How Can Social Media and Financial Literacy Aid in Advocacy?
The ills of our society are formidable challenges that ought to be faced head on. In this age of the internet and social media, we are (more than ever) connected as a people to unite for this work to be completed. These challenges are not new to Filipinos. The Philippines, after all, is still a third world country. Government data indicate a third of our fellow countrymen live in poverty. If we didn’t experience it ourselves, we have surely seen poverty in a very real way. We can see children without homes to belong to. We know they have no appropriate resources for education. They may be suffering from hunger or lack of water as well.
The power and usefulness of social media is appropriately demonstrated when I saw a photo shared by Unicef Philippines on Facebook a few days ago. It’s a form of an infographic which you can see below.
It says a couple of striking things that most of us may not know about.
- There are 780 million people (all over the world) who lack access to improved water sources
- 3000 children die each day from drinking unsafe water and a lack of access to basic sanitation
Just below the depressing numbers of those who fall victim to lack of water, we see what can be done to address the problem. Specifically it says that a single purification tablet can be used for 4 to 5 liters of water. This means that $60 worth of these tablets can sustain 3500 people for one week.
Why Social Media is Important
This sort of information is easily spread across a caring community through social media. I believe it is important to facilitate the sharing of information most especially for matters that compel us to act for the good of our neighbors. People care for the less fortunate. But sometimes they have no appropriate information to be able to act and contribute. I believe social media is a catalyst that will resolve that problem. Indeed, it is a force for social good.
It was also through social media that I got involved with Unicef Philippines as a donor. I have always believed that children are the most vulnerable sector of society. They have no capability to work out of their difficult situation unless they get help. That’s why I am glad to find Unicef cares for these less fortunate children. I saw Unicef as a conduit that can help me help other people. I have been a consistent donor because of that.
Why Financial Education is Important
For every difficult problem that a society has to contend with, there’s always some money involved in the solution. In the infographic above for example, money is needed to buy the purification tablets. You can easily imagine that the same is true for our other problems such as poverty and hunger. Money is not the sole answer but it is an essential ingredient. People who are able to donate their own money are the lifeblood of these voluntary works.
But for more people to be able to freely give their money to help others, they should first be in a position which will enable them to do so. They cannot give what they do not have. Sometimes, even if they have money they lose them to stuff that are not important. That’s why it’s very important for financial education to become more widespread and mainstream. I believe with a change in our habits and attitude toward money, we will be able to conquer whatever weakness we have which hinders us to give freely and help others.
How You Can Start Helping
There is no better time than now to be involved in purposeful endeavors. I would argue that solving the problems of our society belongs to great purposes we can be part of. These entail group efforts that we can all participate in. We just have to engage.
And what better time than now to engage in these efforts? With social media making it easier and faster than ever, we can reach more and more people. But before you make the leap, don’t forget to review your financial habits and align them with your heart’s desire to help. This way, you will really make a difference in other people’s lives!
About the Author
Joel Olave is an engineer and blogger based in the Philippines. He is formerly a life insurance agent and writes about personal finance in his blog – Invest in Your Future