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bruno mars sings for poverty relief
Bruno Mars isn’t just another handsome face singing catchy love songs. He — along with over 70 artists — is partnering with the Global Poverty Project to address poverty worldwide by using a fanbase to raise awareness and funds.

Global Citizen is a website managed by the Global Poverty Project that centralizes information about global poverty and opportunities to help. Its ultimate goal is to increase the number of citizens actively advocating for change. The site is comprised of actions related to education and advocacy campaigning, all of which address 13 key issues:

  • Food and Hunger
  • Primary Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Child Mortality
  • Maternal Health
  • Fighting Diseases
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Global Partnerships
  • Fighting Corruption
  • Effective Governance
  • Polio Eradication
  • Fair Trade

Participation in Global Citizen actions such as watching a video about extreme poverty, signing petitions, contacting representatives or volunteering time or money earn points for users, which can be redeemed for prizes.

14-time Grammy Award nominee Bruno Mars is one of over 70 artists who realize the importance of ending global poverty. As touring recording artists, they are exposed to areas of the world that suffer the effects of extreme poverty in outrageous percentages. Recognizing the power of their celebrity, they have stood up to support the movement. Mars joins a group of industry power-players like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Kesha, Kanye West, John Mayer and more who have donated at least 2 tickets from each show scheduled in their current tour, resulting in over 20,000 tickets donated to Global Citizen. Once users reach enough points, they can enter a drawing for a chance to win concert tickets. Another option is simply redeeming a higher number of points for tickets, similar to the ‘Buy It Now’ feature on eBay.

Extreme poverty has been cut in half in the last 30 years, and the knowledge and resources necessary to end the crisis completely within a generation are available. It won’t happen overnight, but Global Citizen is breeding an army: an army with the power to end extreme poverty by making informed consumer decisions and advocating for change. Global Citizen and artists like Bruno Mars are helping people to see that every voice counts and every person is capable of changing lives around the world.

– Dana Johnson

Source: Global Citizen, New York Times
Photo: Smash Vault

erin-heatherton-global_poverty_women_rights_internation_aid_borgen_project_opt
There are currently 222 million women around the world that lack access to contraception. The Global Poverty Project and Women Deliver have joined forces to create a new family planning initiative called It Takes Two to change that. The program seeks to increase the availability of family planning services around the world. Coming to fruition after last year’s Summit on Family Planning in London (which pledged $2.6 billion to help solve the family planning deficiencies in 120 developing countries) and the recent Women Deliver Global Conference in Malaysia, It Takes Two will work primarily by rewarding activism and advocacy.

Participants, through the Global Poverty Project’s mobile platform, will be able to win free contraception, and even design their own condom wrappers. According to Jill Sheffield, the founder and current president of Women Deliver, the It Takes Two program’s main goal is to inspire men and women to demand more access to family planning from their governments.

Though spear-headed by Women Deliver and the Global Poverty Project, other organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, the United Nations Population Fund, and many more are working together to support the program. The initiative is planned to take three years and is now available in the United States and Uganda.

The organization has a well-known ally in this effort. Ambassador to the program and Victoria’s Secret supermodel Erin Heatherton has said that the global lack of contraception is “one of the world’s most pressing issues.” Heatherton has also been a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2008 and is an advocate who supports that family planning is pertinent to both men and women worldwide, going on to say that “Everyone should have the option to plan a family, and their choices shouldn’t be limited because of their socio-economic level or country of residence.”

– Samantha Mauney
Source: Artist Direct, Sun Times
Photo: Retro Fashion

Design a Condom to Improve Contraception Access
In 2013, 222 million women in the developing world still do not have access to modern contraception. That is 222 million women unable to responsibly plan their families; without the ability to control their own fertility, they are unable to plan a stable future for themselves.

In developing countries, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are leading causes of death for women. Responsible family planning would not only significantly impact maternal mortality rates, but would also provide the opportunity for millions of girls to stay in school and potentially lift entire communities out of poverty.

Global Poverty Project and Women Deliver have partnered to launch It Takes Two, a campaign focused on improving access to sexual and reproductive health information and services around the world. The campaign will use the Global Citizen online platform to extend its message and generate support. It Takes Two hopes to capitalize on the game-like atmosphere of Global Citizen’s points rewards system to attract a substantial crowd of supporters.

How has It Takes Two managed to turn modern contraception into a game?

Design your own condoms.

It Takes Two is sponsoring a contest in which participants submit a condom wrapper design by July 21st, and the 10 winning designers will receive free condoms featuring their personalized wrapper. Everyone who enters will have their design profiled in the It Takes Two condom gallery, and be entered for a chance to win tickets to concerts to over 70 participating artists such as Kings of Leon, Beyoncé, Tim McGraw or One Direction.

It Takes Two wants everyone, creative or not, to step up and help spread the word that everyone has the right to plan their lives because a woman’s choices shouldn’t be made for her based on her socioeconomic level or her country of origin.

– Dana Johnson

Source: Artist Direct, It Takes Two
Photo: Global Giving

Live Below the Poverty Line

Recently, students at the University of Melbourne in Australia spent five days on less than two Australian dollars a day in order to raise awareness for those living in extreme poverty.

Students participated in this as part of the Live Below the Line challenge, a program of the Global Poverty Project.  The Global Poverty Project is in organization designed to advocate for the world’s poor and get citizens effectively engaged in the fight to end extreme poverty.  Their Live Below the Line Challenge, which spans three continents, asks participants to spend five days living below the poverty line in an effort to show solidarity with the world’s poor and to raise money and awareness for their cause.

The challenge of the Live Below the Line campaign is effectively budgeting resources so that participants have the food to last themselves 5 days.  Participants are not allowed to take snacks from their pantries or consume anything that had been bought before the challenge unless it was factored into their five day budget.  Their diet consisted mainly of pasta, lentils, fruit, and rice for the duration of the challenge, and they were only allowed to drink tap water.

The students at the University of Melbourne raised over $24,000, which is more than any other Australian university.  The closest American university to raising this amount was the University of Notre Dame, raising only $3,239.  Some celebrities are also involved in the Live Below the Line challenge, ranging from Ben Affleck to Hugh Jackman.

This was an impressive achievement for these Australian students.  However, as hard as it seems to buy food on such a low budget, participants still had it better off than the world’s poor.  They had access to shelter, sanitation, and healthcare—things that most of those living below the poverty line do not have.   It is hard for us in the developed world to imagine the amount of hardship faced by the world’s poor, but the Live Below the Line challenge gives a small peek into the lives of the least fortunate.

Citizens interested in the program should go to www.livebelowtheline.com where there are further descriptions of the program, recipes and other helpful resources.  The website also contains leaderboards so that participants can see what individuals or groups have achieved the most fundraising so far.  The question that the challenge poses to all of us in the developing world is obvious:  Can YOU Live Below the Line?

– Martin Drake

Source: Live Below the Line, The Age
Photo: VSO

Expanded Contraceptive Access
At the Women Deliver 2013 conference, one of the topics discussed was expanding contraceptive access in developing countries in Africa. The session was led by Melinda Gates and United Nations Population Fund, and the speakers discussed ways to reach women to create a strategy that would provide them greater access to forms of birth control. Melinda Gates explained that improving access to birth control would not only improve the women’s lives, it would also make their children healthier and would allow for a thriving family.

Also at the session, several political leaders discussed some of the success stories of implementing birth control access. Countries such as Senegal, the Philippines, Zambia, Indonesia, and Malawi have all taken the initiative to promote progress in the field of family planning and have had great success. Senegal’s budget for their national family planning program has doubled since November 2012. After 15 years, the Philippines was finally able to pass the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, Zambia created their first family planning program, Indonesia increased funding available for contraceptives, and Malawi also strengthened their family planning program.

The leaders explained that these success stories should be proof that expanding contraceptive access is doable and can save lives, and it’s also very cost-effective. Not only will birth control help improve the lives of the current generation of mothers and babies, implementing a long-term and sustainable plan will improve the lives of the next generations as well.

To ensure that the efforts will remain strong, the Global Poverty Project’s CEO Hugh Evans has announce the It Takes Two campaign, which encourages young men and women to support family planning programs and services, as well as for them to make sure their government continues to support the programs.

Katie Brockman

Source: allAfrica

hugh-evans-global-poverty-project-commencement-address
Hugh Evans, the founder of the Global Poverty Project, delivered the commencement address at Kean University on May 16 of this year. He told graduates his story, retelling how he founded the Global Poverty Project as a teenager.

The Global Poverty Project works to campaign the government, businesses, and consumers to take action that will create a systematic change for the world’s extreme poor.  The project also is working to build a movement that engages and educates people, helping them to take simple but effective individual actions for change.

He told graduates how his organization has raised $4.3 billion dollars for the world’s poor.  The organization would like to see better aid, better trade, more ethical, fair and balanced trade, and an environment that invests in education, infrastructure, and governance. The Global Poverty Project believes that working to achieve these goals will create an enabling environment for developing countries to work their way out of poverty.

At his commencement address, Evans elaborated on the importance of creating your own path. Amidst pictures and videos of slums around the world, Evans told graduates that taking an unorthodox path is bound to test our character. He used his life and chosen career path as an example to explain that going against people’s expectations for your life puts things into perspective and reveals your greatest hopes and greatest ideals.

Evans’ message rings true to the value of hard work and determination in tackling problems and obstacles. His speech illuminates to graduates that sometimes, making an unorthodox choice can improve not only your life, but also maybe even the lives of millions or billions of people around the world.

– Caitlin Zusy 

Source NJ.com, Global Poverty Project

Living Below the Line: Attempting to Understand
In an effort to help people understand what it means to live below the line of poverty, the Global Poverty Project organizes an annual campaign to raise funds and awareness for the 1.4 million people living in poverty around the globe. While the campaign strives to gain funding, it is also dedicated to helping people understand what a life of poverty means. Participants live for five days on the equivalent of about $1.50 USD. Since the beginning of this year, 20,000 individuals have taken the challenge alongside the GPP and a dozen partnered nonprofit organizations across three continents. This year the campaign took place from April 29 to May 3 in Canada, The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and The United States. However, the GPP is taking donations till May 31 and the challenge is open to anyone that wants to do it year-round.

In the United Kingdom, living below the line means living on £1 for five days. One couple, Jenna and Stuart Wills, fine dining enthusiasts, share their experience on living below the line. In a country where one pound, approximately $1.50 USD, doesn’t even buy a bus ticket, a sandwich, or elderberry cordial, the couple knew it was going to be rough.

At the beginning of the week, the couple decided to buy the cheapest staple foods they could find, rice and noodles but realized that they had spent more than half of their five days budget. Consequently, it was difficult to spread the remainder of the budget over the rest of the week. The organic, fair-trade and costly foods that the Wills’ usually dined on were set aside and bargain buys that weren’t quite as delectable were their only alternative. The couple learned to plan grocery-shopping trips to stores and markets close to closing time in order to buy foods that were to expire soon and slashed in price. As the days wore on, lack of luxury food items as simple as coffee took a toll on the couple in high tempers and mood swings.

While the challenge was difficult at times, the couple admits that what they endured for five days is nothing compared to true poverty. They recognize that they have never once wondered when they would eat next, they bragged about their bargain finds on Facebook, and went about their daily lives. Whenever they felt a bit hungry, they had the option to put another piece of bread in the toaster. The couple raised £435 for their chosen charity, Oxfam, and have taken the challenge as an opportunity to appreciate what they have and spread the word about extreme poverty around the world.

– Kira Maixner

Source Birmingham Mail, Live Below the Line US
Photo MSN Food UK

Habitat-GPP-and-Global-Poverty-Education
On April 25 at the University of Kentucky, Habitat for Humanity and the Global Poverty Project hosted a free, educational event that was open to the public. Representatives from the Global Poverty Project made a multimedia presentation that addressed issues surrounding poverty in the world. Questions about global poverty were answered such as ‘What is extreme poverty?’, ‘What are the barriers to ending extreme poverty?’ and ‘Why should we care?’ Currently there are 1.2 billion people living in poverty and living on less than $1.50 a day. Logistics Coordinator for the Global Poverty Project Michelle Riepe said that strategies for reducing poverty are working. As announced by the World Bank, in the last 30 years, the number of people living in poverty has decreased significantly from the 1.4 billion of the past. The Global Poverty Project works around the world to educate people about extreme poverty and to mobilize supporters in taking action to end it. The organization advocates for action from government, businesses, and consumers to create important systemic change for the world’s extreme poor. This is a goal that is shared by Habitat for Humanity, the sponsor of the event at the University of Kentucky. “The Global Poverty Project shares the same vision as Habitat for Humanity- to improve the lives of people around the globe who are struggling,” said Emily Andrews, UK Habitat for Humanity president. The Global Poverty Project frequently tours the country to offer global poverty education to students and to draw support. To attend an event or to host one, visit the GPP website. – Kira Maixner Source: UK Now Photo: Gender and Poverty

globalcitizen
Ever imagine combining a love for music with a passion for social activism?  That is exactly what the Global Poverty Project did with the Global Citizen Ticket Initiative. This innovative initiative seeks to reward social activism with something music lovers seek: concert tickets! Social activists can now use their passion for changing the world to earn music tickets. The initiative builds off the Global Poverty Project’s highly successful Global Citizen Festival which was held in New York City in 2012. 60,000 people earned free tickets to that event by participating in social activist activities.

The initiative is supported by musicians such as Pearl Jam and music industry professionals who want to see engagement around global poverty and make the eradication of global poverty a reality.  Musicians can inspire and motivate individuals to action; their support is extremely important to the cause. The goal is to rally thousands around causes such as polio, malaria, women’s empowerment, and education.  By adding incentives, the Global Poverty Project hopes to reach a larger number of individuals and spread the message even farther.

Global Citizen tickets are earned based off of a point reward system.  The points are linked to levels of involvement in social activism. For example, posting a link on Facebook earns one point whereas calling your senator will earn five points. The points can be redeemed for local concerts as well as passes to major music fests like Bonnaroo. It’s a way of rewarding people for their actions and providing an alternative to purchasing concert tickets. Several artists who have signed on to participate include John Mayer, Kayne West, Rihanna, Tim McGraw, and the Dixie Chicks. A complete list of artists and festivals is available on the website.

Music fans and activists alike are invited to participate in the Global Citizen Ticket initiative.  Their is an innovative online platform as well as mobile application to make participation easy. To get involved, register at globalcitizen.org/tickets and get started raising awareness and earning rewards today.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: JamBase

Academy Award winner actor Ben Affleck is taking part in the Living Below the Line challenge. Next week, he will be living on just 1 dollar and 50 cents a day. The challenge requires participants to bid farewell to their comfortable and stable lives for 5 days to experience poverty on a personal scale. Living Below the Line was “cofounded in 2009 by Rich Fleming from the Global Poverty Project and Nick Allardice from the Oaktree Foundation in Australia.”

The U.S. Country Director of the Global Poverty Project, Michael Trainer, said that last year approximately 15,000 people were part of this Living Below the Line challenge and more than 3 million dollars were raised. According to the Yahoo report, Ben Affleck’s participation will build awareness and raise funds for the Global Poverty Project. The Project’s main emphasis is to get people to recognize their potential effectiveness by coming together and fighting to end global poverty. Next week anyone can be, and everyone should be, in solidarity with the poor with this humbling poverty experience.

Leen Abdallah
Source: Examiner