Inflammation and stories on Social Media

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

Instagram Provides a View of GazaIn June 2007, Israel began a strict land, sea and air blockade of Gaza. Nearly two million people live locked inside, the borders rigorously controlled. The movement of goods and humans are harshly restricted, and for as much as 72 percent of the population, food supplies are uncertain. 41 percent are unemployed. Hospitals must rely on generators to maintain life-saving equipment, and their stock of medicine dwindles dangerously. Drinking water is in danger of running out if the highly-taxed desalinization plants break down.

Through the camera lenses of two Palestinian women, Instagram provides a view of Gaza that few outsiders are allowed to see. Though forbidden to leave Gaza, Kholoud Nassar and Fatma Mosabah are Instagram celebrities by showing the world there is more to Gaza than the war. Each woman has over 100,000 Instagram followers. Through images captured by Nassar and Mosabah on their cell phones, Instagram provides a view of Gaza to those who live outside its restrictive borders. The people of Gaza, locked inside a land mass the approximate size of Philadelphia, recognize Nassar and Mosabah several times a day,

Israel guards Gaza’s borders to the east and north by Israel, Egypt to the south and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Gazans must obtain permission to leave the area. Neither Nassar nor Mosabah has left Gaza in over 10 years. Also, Israel denies tourists permission to visit Gaza. The rest of the world can only imagine what life is like inside the heavily guarded strip. Since 2008, three wars have played out between Hamas and Israel. For most, the mention of Gaza conjures visions of devastation, poverty and suffering.

Although Gazans receive just a short period of electricity each day, social media sites are remarkably popular. Palestinian Social Media Club president Ali Bkheet calculates that approximately 50 percent of Gazans have Facebook accounts. The number utilizing Twitter and Instagram are significantly smaller.

According to Bkheet, the decade-long Israeli blockade makes Gazans particularly enthusiastic to use social media to express themselves and narrate the story of Gaza.

Rather than using text to educate outsiders about life in Gaza, Kholoud Nassar and Fatma Mosabah depict the people and the beauty of their homeland through pictures. Instagram’s focus on photos over text and political debates enables the two women to show a different side of Gaza that exists behind the Israeli-built steel mesh fence.

Heather Hopkins

Photo: Google

Social Media Platforms for Advocacy
Social media is changing lives around the world, helping old friends reconnect and allowing people to share dancing cat videos with millions. People spend hours each day on social media platforms, using them to stay informed, share opinions, post photos, sign petitions, link articles and much more. There is potential to build incredible momentum for a movement and truly engage people by using social media platforms for advocacy efforts.

Your personal sharing, liking, retweeting and posting may seem like they aren’t creating enormous ripples of change, but research has found that content shared by individuals is shared 25 times more and receives eight times more engagement than content shared by organizations themselves. Social media has the ability to amplify a message, allowing great organizations to be introduced to new people and mobilizing communities to give to or advocate for a certain cause. So how can individuals focus social media attention on advocacy efforts and better the world through their news feeds?

Sharing is caring
The community of people you’re friends with or who follow you are those who care about you and are interested in what you have to say. If you show them that you care by sharing and posting about certain causes, they are more likely to engage with that content than if it was posted by an organization on their feed. Since people actually know who you are, things you share and post come off as more trustworthy and real. To this effect, find articles and organizations that matter to you and highlight their efforts. You are the most relatable person for people engaging with your social media, and that can powerfully increase mobilization.

#UseThatHashtag
While they may not always seem effective, intentionally using hashtags can really increase how many people interact with posts. Hashtags create networks of posts, linking them together into a common thread, and this is a great way to reach diverse groups on social media platforms for advocacy. Creating a specific hashtag that a person or organization always uses can help people learn about causes you’re passionate about, and adding information about an issue to a trending hashtag can help spread your message locally and globally.

Turn some heads
A visual appeal can really catch and keep people’s attention. One study found that seeing photos and infographics greatly influenced members of Congress, and others interacting with your postings and shares are equally as interested in nice visuals. By adding photos or cool graphics, your content will better capture people’s attention and enable you to use social media platforms for advocacy. Attaching images can create a 150 percent increase in retweets on Twitter and bring in an 87 percent engagement rate on Facebook, which is great news for mobilizing efforts!

Take that social media work offline
Social media is great for connecting people, but gathering your community offline is powerful, too. Use social media platforms for advocacy by creating events, gathering donations, sharing information and planning meetings, then take that advocacy into the physical world. Online calls to action such as signing petitions and contacting Congressional representatives can transform into in-person meetings with government officials either individually or at town halls, and mobilizing people for your cause can mean sharing through word of mouth or posting physical copies of an infographic around town. Building online engagement into a tangible movement can have an immense impact.

Rather than aimlessly scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media platforms, infuse some world-improving efforts into your feed and use those social media platforms for advocacy. With such amazing tools available, it is important to increase the intentionality of our scrolling and harness social media platforms for advocacy.

Irena Huang

Photo: Flickr

Celebrities Help the Poor

With today’s technology, it seems as though there’s an endless number of places for people to share any and all thoughts and ideas — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and now, Ripple.

Ripple is changing the social media game and reinventing the way celebrities help the poor by turning content into currency. Donors’ options are no longer limited to expensive and exclusive events. Instead, Ripple establishes a platform that makes it possible for all people to positively impact the world.

How exactly does Ripple work? By simply viewing and sharing posts from participating celebrities and charities listed on social media platforms, one can help to raise money without spending anything. Ripple converts fan engagement into donations for charity using a unique ad-based revenue model.

Essentially, the more Ripple content that is viewed and shared, the more donations are generated. With a reliable partner to its causes, Ripple accurately measures the amount of money being raised and gives 100 percent of the funds to the participating charities with no risk or associated costs.

Several celebrities and organizations have already joined Ripple, such as the Tiger Woods Foundation (TWF), which works to improve the health, education and welfare of children in America. TWF helps students reach their full potential through STEM and after-school activities, college preparatory opportunities, as well as a golf development program to learn the value of sportsmanship.

Likewise, on July 14, 2016, musician and singer-songwriter Jeffrey Osborne and the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Classic joined Ripple. Osborne provides music and art-based scholarships to deserving individuals and also supports non-profit organizations that assist families in need.

The launching of Ripple has yielded undeniable results, for example, thousands of dollars have already been raised for military and veteran’s affairs, children’s health initiatives and programs that benefit the homeless. Eric Ortner, a key contributor to the Ripple Team and member of the Advisory Board, is a Board Member of The Global Poverty Project and a Partner at the Truman National Security Project, both of which lead on issues of national security and foreign policy and work toward social change.

Ripple falls in line with The Borgen Project’s mission of taking action against extreme poverty and inspires anyone and everyone to get involved. As users interact and watch their favorite celebrities help the poor, they too are making a difference, creating a ripple effect like no other.

Mikaela Frigillana

Photo: Flickr