D’Banj is a singer and peace activist who is featured first on #Music4Dev initiated in 2014 where artists use World Bank to share their music. It’s here where artists talk about poverty and encourage their listeners to work together in ending the crisis. One crucial way to help those in need is to spread awareness about the issue, especially to the youth of the world.

Afrobeat music is believed to have been born out of challenges facing Africa in recent years. Other African genres originate from various nations. These styles include rhumba, makossa, kwaito and highlife. Nigeria’s Afrobeat (or Naija beats) was introduced in the late ’60s by Fela Anikulapo Kuti. With different styles originating from various parts of Africa, this genre escalated only recently with a few artists excelling in the industry.

BBC Radio 1Xtra, the Mobos, MTV Awards and numerous African gatherings have acknowledged the latest African music. Modern techniques have also enhanced the life of video and music quality. Artists and telecom companies are making a large profit while the entertainment industry becomes lucrative.

A common production method includes selling music via mobile phone where customers buy ringtones and dial tones. Much like the Western world, another method to promote the artist is to play popular songs constantly over the radio and on television through video. Artists also appear at concert halls to sell their work.

The youth of Africa are believed to represent the future as a digitally-connected generation. Music unites them for a cause. D’Banj uses music to create poverty awareness and rally Africa’s youth to take a stance against the issue.

He is known for his energetic performances and originality having made the UK’s top ten list as the first Afrobeats artist. He was born in Zaria, Nigeria. He taught himself to play his older brother’s harmonica and has been in love with music ever since.

He has succeeded in making himself heard with 1 million Twitter followers. Kanye West, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Big Sean and actor Idris Elba have acknowledged his likability and recorded with him.

Among this recognition, he has also received Best African Act at MTV Europe Music Awards in 2007 and Artist of the Year in 2009 at MTV Africa Music Awards and BET Awards. In 2013, he attended African Union Year of Agriculture and brought together three million people to form advocacy for the alleviation of poverty.

He implored his followers to address their governments and stressed that more needed to be done for agriculture and small farms. He received two million signatures for the Do Agric Global Africa Campaign.

In 2014, he started focusing on African Union Year of Women’s Empowerment. He wrote a song called ‘Extraoridinary” for the cause. As he says in World Bank’s Blog in an article written by Korina Lopez, “Most of the established small-scale farmers that we have are women… You have to look beyond the body to see the extraordinary potential she possesses.”

D’Banj is known for his humanitarian role as an ambassador for In addition, he is an ambassador for Nigerian Agricultural Entrepreneurs and has been appointed Nigeria’s first UN Youth Ambassador for Peace.

He has recently been nominated for the MTV African Music Awards (MAMA) Evolution award. D’Banj was nominated with several others including 2face, P-Square and Asa. This award is meant to recognize artists revolutionizing African music with an influence around the world. The announcement of the winner takes place on July 18, 2015. Fans will vote for their favorite, and D’Banj has an admirable status for this particular achievement.

Katie Groe

Sources: World Bank Blog, World Bank Blog, TED 1 , TED 2 , Pulse, The Guardian
Photo: NET

Global poverty is nothing new, but some of its causes might be commonly overlooked or forgotten. Though there are many reasons for the manifestation of poverty, there are five largely important causes that need more attention from those who can make a difference.

1. Inadequate education is a highly agreed upon cause of poverty, both in first world nations as well as poverty stricken developing countries. Commonly, education quality differs between urban and rural areas, as well as between wealthy neighborhoods and poorer parts of cities. According to Project Partner of China, rural children are more likely to attend deteriorating school facilities and face insufficient materials. Meanwhile, urban children typically have outstanding educational experiences that allow them to prosper throughout their lives. Without a proper education, the cycle of poverty often continues. Children born into poverty have a difficult time receiving an education that will support them throughout life and pull them out of poverty.

2. Healthcare access varies around the world, but in a majority of poverty stricken countries little to no healthcare is provided, especially to those in extreme poverty. Inverse care, where those better off have more access to healthcare but fewer needs for it, benefits the wealthy and worsens conditions for the poor. Global Issues reported that “2.2 million children died each year because they are not immunized” due to lack of healthcare.

3. Disease goes hand in hand with healthcare, or lack thereof, and that makes it all the more obvious why healthcare is critical. Diseases quickly spread through areas that lack proper health education and offer little healthcare. As these diseases spread, it becomes more difficult for families to take care of themselves, much less thrive. According to Global Issues, “40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, [resulting in] 3 million deaths in 2004,” leaving 15 million children orphaned. Though HIV/AIDS causes an extremely high number of fatalities, there are 350-500 million cases of malaria each year, with 1 million of those ending fatally. Notably, 90 percent of deaths from malaria are found in Africa alone. While prevention is desirable, a cure is needed to truly make a lasting difference.

4. Dependency is possibly the most overlooked issue on this list. Dependency is often associated with laziness or the concept that those dependent cannot support themselves, but it goes much deeper than that. First-world countries have created a system that keeps poverty riddled countries from being able to provide for themselves. That, however, does not mean the system was intended to push third-world countries further into poverty. Rather, the truck loads of secondhand items that are continuously shipped into third-world countries have crippled their industries, and thus made them dependent on aid. By investing in these countries to help them rebuild an economy that can flourish, more developed countries will no longer be handing them momentary help, but making a lasting impact on their livelihood.

5. Ignorance and apathy, though two different notions, result in similar outcomes. Lacking the knowledge to care or to make a difference is a sad reality among many people in the world. Apathy, on the other hand, is not wanting to gain the knowledge to improve the lives of others. It is often easiest to live a life of ignorance, so many do. Occasionally donating to your local food drive or clothing shelter are great ways to start improving the lives of others, but going the distance to educate yourself and learning how to permanently aid those less fortunate will make a lasting difference. All of the manifestations of poverty cannot simply be numbered to five, but these causes play a large role in the sad reality. Gaining education over what needs to be done to help the human race is the perfect place to start and improve the conditions of those in need.

– Katherine Wyant

Sources: Community Empowerment Collective, Project Partner of China Global Issues
Photo: Steve McCurry

The World Bank reports that we are making significant strides towards reducing global poverty.  In 1981, approximately 50% of the developing world was living on less than $1.25 per day.  Today that number is reduced to just 21% despite rapid increases in population. To continue pushing forward on the battle against poverty, here are some quotes about poverty that will inspire while provoking honest reflection:

  • Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime. —Aristotle
  • We have grown literally afraid to be poor. We despise anyone who elects to be poor in order to simplify and save his inner life. If he does not join the general scramble and pant with the money-making street, we deem him spiritless and lacking in ambition. —William James
  • The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man. —Napolean Bonaparte
  • I thank fate for having made me born poor. Poverty taught me the true value of the gifts useful to life. —Anatole France
  • I’d grown up thinking that a [sanitary toilet] was my right, when in fact it’s a privilege — 2.5 billion people worldwide have no adequate toilet. —Rose George
  • Child mortality [since 2000] is down by 2.65 million a year. That’s a rate of 7,256 children’s lives saved each day… It drives me nuts that most people don’t seem to know this news. —Bono
  • The opposite of poverty is not wealth. … In too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice. —Bryan Stevenson
  • We have two choices: One is to continue to see a poor, ill, crying Africa, carrying guns, that depends on other people forever, or to promote an Africa which is confident, peaceful, independent, but cognizant of its huge problems and great values at the same time. — Zeresenay Alemseged
  • When we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them—some food, a place in our homes, our time—not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched. I am well aware that when someone needing food knocks at your door, you always find a way of sharing food; as the proverb says, one can always ‘add more water to the beans’! Is it possible to add more water to the beans?…Always?…And you do so with love, demonstrating that true riches consist not in materials things, but in the heart! –Pope Francis
  • If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. –John F. Kennedy

We hope these quotes about poverty allow you to reflect and perhaps gain a new perspective.  It is never a wrong time to get involved in your local community or to help advocate for a world without poverty!

– Sunny Bhatt

Sources: World Bank, Confront Global Poverty, TED, Proverbia
Photo: Personal Excellence

summer internships
As the winter season starts to wind down, students from across the country are beginning their search of summer internships. Summer internships are a great way to gain new experiences, travel to places you’ve always wanted to visit, and meet new people—all while gaining valuable skills that will give you the edge in securing employment in the future.

Landing a summer internship can seem like a daunting task. What am I interested in? How do I apply? If you have arrived at these questions, you are already on the right path! Most companies offer students the chance to play a role in their daily functions and learn about their work environment. For those interested in global poverty reduction, human rights activism, and other service based careers, here are potential summer internship opportunities for you

Political Affairs Internship, The Borgen Project

  • Meet with members of Congress and/or Congressional staffers in your State and District to discuss global poverty issues
  • Represent The Borgen Project and various business, political, and community events
  • Mobilize individuals to contact their members of Congress in support of anti-poverty legislation and assist with fundraising
  • For more information on how to apply please visit Telecommute Internships.

Summer Internship Program, American Red Cross

  • Get introduced to the mission of the American Red Cross with real-world work experience in a non-profit
  • Assist with day-to-day functions building reports, presentations, guides etc.
  • Choose from a diverse selection of positions including human resources, government relations, humanitarian services, public health & safety, biomedical services, disaster services, finance, marketing and more!
  • For more information on how to apply, visit Red Cross.

Community Engagement Intern Program, Feeding Children Everywhere

  • Get hands on experience battling on the front lines of the fight against hunger. Recruit volunteers nationwide for various “Hunger Projects”
  • Build and lead programs while performing community outreach
  • Travel to different “Hunger Projects” and network with various volunteers while preparing and packaging meals to feed hungry children
  • Please visit their Intern Program for more information and locations.

Intern, ONE Campaign

  • ONE offers students a diverse experience working in grassroots mobilization, field organizing, digital projects, communications, ans global operations
  • Interns will have to perform research and fact-checking, trips and events preparation, collection of press clips, database management, and administrative tasks
  • For more information please visit

Student Internship Program, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • USAID offers a variety of summer internship positions in the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Transition Initiatives, the Bureau of Africa and more.
  • Interns will be required to conduct research, draft program memoranda and other documents
  • Facilitate meetings and special events, attend program discussions in various government agencies and communicate with stakeholders and public
  • Work in fields like agriculture, education, health, environment, democracy, conflict prevention, and humanitarian assistance

These summer internships offer students from diverse backgrounds with various interests a chance to develop new skills and gain valuable experience working to alleviate social problems of today.

View telecommuting internships at The Borgen Project.

– Sunny Bhatt

Sources: The Borgen Project, Red Cross, Feeding Children
Photo: Wdet

1. Stop Fantasizing

Determined to start the greatest advocacy movement in your city? That’s great! But make sure your plans aren’t entirely in your head. Make sure to get them down on paper and keep a realistic idea of an outcome.

2. Start committing

Remember, fundraisers don’t run themselves.  They require a good deal of time and energy to carry out. If you don’t think you can do it on your own, get others involved.

3. Start talking

Be active. Talk to members of the community. People only give to causes they know about. Inform the local media of your plans.

4. Visualize the process, not the outcome

Fundraisers take a lot of planning and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Take it step by step. As you get closer to the end, let the overall goal give you the motivation to push through.

5. Avoid the slip-up effect

Everyone makes mistakes or slip ups. When something doesn’t go as planned, don’t give up. Take a break, reevaluate the situation and return to it when you’re ready.

6. Avoid procrastination

Be proactive. Don’t quit before you even begin. Make sure to set self-deadlines to avoid becoming tired and overwhelmed.

7. Shift your focus when needed

If the big picture causes feelings of dread and panic, calm down. Focus on the small steps and take it one task at a time. If you are trying to raise funds, shift the focus from the amount of money needed from donors. Instead, highlight the items and services that will be provided through donations.

8. Be yourself

Don’t become so wrapped up in your cause that you forget yourself and run on auto-pilot, constantly spitting out facts and numbers. Let others see your passion.

9. Keep the end goal in mind

You plan to raise $3,000 for an orphan in South America, but you’re becoming stressed on the minor points, like reserving a booth, finding tablecloths, baking cupcakes, etc. Take a breath and remember your reason for all the madness – to make a little girl happy.

10. Know when to stop

Have a solid plan to get people involved, but it falls short once you’re in public? Know when to take a break. Return to the drawing board. Trying to persuade a certain individual to give, but they have an argument for every fact? Take some time and come back later to discuss your cause from another viewpoint.

11. Have contingency plans

It is important to know the different possible outcomes of your fundraiser/awareness campaign. You could raise way more than you ever hoped to or you can raise $10. Be prepared. Have backup plans set in place and remember to practice responses for a variety of situations to avoid surprises.

– Jasmine D. Smith

Sources: Psy BlogPoverty Living