We’re talking about creativity that actually improves peoples’ lives. Philanthropic social movements form an exciting topic within human geography. They are new, they can be huge and they fulfill our endless desire to use technology for everything! Just like the ‘hardback’ is now the ‘Kindle’, for NGOs the platform to raise awareness is now social media. If you haven’t heard about the No-Make-Up Selfie or Stephen Sutton’s Story, then you very likely don’t care much for social media. For many individuals, the campaigns have enlightened the harsh realities of life and the vulnerability of those suffering from cancer. They have ignited a social movement fueled by both empathy and the desire to expand originality into the unknown.
Sky News article on No-make-up Selfie
Being a gadget enthusiast, I am naturally excited about new technologies; the possibilities of it, the origins of development and the ways in which its development can be influenced. This led me to undertake research in Malawi to understand how the technologies of mobile phones can be influenced to assist micro-entrepreneurs. But now it’s time for a bigger challenge, to get to grips with understanding how NGOs can use the internet and social media to ultimately bring about change for the people it is try to help. International NGOs are massive agents for development, responsible from everything from humanitarian aid, to assisting with longer term infrastructure and advocating bringing about social change. Often to achieve great ambitions they form connections with other NGOs pursuing similar objectives. As well as the ‘glitzy’ side to my report dealing with social media, I want to analyse the use of technology used to connect NGOs when they network.
I start my research at StreetInvest this week. StreetInvest is an International NGO working to improve the quality of life for street children. They do this through a number of methods and crucially for my dissertation these include networking with other NGOs, and fundraising and raising awareness through social media and other more traditional means. Having had one meeting with StreetInvest already, I am excited and confident that I can gain rich data, relating to the two foci I wish to pursue. More imminently stimulating for me however, is the chance I will have to gain unprecedented experience working in the public relations, operations and fundraising sector of the organisation. I will learn invaluable skills and hopefully be able to contribute help to StreetInvest in some form. I’m looking forward to getting started, here goes then…