As a parent, sometimes I find it difficult to begin to solve my own problems much less my family’s problems. But then, how do we begin to tackle the even bigger problems in the world: poverty, disease, hunger?
Do we read a book? Give money? Raise awareness among people we know? Sign a petition or write our politicians? For years I’ve done a combination of these things, at levels of commitment that vary widely, to say the least. Sometimes when news of extreme poverty or the fight against AIDs comes on television, I change the channel.
But not this October. This October I’ll be going with a group of bloggers and parents (including Mummy From the Heart) to Ethiopia with ONE, the advocacy organisation. Earlier this year BritMums connected with ONE to establish ONEMums, a group of parent bloggers motivated by the organisation’s activities and interested in promoting it. We’re joining up with ONEMoms from the U.S. on this trip to highlight what’s happening with aid on the ground.
In six weeks, I’ll be flying into Addis Ababa (a place I originally heard about not in geography class but while watching the original Superman movie) to witness and write about and share the ways that ONE is working in that country.
Here’s why you should read the coverage and join in this journey:
This will not be a story all about suffering children with flies on their eyes
As a journalist I believe knowing the extreme conditions in which other people are suffering is valuable. But sometimes those images make us feel impotent and overwhelmed. On this journey we’ll see how Ethiopian women are lifting their families out of poverty (because the efforts do centre around women). I’ll hopefully be giving a sense of what the foreign aid money committed by governments is actually achieving on the ground.
We’re not asking for your money; we’re asking for your voice
As an organisation, ONE is about raising public awareness, and pressuring our leaders to support effective programmes. Through our taxes we send money to programmes across the world. When our leaders commit money to projects to end hunger or AIDs, we want them to live up to those promises. By tweeting this and the following posts, by responding to them on your blog, Facebook, G+, Twitter or elsewhere, by joining the live chat we’ll be doing, you’ll help raise awareness and add your voice to the demand for attention and accountability.
Along with Mummy From the Heart, I’m just a regular parent
We are not foreign policy experts or Africa scholars. We are regular bloggers getting involved to raise awareness. In that way we are just like you (unless you actually happen to be a foreign policy expert or Africa scholar). We’re going to a country where you have entire families living on $1.25 a day – that’s about 79 pence. We are going to try to put that in perspective and share the stories of the people we meet.
Your next steps:
* Sign up to join #ONE, below
* Follow the conversation about the journey on #ONEMums and #ONEMoms
* Join the conversation using your social media power. Let us know if you blog about it so we can RT, +1, etc!
* Watch the BritMums blog for more about the upcoming trip