Global Citizen Helped Reduce PovertyIn 2008, Hugh Evans, Simon Moss and Wei Soo co-founded Global Citizen, a movement to reduce global poverty and create lasting change. Global Citizen is working to end extreme poverty by 2030 by mobilizing people around the world to use their “collective voice” to garner change. These are four ways Global Citizen helped reduce poverty in 2021.

4 Ways Global Citizen Helped Reduce Poverty in 2021

  1. Global Citizen Live: 24-Hour Concert. Global Citizen helped reduce poverty in 2021 on September 25, 2021, by hosting a 24-hour-long concert to raise awareness on the inequality of vaccine distribution and the extreme famine caused by the increasing spread of COVID-19. Highlights of the event include performances by Billie Eilish, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay. Interestingly, the event’s main aim was not just fundraising but rather using “participation as evidence for world leaders that people support bold action on the issues.” These efforts proved successful as several leaders and companies announced their pledges. USAID Administrator Samantha Power stated the U.S. would pledge more than $295 million to fight hunger and address gender-based violence and other humanitarian issues brought about by COVID-19. Lego and Verizon also committed to donating to the cause of ending global poverty. Global Citizen was able to fundraise $1.1 billion to help fight poverty in the most vulnerable countries.
  2. VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World. On May 8, 2021, this Global Citizen event brought together various “big names,” such as Jennifer Lopez, Joe Biden and Prince Harry, pledging for help to end vaccine inequities in vulnerable countries during COVID-19. However, the televised event was not live, but rather, pre-taped. Fortunately, the event was able to raise $302 million from “several philanthropic and corporate commitments,” exceeding the event’s fundraiser goal. With this money, Global Citizen was able to obtain 26 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for impoverished countries.
  3. Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100. On December 8, 2018, Global Citizen hosted a festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, honoring the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s vision for global peace and equality remains a struggle that Global Citizen is trying to achieve. More than 70,000 Global Citizens, world leaders and music artists attended the festival in hopes of making a difference in the fight against global poverty. At the event, “Global Citizen and its partners announced key pledges across Health, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), Food Security, Agriculture, Environment, Education, Finance and Innovation.” In 2021, Global Citizen used about $783 million of $7.2 billion raised through commitments made during the 2018 event to improve the lives of 12.4 million additional people. In total, since the event in 2018, Global Citizen has brought positive impacts to 117.8 million people.
  4. Global Goal: Unite for Our Future. On June 27, 2020, Global Citizen held a benefit concert with music performers and world leaders to help raise awareness about the hardships impoverished countries are experiencing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With Dwyane Johnson as the host, the event included performances by Coldplay, Chris Rock, Shakira and more. This concert was integral considering that the world hunger rate rose to 690 million people in 2020. Fortunately, in February 2021, Global Citizen distributed the $1.4 billion fundraised during Global Goal to support organizations playing an integral role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, such as UNICEF, the Global Fund and the World Health Organization. In particular, the U.S. pledged $545 million at the event, a pledge that is now “supporting COVID-19 response efforts in 120 countries” through USAID and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

Looking Ahead

Since its inception, Global Citizen has hosted many events to help the organization reach its goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. With the help of motivated leaders and individuals using their voices to express the change they want to see in the world, Global Citizen has garnered significant support from the international community to contribute to the cause. Through generous donations, Global Citizen is able to positively impact the lives of millions of people in disadvantaged countries.

– Kayla De Alba
Photo: Flickr

Hugh Evans
One of the most challenging aspects of charity work is getting the word out. Even in the era of social media, it is difficult to reach people and convince them to support a cause, especially during a global pandemic. Yet, music has the power to bring people together during divisive times. Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans found a way to fuse music and charity together. By hosting concerts around the world, he has raised billions of dollars in the fight against global poverty.

Now 37, Hugh Evans was born in Melbourne, Australia. His goal in life is to eradicate global poverty completely, and he is confident that he can do it. Evans believes that people created poverty and that people can destroy it. In an interview for the Sydney Morning Herald, Evans noted that there are more than 2,000 billionaires in the world. If they each gave as much as Bill and Melinda Gates give, poverty would cease to exist completely. Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, “could do it on his own.” But most billionaires are not pitching in enough, or at all. So, Evans calls for systematic change by engaging governments, corporations and ordinary non-billionaires.

Early Inspirations

In 1997, 14-year-old Hugh Evans went on a World Vision trip to the Philippines and saw extreme poverty first-hand. An extremely poor family hosted him. They slept on a concrete roof and had little to offer him besides a straw mat. Lying on that mat, watching cockroaches crawl around him, Evans realized that something needed to change. It was then that he decided to commit his life to ending poverty.

After returning from the Philippines, Evans earned a scholarship to study at an international school in India. There, he learned even more about global culture, language and poverty. He spent weekends doing charitable work in nearby slums or at a branch of Mother Theresa’s charity. Evans even took a gap year after high school to work with HIV/AIDS orphans in South Africa. By the time he was 20, he had a much more personal understanding of global poverty than most middle-class Australians will ever have.

Charitable Concerts

In 2006 and 2007, as a university student, Evans organized the Make Poverty History concerts in Australia, featuring Bono, the Edge and Eddie Vedder. Those concerts introduced him to the idea that celebrities could harness real power in the mission to end poverty. Since then, he graduated from Monash University with a science/law degree, got his master’s in international relations and founded Global Citizen. Through this organization, he has coordinated many more concerts around the world, including Together at Home, the live-streamed concerts during the COVID-19 quarantine. Rather than buying tickets, concert-goers must earn them by taking actions as members of Global Citizen. They can do so by signing petitions, contacting world leaders and taking quizzes to educate oneself about global poverty. These may seem like small feats, but advocacy and education are some of the most powerful weapons against global poverty.

Always a hard worker, Evans often endures long days and sleepless nights to organize charitable events, often under short notice. When COVID-19 began reaching countries that already struggle to meet healthcare needs, Evans and his team immediately started planning the Together at Home concert, which they were able to organize in just three weeks.

Inspiring Future Progress

In a world with constantly changing interests and opportunities, nonprofit organizations must work hard to continue attracting attention and fundraising effectively. Hugh Evans’s first-hand experience with poverty has successfully raised billions of dollars towards the fight against global poverty, and he is only 37-years-old. His establishment of Global Citizen is one of the most prominent triumphs in helping impoverished people all around the world. Not only does the organization provide the necessities for survival, but it also gives impoverished communities the tools to bring themselves and others out of poverty. It may have started on a straw mat in the Philippines, but Evans’s optimism and diligence have reached across borders and will continue to support the dignity, compassion and humanity necessary to end global poverty.

Levi Reyes
Photo: Flickr

Louder Together: A Festival for ChangeEvery year, the Global Citizen Festival blends advocacy and entertainment in New York City and Mumbai. In order for one to get tickets to the festival, they must “earn their tickets after taking a series of actions to effect change around the world,” which is tracked through an app. Once a person has earned enough points through actions that benefit world issues, they are then entered into a drawing to win tickets to the festival. The festival partners with organizations like UNICEF, Rainforest Alliance, World Food Programme and many more.

This year, Comlpex Networks and Global Citizen released a documentary called Louder Together: A Global Citizen Documentary; New York to Mumbai, which features footage from the festival’s locations in New York and Mumbai from 2016. The film focuses on the mission of the festival as well as interviews with performers. Hugh Jackman is the narrator (and also an executive producer) for the documentary, which features artists like Coldplay and Rihanna.

Louder Together delves into how Global Citizen was able to take its festival from Central Park all the way to Mumbai, a city on the other side of the globe. People from India can be seen in the trailer discussing how this event can help change the minds of young people, which in turn changes the country.

The CEO of Global Citizen, Hugh Evans, poignantly remarked that the festival “transformed their cities into arenas of advocacy in the fight to end extreme poverty.” This festival brought people from all walks of life and from all over the world to become louder together about issues that affect them. Global Citizen has only existed for six years, but it continues to grow, as evidenced by its expansion into new countries, cultures and medias.

Louder Together is being streamed for free on Go90, a streaming service. The documentary is a great way for people to learn about the causes that Global Citizen advocates for, as well as how the arts can be used to both entertain and educate people. Louder Together is a shining example of the way citizens and celebrities can come together to help change the world.

Emilia Beuger

Photo: Flickr

music festival
Hugh Evans, CEO of the Global Poverty Project, organized a music festival late last month in an effort to inspire youth to become invested in eliminating global poverty.

Renowned electronic dance music (EDM) artists performed at the “Thank You Festival,” which was meant to be both a celebration of past successes in the poverty reduction field as well as an opportunity to get young people excited about the cause. It was organized by Global Citizen, an offshoot of the Global Poverty Project.

The number of people living below the international poverty line and the number of global child deaths have dropped significantly in the past decade. “The American public, charities and governments have played a vital role in helping to make this happen. In recognition of the American public’s efforts, and to call for further action on behalf of the world’s children, Global Citizen and World Childhood Foundation held the Thank You Festival,” said Evans.

The festival organizers wanted the event to be stimulating, but didn’t want to lose track of the bigger picture. To help accomplish this, a massive, 15-foot-tall inflatable toilet was installed near the center of the event as a symbol of the dire state of global sanitation, which made it hard for festival-goers to forget what the music was celebrating.

Why target the music festival crowd as potential supporters of poverty reduction? “If you look at who listens to EDM, it’s young people,” said Evans. “If you want to be speaking to millennials, you’ve got to be speaking to [the artists] millennials are listening to… I think that the people behind the music care deeply about these issues, and the question is: How do you create the right platform for them to express that?”

One of his methods to achieve this involved changing how people could access tickets. Tickets to the event could only be earned by performing certain tasks online through Global Citizen. For example, potential festival-goers could write a letter to Congress, volunteer or sign a poverty-related petition to gain points that would make them more likely to receive tickets.

Even if some portion of the target audience is performing these activities just as a means to get tickets, they are still becoming more informed citizens and are learning first-hand how to make a difference in the world.

The Thank You Festival celebrated the contributions that the United States has made thus far in the fight against global poverty and the efforts that have been made in improving the lives of children across the globe. “Our foreign aid and our charitable contributions,” Evans said, “are saving and transforming lives, enabling parents and children in the poorest communities in the world to achieve their dreams.”

There is, however, much progress to be made. The end of global poverty will only be possible with support and dedication from the rising generation of youth — a goal that Hugh Evans and Global Citizen are one step closer to achieving through their work melding EDM festivals with poverty reduction projects.

– Emily Jablonksi

Sources: Global Citizen, MSNBC, Washington Post
Photo: Club Glow

global poverty
Philanthropist Hugh Evans, co-founder of the Oaktree Foundation and Global Poverty Project, organized an electronic dance music festival on June 26 named the Thank You Festival. This benefit show is working to engage the millennial generation in the fight against global poverty.

The show will feature one of the most popular electronic DJs in the world, Tiesto, as well as Above and Beyond and a Maryland local electronic DJ by the name of Alvin Risk. The festival will utilize a 15-foot inflatable toilet to bring awareness to water and sanitation issues around the world. Electronic dance festivals, which are commonly associated with drug use and experimentation, may not seem an ideal place to speak about global poverty.

However, Evans notes that to reach the millennial generation it has to be done through the people they listen to, in this case through electronic dance artists. His previous work with the Make Poverty History concert in Melbourne, Australia was highly successful. The concert, which occurred simultaneously with the G20 meeting, was responsible for Australia doubling its foreign aid efforts. Other concerts Evans has been involved with include the 2012 Global Citizen Festival for which Evans secured the Great Lawn in Central Park, N.Y. The New York festival also occurred simultaneously with another international meeting, this time of the United Nations General Assembly.

The concert raised $1.3 billion in programs to aid the global poor. The June 26 concert is aimed at getting the United States to continue its aid efforts for child survival services as well as double the U.S. government’s funding of the Global Partnership for Education, which would total $40 million. Previous concert efforts of Evans have been associated with rock and pop music. This will be his first effort utilizing electronic dance music.

The festival will feature DJs, Evans and top U.S. Foreign Aid officials who will speak about the cause of eliminating extreme poverty and encourage fans to get involved. Tiesto expressed in an email that the festival provides a unique possibility to produce effective change. “I know that my fans are thoughtful, generous and caring and this festival is a great opportunity to show Washington D.C. what our community is really about.” The festival, which is partnered with Club Glow, the World Childhood Foundation, The Global Poverty Project and Global Citizen, will begin at 4 p.m. on June 26 at Merriweather Pavilion in Columbia, Md.

– Christopher Kolezynski

Sources: EDM, Spin, Washington Post

Photo: Oh So Fresh

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, Global Poverty Project