These are five effective ways that people who want to help end global poverty can advocate for change. While some methods — such as contacting elected officials — are easier than others (going to another country), every single method is valuable, and everything that people do to advocate for change is important. The most important thing to remember is that it does not matter what is done to advocate for change just as long as people take some action that helps to achieve the change.
Example 1: Educate people at work or on campus about global poverty.
Of all the advocacy examples that people could choose from, education is one of the most important ways to advocate for change. Unless people are educated about a problem, there is no way to mobilize others to make a difference. An easy way to educate people about global poverty, then, is to direct them to the Borgen Project’s website.
Another way to educate people about poverty is to direct them to first-hand reports about the problems people who live in impoverished countries face on a day-to-day basis. This visual could be accomplished by showing people a documentary about poverty, for instance.
Example 2: Contact and encourage an elected official to fight global poverty.
While contacting local representatives is one of the most powerful ways to advocate for change, few people realize how profound of an impact either calling or writing to elected officials can have. Contacting a representative allows the elected official to know that an issue is important to their constituents, and that knowledge can then be translated into actionable change in regard to global poverty.
Elected officials do not have an abundance of time to deal with every issue that comes across their plate, so they generally will spend their time working on issues important to the people who live in their district. Representatives assume that the issues that people in their district contact them with are the most important matters to their districts.
Example 3: Volunteering to help fight global poverty locally and/or abroad.
One of the advocacy methods that first comes to mind with the topic of ‘fighting global poverty’ is volunteering. There are generally two types of volunteering:
- Volunteering for a local group working to bring awareness to global poverty
- Volunteering for a relief organization working in another country to address issues caused by global poverty
While both raising awareness about an issue and actively trying to address the issue are important, causing more people to be aware of an issue ensures that people will attempt some form of solution. Even though going to a foreign country is a rewarding experience, it is also just as helpful to raise awareness domestically to the problems caused by global poverty so that the roots of the problem can become fixed on the policy level.
Example 4: Educate the larger community about global poverty.
Let members of the community know about the problems caused by global poverty. An easy way to let people know about global poverty is to write a letter to the editor, creating a short show to air on the local community television station or posting flyers about poverty around the community.
Letting the whole community know about global poverty is even more important than educating people at work or at school because informing more people about a problem is more likely to lead to lasting change.
Example 5: Hold a rally about global poverty.
While this is more difficult than other advocacy examples, it is also one of the most effective ways to advocate for change. If a large group of people rally for an issue, more people will take notice of the problem. Contacting larger media outlets and having them cover the rally would bring the issue of global poverty to the attention of a larger group of people.
There’s significant opportunity at these rallies to inform people about the Borgen Project and other advocacy/awareness organizations, pass out information about how to fight global poverty, and if the rally is large enough, hold a press conference is shown around the nation.
The most important aspect of advocacy is getting other people to notice that some people care deeply about an issue. Specific actions people take when they advocate for change is yes, important, but getting more people aware of an issue, and getting more people to become an advocate for change, will bear incredibly impactful long-term results.
Every person who decides to become an advocate is a small, vastly important cog in the machine of change. As long as each person makes a small effort to advocate for an issue such as global poverty, it is possible to both raise awareness of a problem and create solutions.
– Michael Israel