2005 will be 20 years since Band Aid

Twenty years on from the 1984 famine, chronic poverty is still widespread in Ethiopia and will continue to rob children of their future unless donations help to commit to more long-term aid that invests in development. This is the vivid message from the charity, Save the Children. Ethiopia may have changed in the last 20 years. However, it still has a multitude of problems. Today Millions are worse off and even more vulnerable. Four million people every year remain dependent on food aid. Almost half the children in Ethiopia never go to school. Many die from illnesses related to malnutrition before their fifth birthday and those who survive have few opportunities for earning a living.

During Xmas 1985 record sales of ‘Do they know its Christmas’ achieved 50million worldwide copies sold, the Band aid charity helped to spawn £90million for Ethiopia and saved up to 2million lives. However, today the risk of failing rains and growth of aids sufferers (including over 1Million-orphaned children) still pose a threat to continued progress. Let us also not forget that the Ethiopia’s government is still £6.5Billion in dept.

Solutions are in front of us but limited actions result. Countries and the World Bank could free their (Ethiopia’s) debt situation. Governments keen to continue shipments in arms should halt this type of trade immediately. I believe that the old adage about ‘teaching a person to fish’ is extremely patronising – The situation is not as obvious as clearly in some countries variable climates impact their economies. Therefore, alternative economies have to be developed.

Charles Darwin wrote, ‘If the misery of our poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.’ The implication here is one of corporate responsibility. Its great to see the Voluntary Services Organisation (VSO) offering opportunities for secondments however, little is done by multi-nationals to encourage similar corporate schemes. Even if corporations cannot spare their workers, I believe there is still a level of responsibility for corporations to negotiate fairness in their global pricing strategies. This area of fair trade is a related subject, compounding the negative situation. Corporate greed unfortunately results in self-perpetuating selfishness.

Maybe an immediate action point to help is for all of us to work towards reading and learning more about the in-balance of the distribution of global wealth. We have enough food to feed the world (approx 5Billion people) five times over. We must accept recycling strategies and at the same time write to our MP’s to point out the in-justice of current world economics and the benefits or harmonising our natural resources.

When you wake up each morning, think about what you can do to help someone survive until midnight.

Read more – consider yourself as a global player or citizen not inclusive to your country
Understand the concepts of Fair trade – what products are available and who can they benefit – then swap your traditional products to fair trade items. For example, think twice about what you’re buying at Supermarket.

Recycle more – to reduce greenhouse emissions and wastage. Researchers suggest that this could help the turbulent climate change we are now witnessing.

Write to your MP to help them prioritise the government’s agenda – for example raise the issue of arms sales – remember you voted for them so you need to make them accountable.

Write to your MEP (European) to understand what the EC are doing in terms of global initiatives.
Learn more about existing UN schemes and if you have children, suggest to them what they can do to help at local charity events.

Don’t think twice about contributing to campaigns, consider the impact they make and GIVE.Finally, miss out on a night out; instead contribute to a world cause.

Categories: 2004

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