Saturday, August 27, 2011

The need for a coordinated awareness campaign to raise funds for Horn of Africa famine response

We are currently experiencing one of the worst famine in the last half a century. Over 10 million of people are in dire need of support and thousands of children are dying. Yet the organizations responding to this crisis are not able to respond because of lack of funding. Only 50% of the required funding has been committed so far.

The press has been showing us terrible images of children dying from malnutrition yet we are more focused on the results of sensational court cases, potential collapses of Hollywood marriages or the temporary hiccups in the economy.

It is time we utilize technology to help raise awareness and help the great organizations working on this terrible tragedy raise funds for their work. But how do we make that awareness and fundraising easier for those that want to help?

1) We create a set of awareness building short messages that can be used by people. Sentences like these:

Refugees in #Dadaab walk for 20+ days to try to save their children - leaving everything behind #HoACrisis
Every day parents in #Dadaab bury their children - who were too far along to be saved from malnutrition #HoACrisis

2) We get permissions to link to images that move people. These can come from organizations working on the response or from media outlets and professional photographers. We create short links to include those in the awareness messages

3) We provide a landing page with a simple short link that contains a collection of organizations working on the crisis - something like this page from MSNBC on how to help with Famine Response

4) We get people and organizations with large number of followers on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ to send out any of the short messages they feel touched by.

5) We get popular website to include these short messages on their websites, catching the "eyeballs" and gearing people towards the landing page.

6) We work together to create a global awareness of the situation, instead of individually trying to create awareness one by one.

So what is needed to get something like this off the ground? A will to collaborate. A will to make a difference. A will to get steps 1-6 done through the best resources out there - YOU!!!

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