I’ve never felt Standing Up and Taking Action would be a real challenge until this year.

19 Oct

Stand Up Take Action is a powerful symbolic action that can have real impact. It’s a global initiative to remind world leaders to honour their promise to end poverty, to meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Reduce child mortality
  5. Improve maternal health
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability
  8. Develop a global partnership for development
My belief in this initiative took a beating as I have went head into a passionate discussion at social networking site with a local volunteer organization leader having a stand saying the following when I first queried if she had anything planned for the SUTA day 2009:
Me: Ey XXX, does [volunteer org] have any activity related to http://www.facebook.com/hoMe:.php?ref=logo#/event.php?eid=91456731434 – would defo love to participate.
For the fourth year in a row, millions of people around the world will Stand Up and Take Action to show their support for the fight against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Time:1:00PM Friday, October 16th
October 11 at 4:08pm ·
Her:  no i dont.. and i have to be hoenst i think this campagin is a litte silly and just some lame PR stunt that will have very little effect… I am looking into it further mind to see if I can find anything with more depth to it and if so I will support x
October 11 at 5:50pm ·
Me:  yeah, unfortunately that is a common misconception. it’s more of a political call that is supported by organizations like yours and similar-minded individuals with the saMe: goals. once you’ve gone through the materials and still feel the saMe:, would love to fill you in. you know where to find me 🙂
October 11 at 5:54pm ·
Her:  precisely why im not interested in this campaign hun apart form how lame the concept is.. This is clearly an political pr campaign under the guise of a humanitarian act and a weak one at that. Im more of a hands on active person and would prefer to stay away from anything with any under lying political tones.
There is only one reason there is still poverty in this world and that is corruption. No amount of people “standing up” will ever change that, because the big boys who control the worlds weak, don’t care about anything but their pockets. Sorry hun but that’s just how I feel.
October 11 at 6:16pm ·
Me:  lame is such a strong word! i think you’ve been reading up on incomplete materials that give off that vibe, which i think is really a pity.
of course, the hands-on action that we do at [volunteer org] is all great and cool. however, it doesn’t have a long term view – well at least that is the vibe it gives off for me.
the initiative’s purpose is to inform the “corrupt big boys/powers that be/politicians who regulate the wold” that we are standing up (hence the headcount to take full accounting of people involved who are both doing and watching) to let them know we are watching, and that with our short-term actions through our groups activities, we are not just for show and we do our part to fight poverty, inequality and its underlying conditions – we all are committed and are accountable….[http://www.standuptakeaction.org/about.html]
October 11 at 6:46pm ·
Her:  with great respsect to you Olay I have been full time in the field for almost 3 years and I know my “industry” well (because unfortunately that is what it is and the very reason there are problems). I also know that these initiaves, that, have been attempted over and over and over, will make zero difference, therefore, at a time where my resources are stretched to their absolute limit, I choose not to divert much needed energy from activities that do make a direct difference to those in need, towards that wont. I beleive that this is a choice I am enittled to make just is it is my choice to use the term “lame” as and when I feel it is applicable. Sorry Olay but this is how I feel and I will not pretend differently in order to “fit in” to “fashionable” campaigns. I applaud you for feeling strongly about it and encourage you to participate regardless of my sentiments.
October 12 at 8:43am ·
Me:  No need to apologize for your opinions, Lola 🙂 I just wish yo didn’t sound so hopeless about political machinery! At this point, it would then safe to assume your answer to my original question is No. Got it and looking out for other orgs for venues. Cheers and see you on other [volunteer org] activities I can join.
October 12 at 11:15am
During the first Stand Up Day of the 16th:
“sorry but this standup against poverty/hungry concept is just another political pr stunt masquaraded as a humanitarian effort, and a lame one at that. want to help the starving? share tonight’s dinner with the homeless or hungry”
There was a lot of comments agreeing/disagreeing with this comment of hers and I really liked the reactions coming out for and against what she said.
I replied back (and this comment got deleted and she deleted me from her friends list after reading it) with something a lot like this (I do not have a copy of the post now, but this was how I remember it):
“Dear XXX,  I’d like to thank you for your status message as with your despondence you have supported the initiative by creating awareness for the curious. Your contribution does not end there, give as much of yourself and take part on activities that ensure Millenium Development Goals are met by 2015. The initiative is a partnership of commitment and accountability amongst yourself, your community and the government. Awareness is key.
If you really want to help the starving, do not stop and feel good once you’ve shared your dinner.  Make sure he has decent work and pay to allow him to have a proper dinner of his choosing. Dole-outs take away a person’s dignity, which is the worst depravity of poverty.”
So, I send this message yesterday:
I was waiting for your reply for the stand up initiative, then just noticed now that you have deleted me amongst your friends list in [social networking site]. I hope it was accidental, as in spite of the discussion I continue to wish you and your org’s success.If any of my words have offended you, my apologies – I can see now you feel so strongly against it and maybe as much as I feel strongly for it.Then again, misplaced negativity is an effect of burdens you carry so if this lightens your load, so be it. I too have been working with charities and NGOs since I started working (and that is 12 years since my first activity) hence the stand that dole-outs are not good enough.I must say, you are the first ever public persona [she has almost 4,000 “friends” on her social networking site, most of which are fellow volunteers for her org] I have encountered that would really go out and bash a political initiative that unfortunately I feel so strong for. So I just did my part and stood up to dispel any misconceptions being spread out.Anyhoo, add me back or not, I still hope to volunteer with you on upcoming [volunteer org] activities I believe in.

Bless you and cheers.”

I get added back to her friends list today. 

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