In partnership with The Co-operative, the Global Poverty Project has been able to mobilise over 120 Global Poverty Ambassadors in the UK. These ambassadors have been trained to deliver important messages to the community about what actions they can take in their everyday lives to end extreme poverty within a generation.
Thanks to our ambassadors’ drive and innovation, there have been a number of campaigns already that have stood out as being truly inspiring. Here is a short description of the events that have really stood out so far this year.
In March, the Ambassadors first campaign task was to write to their local MP to prompt the government to reconfirm the UK’s pledge to spend 0.7% of its GNI on overseas aid. Ambassadors Claire Griffths, Amar Chauhan, Anne Parker and Mark Hague went above and beyond this and created a Facebook page asking members of the public to take photos of themselves holding a sign thanking the government for protecting 0.7%. After hundreds of photos in just a few weeks the campaign was given the opportunity to meet the then Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP to discuss, in person, the importance of the UK committing to its 0.7% aid-spending target!
One of GPP’s most prominent campaigns is Live Below the Line, where participants live on a pound of day to raise awareness of some of the challenges of what it’s like to live below the poverty line. As ever, each Ambassador was encouraged to do their bit for this campaign and enhance its public profile. However, none had done quite so well as Anne Parker. On the 27th of April, Anne launched her LBL efforts with a free gig in Liverpool. It was open to all and offered live music, free food and a great opportunity for Ambassadors and members of the public to get together and spread the word about the challenges of living in extreme poverty. Quite apart from attracting a large number of local people including the Shadow Secretary of State for Education Stephen Twigg MP, this party raised hundreds of pounds and encouraged many people to take part in LBL creating more awareness for the world’s poor.
Another successful campaign party was organised by Sarah Conway. As part of her efforts for The End of Polio Campaign in June, Sarah came up with a unique and fun event to raise awareness of polio in her local community by having a ‘Purple Party’. It was designed as an opportunity to get people together and sign a petition calling on the government to increase funding and end polio for good. The party was featured on local radio and local newspapers, with guests wearing purple for a great evening filled with games, quizzes and music. The money raised from the entrance fee was donated to the Rotary International campaign to end polio and, above all, everyone had fun.
One of most exciting ambassador-led campaigns of 2012 is the Point 1 campaign, championed by Kristina Crawford-our Isle of Man ambassador. Along with the team at GPP, Kristina has set up numerous events to encourage the public to get behind foreign aid spending and encourage the Isle of Man’s government to increase their aid spending to 0.1% from the tiny 0.07%. The campaign has been achieving a lot of press coverage, with Kristina regularly appearing in newspaper and on radio. This has helped the campaign already reach over 10% of the island’s population online and has gained over 1200 signatures on its petition to the government to increases its overseas aid. It's an amazing example of what the ambassadors can achieve.
Most recently the ambassadors were asked to promote World Mosquito Day for Malaria No More on August 20th. Again, one ambassador had been truly inspirations this month and that was William Stringer. William had put together and art installation in several shopping malls in Northern Ireland to raise public awareness about Malaria and the world’s poor. He used mosquito nets as a canvass for members of the public to post their names on to show solidarity with malaria suffers. He reached over 200 people, which is an amazing achievement.
Overall, these are just a few examples of the outstanding work ambassadors have done in such a short amount of time. They have been a beacon of inspiration for the public and staff of GPP alike and will continue to find creative ways to inspire people to end extreme poverty for years to come.