Talkin' 'bout food, aid transparency revolution

    Singer Tracy Chapman at the TED event in 2007. More than 100 artists are offering their voices to ONE's latest campaign, "agit8" to drive aid transparency and food revolution across Africa. Photo by: advencap / CC BY-SA

    If ending poverty has a theme song, what would it be?

    Advocacy group ONE is using music in its latest campaign ”agit8” to drive aid transparency and food revolution across Africa a week before the June 17 G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland.

    More than 100 artists are offering their voices to the campaign, for example by putting a spin on Johnny Cash’s “Man in Black” to Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution,” which rose to popularity during the 2011 Tunisian Arab Spring.

    The songs are separated in various categories, such as anti-apartheid, anti-war, civil rights, anti-poverty and women’s rights.

    “It’s an outrage that today 20,000 children will die needlessly from poverty and hunger […] We can stop this by people taking action together now,” ONE Europe Executive Director Adrian Lovett said in a statement.

    ONE says “it’s time to turn up the volume” to these needless deaths. The group is calling for G-8 leaders to support African plans to boost agriculture, fight poverty and end chronic malnutrition by providing “transparent and accountable financial support.”

    In May, the organization released a report highlighting the importance of countries meeting their spending commitments to education, health and agriculture across sub-Saharan Africa.

    “There’s no better way to get your point across than to put it in a beautiful song,” Ed Sheeran, who did his own version of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War,” said.

    This is not the first time the aid community has made use of music to bring attention to a cause. In March, U.N. Women launched its very own theme song highlighting stories of women’s courage around the world.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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