Essay: Make Poverty History
In the lead up to the Millennium, the Jubilee Debt Campaign had started something. 86 charities and NGOs had come together to put pressure on the leaders of the rich countries to Drop the Debt that the world’s poorest countries owed to the richest. The campaign ran for 3 years before disbanding in 2001. There was small progress, but noting close to the resolution the campaigners had hoped for. However, the campaign had proven that some kind of coalition could do more than individual NGOs and charities by themselves to affect lasting change at the highest level.
The statement ‘Make Poverty History’ is clear, challenging and evocative. Most importantly, it has the potential to make people believe they could be part of something momentous. Wearing a white band made people feel that they are truly part of this.
It’s notoriously difficult to engage people as campaigners and for most members of the general public being a charity campaigner has negative connotations.
The white band also allows individuals to offer supporters a very easy entry point to show their support of Make Poverty History. They don’t need to sign up to give a tanner a month to us, nor did they need to tie-dye their clothes and bury themselves under a road, but by wearing a white band they show active support.
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