The Super Bowl

The first Superbowl took place on January 15, 1967. Tickets to attend cost only $12, and was the only Super Bowl in history to not sell out. The halftime show was comprised of local high school marching bands. Nowadays, tickets cost thousands of dollars, the halftime show goes all out with famous headliners, people host their own Superbowl parties and millions of people watch. Unfortunately, while cities spend millions of dollars every year to host a Superbowl game, people around the world, and even around the corner, are suffering from poverty. Below is a basic breakdown of different costs that go into the Superbowl and other ways that this money could be spent to help fight global poverty.

How Money Spent on the Super Bowl Could Be Used to Help People

  • Tickets Prices: Want to attend the Super Bowl? On average, tickets now cost between $2,500 to $3,000. This money could be put towards building wells in impoverished countries, for example. Some countries where you can build a well with this money are Togo, Niger, Senegal, Liberia and Chad. The cost to build a well in any of these countries ranges from $1,600 to $3,000.
  • The Halftime Entertainment: Pepsi has paid to sponsor the halftime show for several years now. On average, they reportedly spend $7 million to nab the sponsorship and invest an additional $100,000 in insurance for the show. It would cost around $86,000 to sponsor an entire African village. This includes a fully functioning school, medical center and access to clean water. For less than the cost of insuring the halftime show, the money could be allocated to helping a village in Africa thrive.
  • Commercial Advertisement: The average price for a 30-second ad spot in 2017 reached a height of  $5 million. The total amount spent on advertising from 1967 to 2018 is $5.4 billion. According to a study done in 2013, the average cost to run a mobile clinic was $92,898. That’s under one-fifth of the cost that it takes to run a thirty-second ad during the Superbowl.
  • Super Bowl Parties: In a survey conducted by The National Retail Federation, consumers said that they will spend an average of $81 on a Super Bowl watch party. That is a total of $14.8 billion dollars spent across the country. The cost to end world hunger is $30 billion a year.  American consumers who hold Super Bowl watch parties could pay for nearly half of that!

Realistically, not all consumers are going to pile their money together to help contribute to alleviating world hunger. But, if even just a few consumers donated that $81 dollars or a company like Pepsi opted to spend half of the Super Bowl sponsorship money to a cause that helps fight global poverty, it would make a huge difference because every dollar counts. While the fight against global poverty is one that takes time and money, it is a fight that can be won.

CJ Sternfels

Photo: Flickr

As the holidays approach, many people’s thoughts turn to opportunities to donate to those in need. Those who wish to fight global poverty over the holidays can do so by cooking dinner with ingredients certified by Fair Trade USA.

Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that acts as a third party between consumers and international suppliers. It uses “a market-based approach that gives farmers fair prices, workers safe conditions and entire communities resources for fair, healthy and sustainable lives,” according to the group’s website.

Fair Trade USA began in 1998 under the leadership of founder Paul Rice, and now operates in 80 countries across the globe.

When consumers buy Fair Trade USA-certified products, the proceeds aid the organization’s campaign to promote equality, dignity and self-sufficiency among farming communities that are mired in poverty.

According to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the solution to poverty and hunger around the world is not plowing more land and increasing crop production, but farming smarter.

In 2009, Frank Rijsberman, CEO of CGIAR, suggested reducing agriculture-based poverty by developing methods to achieve greater crop output from existing land and delivering this research to farmers in developing countries.

Fair Trade USA exemplifies Rijsberman’s advice, as it helps farmers generate their crops as efficiently as possible. Imports from developing countries are targets of exploitation because the producers lack the resources and knowledge to barter fair trade.

Fair Trade USA monitors the business transactions of farmers and their consumer clients to ensure the farmers aren’t disadvantaged.

When farmers receive fair prices for their crops, they have the means to improve their livelihood, send their children to school and afford medicine.

More than 570 million farms exist in the world, with 90 percent relying on family labor, so relieving agriculture-based poverty helps children get their education and significantly reduces poverty across the globe.

In addition to its poverty-reduction tactics, Fair Trade USA’s website offers a multitude of recipes involving its certified ingredients. Every turkey, cheesecake and bowl of sorbet helps fight global poverty by enabling a family to put food on its table.

Sarah Prellwitz

Sources: Fair Trade USA, Global Agriculture, VOA News, WDRB, WSJ
Photo: Wheatsville Co-op

fight_global_povertyAfter the ISIS attacks on Paris, #PrayForParis appeared in thousands of tweets across the globe. People changed their profile pictures to match France’s flag and posted messages of support and love. Videos of victims displaying courage and forgiveness have been shared over and over again.

Why did so much goodwill spread so quickly? The answer lies with science.

Dr. Jeremy Dean, author and founder of PsyBlog, reported a study in which scientists analyzed the content and reactions of 3,800 Twitter users. They tracked the social responses to the users’ tweets and concluded that positive tweets are more “contagious” than negative ones. When people see or read something that makes them feel good, they want to share it with others and spread the joy.

Why not use positive social media to fight global poverty? Twitter is an especially powerful tool because a quick search on global poverty will generate thousands of tweets on the latest news. Trending hashtags link information across the globe.

When it comes to global poverty, it’s much more common to see and hear horrific stories of disease, malnutrition, war and despair. Negativity is no friend to progress. Most, if not all, people who see negative content on social media will pause, allow themselves a moment of pity, and then continue scrolling.fight_global_poverty

No one wanders onto the internet in the hope of becoming depressed about the state of the world. An overdose of negativity will lead people to believe that nothing can be done to remedy the problem. Furthermore, according to Dean, negative content compelled 20 percent more people to produce negative tweets.

Instead of tweeting about the 805 million malnourished people in the world, mention that world hunger has been cut in half in the last 10 years. Discuss the Sustainable Development Goal to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Tweeting positive content about global poverty shows people that solutions exist. People want to help fight global poverty, and once they know how, both news and efforts will spread quickly.

The U.N. developed the 2015 #YouthNow campaign to raise awareness of challenges and development opportunities for youth. Many struggling young people have found employment after investigating the campaign on Twitter. Others used the hashtag to learn more about global issues. The National Foundation for Educational Research reported a rise in political involvement among young people brought on by social media usage.

As of 2015, 320 million people use Twitter. Of that number, 34 percent log onto their account more than once a day. Imagine if all those people were utilizing Twitter to promote poverty reduction bills or solicit donations to nonprofit organizations? A lot can be accomplished with only 140 characters.

Sarah Prellwitz

Sources: Elite Daily, DMR, Spring, UN
Photo: Flickr. Pixabay

what-is-a-true-heroBelieve it or not, reducing global poverty can take less than 20 minutes. Any individual can learn how to fight global poverty by contacting his or her congressional leaders to change the way that foreign policy is currently addressed.

Each state contains two senators and a population-based number of representatives. Simply check out websites such as Congress Merge or The Borgen Project to find the names of congressional leaders in each district.

The first and easiest way to reach your congressional leaders is by phone and email. Senators and Representatives act as the congressional voice of the people in their districts, which means their actions reflect the desires of the citizens.

Calling and emailing congressional leaders about specific issues helps them to better serve the public. Offices record each call or email regarding issues, and then pass the data on to the congressional leader.

Weekly calls and emails significantly increase a bill’s chances of gaining congressional support. A call takes about 30 seconds and an email takes just a few minutes.

You may also wish to take your advocacy a step further by meeting with your congressional leaders in person. Meeting face-to-face with a member of Congress can be intimidating. Not surprisingly, congressional leaders have packed schedules and may be busy, but the task is not impossible.

Most congressional leaders specify their preferred method of contact on their websites. Maintain vigilance with calls, emails or faxes until the Congressional leader agrees to a meeting.

Before meeting with a member of Congress, research him or her. Learn his or her interests, which committees he or she belongs to and his or her stance on previous bills. Form an idea of where the member stands with the bill you are lobbying.

Finally, word of mouth is an excellent technique to raise awareness. Teach your friends, classmates, family members or coworkers how to call and email congress to bring poverty reduction bills to the forefront of congressional leaders’ agendas.

The Borgen Project is currently building support for the following bills:

The Electrify Africa Act: Only 5 percent of sub-Saharan Africans have access to electricity. That means roughly 1.3 billion people still resort to open cook fires for food, warmth and light. The Electrify Africa Act will “encourage African countries to provide first-time access to electricity and power services for at least 50,000,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.”

The Food for Peace Reform Act: This act consists of amending the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and reforming the Food for Peace Program to increase funding and more efficiently transport food to disaster-stricken areas.

The Global Food Security Act: One in nine people goes hungry every day. Children make up the majority of this statistic. The Global Food Security Act will “reduce global poverty and hunger, achieve food and nutrition security, promote inclusive, sustainable, agricultural-led economic growth, improve nutritional outcomes, especially for women and children, [and] build resilience among vulnerable populations.”

The Reach Every Mother and Child Act: Hundreds of mothers, infants and toddlers die each day from pregnancy complications and other preventable causes. The Reach Every Mother and Child Act is designed to “implement policies to end preventable maternal, newborn, and child deaths globally” by designing more effective programs in high-risk areas and funding innovative tools and research.

Sarah Prellwitz

Sources: Borgen Project 1, Borgen Project 2, Think Progress, Borgen Project 3, Borgen Project 4, Congress, Congress Merge, PreservationNation
Photo: Pinterest