As part of the Nonprofit Blog Exchange, I visited the Social Butterfly blog recently – the Nonprofit Blog Exchange connects bloggers in an effort to expand the sphere of readership and exposure (to learn more, check it out).
I was already familiar with the blog, and Social Butterfly’s twitter, too. But, I realized the blog wasn’t in my RSS reader and thus I was missing many wonderful posts! I suggest that if you are interested in social media, marketing, and the intersection of the two, you subscribe as well.
What is poverty?
In researching the answer to this question, I couldn’t escape the purpose behind a campaign by the Association of Public Health Schools and the Pfizer Foundation recently created called “What is public health?” This campaign works to better brand ‘public health’ to the public, while also raising awareness, education and encouraging participation in the public health conversation. Participants are asked to put red “This is public health stickers” on items that they feel represent public health. My challenge: What would this look like if the question: “What is poverty?” was asked?
I read on, and encourage you to as well, but that question stuck in my head. If we were going to try to put a sticker on everything that labeled it as, “This is Poverty,” how would we even begin? The definition of poverty, or at least as we think of it in public service work and public policy, is so vast and multifaceted. The number of stickers we would need is unbelievable!
Then, as if she was reading my thoughts, I saw this tweet from my friend Audrey:
spinnerin: Frustrated by people’s tendency to talk for everyone outside developed countries as though we know exactly what they need.
It’s such a fitting point. When I first started thinking about sticking those “This is Poverty” stickers on things, I started thinking with my home town first, then my home state, and home country. After that, I started thinking about London, and the UK as I’m now based here and learning a great deal about the world as it is here. But to start thinking about puting those stickers on things in developing countries was almost unfair. I can think of many things to put those stickers on, but I don’t live there every day nor do I face or even really understand the real issues, and definitions of poverty as they exist in developing countries. By putting a sticker on those things, the issues as we see them from elsewhere, are we even setting the stage for help and change?
How do we first get the people IN poverty, to label things with these metaphoric and real stickers of “This is Poverty” so that help can be defined and created most effectively?