New Australian aid campaign targets youth

By Lisa Cornish 23 February 2015

The Fair Share Food Truck and eager volunteers at the launch of the new Australian Aid campaign. Photo by: WWF CEO Dermot O'Gormon

More than 50 Australian aid organizations are joining forces for a unique campaign aimed at developing a foreign aid front line with the country’s youth at the helm.

Supported by some of Australia’s leading development organizations such as UNICEF, World Vision, Oxfam, WWF and The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Campaign for Australian Aid is using a combination of social media, technology and a food truck to encourage young Australians to make a stand for Australian aid.

Canberra has seen its aid budget reduced by more than 11 billion Australian dollars ($8.6 billion) during Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s first 15 months in office. The 2015-2016 budget is scheduled for release in mid-May, and the country’s development community is concerned of further cuts to the foreign assistance envelope.

The strategy to target Gen Y — generally used to refer to the generation born between the early 1980s and the mid-‘90s — follows the release of Galaxy research identifying younger Australians as being more supportive of foreign aid. More than half of the surveyed youth said they wanted to see aid delivery better access to health care and education, while 45 percent believed it was unfair Australian aid had been cut to the lowest level on record.

World Vision chief executive Tim Costello told Devex it was reassuring to see young Australians valuing the work of foreign aid and hoped the campaign would help them stand up for what is fair.

Food truck spreads value of #AustralianAid

Beginning today at the University of New South Wales, the Fair Share food truck will be visiting 10 locations over two weeks in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, targeting universities as well as Australia’s Parliament House.

Food truck patrons will be asked to contribute what they believe is fair for an authentic meal of Southeast Asian cuisine, costing organizers AU$5 a serve. They will also be able to know more about the campaign, which would hopefully help build greater understanding and support for Australian aid by showcasing its effectiveness in countries around the world.

“Over the past two years we have been too busy looking inward and have forgotten about looking outwards on the world,” Adam Valvasori, the campaign’s project manager at World Vision, told Devex. “We aim to change that.”

Using the hashtag #AustralianAid on Instagram and Twitter, all Australians can follow the truck’s journey and share in the experience of participants.

Volunteers with iPads will meanwhile be asking patrons to join the campaign within their community or online. Those who can’t visit the truck can sign up at join.australianaid.org.

At the same time, partner organizations will be spreading the critical message, “We’re for Australian Aid,” through their own networks and communication channels. Organizations that want to get involved — even those outside the aid sector — are encouraged to join Make Poverty History.

“We believe that through this grass-roots campaign we can encourage all Australians to stand up for what they believe is fair; and rally together to continue the great work that we do, helping people living in poor communities to build a fairer future,” Costello said.

How can we empower today’s youth and make them active drivers of development? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and join us beginning March 3 for our #YouthWill campaign.

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About the author

Cornish img
Lisa Cornish@lisa_cornish

Lisa Cornish is a freelance data journalist based in Canberra, Australia. Lisa formerly worked with News Corp Australia as a data journalist for the national network and was published throughout Australia in major metropolitan and regional newspapers, including the Daily Telegraph in Melbourne, Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail in Brisbane and online through news.com.au. Lisa has recently been awarded the 2014 Journalist of the Year by the New South Wales Institute of Surveyors.


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