followers for a fee.

Instagram usage in South Africa grew to 3.8 million in 2017, an 8.5 percent increase from the previous year. Facebook, which bought Instagram in 2012, remains South Africa’s most popular program. Of its 16 million South African users, 14 million of them access Facebook through a mobile device.

In 2010, South Africa had only five million smartphones in use. By 2017, that number increased to 50 million, giving space for South Africa’s Instagram influencers during its rise. Such go-getters let South African companies localize their businesses and compete on a global scale at the same time.

How did such a boost occur? U.S. aid to South Africa helped the country grow wealthy enough to support a national online presence. Between 1946 and 2010, the United States donated over $42 million to South Africa. Though this amount represents less than 1 percent of total U.S. aid given in that time frame, it allowed an emerging economy hungry for social networking sites to support a connected nation.

“Growth in South Africa’s mobile phone market is predominantly driven by the introduction of extremely low-cost smartphones,” says Nicolet Pienaar, a business group manager at GfK South Africa. Inexpensive smartphones have become a staple of foreign aid for their benefits in emerging markets.

What is important to remember is that there is a strong relationship between a country’s GDP and its access to the Internet. Pew Research Center suggests that this correlation levels off once national wealth reaches a certain point. MasiCorp, a South African NGO, provides libraries in Cape Town that can teach the local populace about computers and digital literacy. Cape Town itself hopes to “provide a space where people can enrich themselves and advance their livelihood goals, whether they are working on basic literacy or business ideas.”

South Africa’s Instagram influencers, who compete with the rest of the developed world, could only follow their dreams once the country had enough wealth to support a connected populace. Even the most driven of entrepreneurs needed a little help to get going.
The benefits of deciding one’s economic fate are inspiring. As Thithi Nteta puts it, “I really have been lucky enough to work with brands that get who I am.”

– Nick Edinger

Photo: Flickr

Millennials Give to CharityGeneration Y, whose members are commonly referred to as “millennials,” is often considered to be the most selfish generation. However, the perceived narcissism of millennials is a simplified and inaccurate depiction of this age group. Recent data has proven something that older generations can’t seem to believe: millennials care about people other than themselves. In fact, many millennials give to charity.

According to the Millennial Impact Report, 75 percent of millennials donated to charity in 2011. That number increased to an impressive 84 percent in 2015. Seventy percent of millennials even help raise funds for their favorite causes.

If the charitable millennial still seems like an imaginary creature, consider Micaela Hill, a 22-year-old volunteer with AmeriCorps NCCC. At present, Hill is involved in disaster relief efforts in Texas. Two years ago, she did medical volunteer work in Guatemala. Needless to say, she resents the self-absorbed image bestowed on her and her fellow millennials. “I am currently surrounded by 300 charity-minded millennials,” Hill told The Borgen Project. “My friends have always been willing to help others.”

Conceding that millennials are engaged in charity work, is there anything to support the myth of the “narcissism epidemic” that supposedly plagues them? A study done by the University of Illinois’ psychology department determined that college-age individuals score the highest on Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) assessments. However, the research also explains that this phenomenon has little to do with generations and more to do with maturation. Young people today actually earn lower NPI scores than young people 20 years ago.

Indeed, millennials give to charity and they are doing so in modern and tech-savvy ways. An estimated 62 percent of millennials make charitable donations online. The Digital Age has led to the birth of fundraising websites like Indigogo and Kickstarter, which make donating fast and simple for proficient web-users. Eight percent of millennials give to charity through social media platforms, and 50 percent use their social media accounts to share information about charities and causes they believe in.

In Hill’s opinion, the Internet and social media contribute crucially to millennials’ awareness of global affairs. “Now everyone knows about [global issues] and can become aware of what they can do to help,” she says.

Most millennials report that when they give to charity, they want the opportunity to see the good their donation has done. This desire to make a visible change in the world is considered narcissistic according to the NPI test, but many millennials would argue it is admirably ambitious. Hill is one such individual.

“We all haven’t had the chance to enact the changes we want to see in the world yet, but we are now coming of age. Our time is coming.”

– Mary Efird

Photo: Flickr