Bollocks to poverty

Read this if female genital mutilation makes you sick

Oriana Lauria's picture Posted by Oriana LauriaYouth Digital Mobilisation Officer
 

Back in February, when we first talked about female genital mutilation (FGM), we had no idea how people would react to this horrifying issue. So it was amazing when we saw thousands of you flood our blogs , join the conversation and take action to #endFGM through creative messages and donations.

This week, we have another great opportunity for you to make your voice heard against FGM and other issues that keep girls around the world trapped in the cycle of poverty and injustice. Will you join us?

#YouthForChange

Girl Summit and #YouthForChange

On 22 July the UK Government is hosting a Girl Summit event, bringing together governments, activists and community leaders to build international support to end FGM and child forced marriage in our lifetime.

Ahead of the Girl Summit, young people from all over the world are coming together at the #YouthForChange event (Saturday 19 July) to send a clear message to world leaders. The attendees will help to finalise a Youth Action Statement, which will be shared with ministers and leaders from across the globe at the Girl Summit.

Why is this important?

If we fail to take action internationally, within ten years it is estimated that more than 30 million girls and women will be forced to undergo FGM across 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East..

This is why we need your help!

What can you do?

Here are three things you can do to get involved:

How to do music the right way

Tina Kang's picture Posted by Tina KangYouth Marketing and Communications Officer
 

Music can be many things to many people. Some of us like to kick back with our headphones on to relax and some of us like to dance all night at festivals or house parties with music on full blast. Some of us feel inspired by song lyrics and others use music to express their feelings.

Imagine your life without music. Imagine walking everywhere without listening to your ipod. Imagine watching a scary movie with the sound off. Imagine shopping for your new summer wardrobe with nothing but shop noise in the background. Imagine never seeing a band play live and imagine a summer without music festivals. Without music our lives would completely, utterly and massively SUCK.

Music can be ridiculously powerful. When you put those headphones on or go bust your moves on the dance floor you can escape reality, get in the zone and just be yourself.
But when you pick up a microphone and start using your own words… that’s when the magic really happens!

These Bristol people know exactly what I’m talking about…

Don’t you just love how so many people have come together to throw some shapes against FGM?

If you’re still not convinced by the power of music, listen more closely to the rapping section - this talented girl definitely takes the boring out of politics and if that’s not powerful I don’t know what is! Maybe this tune could get parliament to change THEIR tune about FGM.

Music is so powerful that you don’t even need to jam with loads of people to make an impact.

The #yolo hashtag is old news -  this guy shows us it’s all about going #solo…!

Even if you take things into your own hands to tell the world what you think, you can be part of something bigger. You can make people listen. You can create a platform for discussion. You can feel a sense of achievement and pride – and people across the world will share that with you!

So whether you want to jam with hundreds of people to end violence against women and girls or do your own thing with your musical talents, remember that you can change lives through music.

So, listen up party people!

If you love music and want to help us make some noise about poverty, you should join us at Reading Festival this year. We’ll be taking the weekend by storm with music themed campaigning and general fun vibes to show everyone we can change lives through music. Oh, and there’s also that little added bonus… you’ll get to see all your favourite bands too!

If you’re a singer or a musician you should definitely apply – you never know, you might even get to play a set in the ActionAid tent…

Be quick though – volunteer applications close on Friday 18th July.

[Guest post] 8 festival tips you really need to know

Festival season is finally here! Whether you’ve got a ticket to a festival or are volunteering at one, you’ll need to survive a whole weekend of partying AND camping.

So here are some handy tips from our friends at Student Beans, to help you live it up and have no regrets.

1. Be a savvy food shopper (and take some snacks)

Before you get to the festival make sure you’ve done a supermarket run. Get things that are filling, easy to transport and that won’t get squished. A cereal bar might not sound particularly appealing for breakfast, but when you get back to your tent after a long night’s partying, it will look like a royal banquet. AND it will save you spending £7 on a greasy burger.

2. Identify your tent

Tents all start to look the same after a while, so it’s good to make yours stand out (to stop you from stumbling into someone else's humble abode). A flag of some description is a great solution, but check the rules before you go as some festivals ban them. And if you need a new tent, check out Student Beans website for 10% off camping gear and other festival essentials.

3. Keep spare clothes for the journey home

You’re going to be gross, knackered and aching in places you didn’t know it was possible to ache - the least you can do is pop some fresh clothes on. Think of it as a little treat for making it through the whole weekend.

4. Dig out your old Nokia

Smartphones + festivals = bad idea. All you need a phone for at a festival is to track down your friends after you’ve been on a beer run. Rather than risk losing your smartphone, take the old brick that’s been sat in your drawer for years. And a massive bonus... the battery won’t run out - charging a smartphone is either a huge pain, or basically impossible...

5. Take enough cash

There’s nothing worse than having to spend cash to get cash, and festivals are one of the worst offenders when it comes to ATMs that charge you to access your money. Plan a budget before you leave home and make sure you withdraw enough cash (for free) to last you the weekend.

6. Research the rules on alcohol

There’s no point spending all your money on alcohol if you get to the arena - crates in hand - only to find out you have to dump it all. Look up what is / isn’t allowed before you arrive and adjust your tactics accordingly.

7. Don’t lock your tent

It may be tempting to try and stop people getting in your tent, but locking it just tells thieves that there’s something worth nicking in there. The solution? Don’t leave your valuables in there and forget about padlocks, otherwise you'll end up with a slashed tent that provides little to no protection from the elements.

8. Only buy merch, clothes and trinkets on the last day

Band t-shirts, CDs and other items at various stalls are notoriously overpriced at festivals. Wait until the last day when vendors are desperate to get rid of stock, especially date-specific stuff, and you might grab yourself a bargain.

GIFs from giphy.com

[LISTEN] Our Reading Festival 2014 playlist

Corinne Cumming's picture Posted by Corinne CummingYouth Social Media volunteer
 

Reading Festival 2014 is fast approaching so we have made a Spotify playlist with our favourite bands and artists due to play over the weekend.

If you don’t have a ticket to the now sold out Reading Festival, there is still a way in!

7 inspiring lyrics to live by

Oriana Lauria's picture Posted by Oriana LauriaYouth Digital Mobilisation Officer
 

The music you hear every day might make you happy, want to sing, laugh, dance around like a mad thing with your mates or even cry! But have you ever used music as a way to escape the reality of your daily life?

At ActionAid, we use music as a way to help change the lives of young people living poverty through some amazing projects around the world.

Whether you enjoy making music, or just listening to it, here's a list of inspiring lyrics to live by. What's your favourite one?

1. “Find your freedom in the music.” Lady Gaga, Dance In The Dark

 

2. “I want something beautiful to die for, to make it beautiful to live.” Queen Of The Stone Age, Go With The Flow

 

3. “Then you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changing” Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'

 

4. “It all works somehow at the end.” The Strokes, Barely Legal

 

5. “Go make a life, not a living” Jason Mraz, 10,000 Motherf*ckers

 

6. “Look to the stars, let hope burn in your eyes.” Muse, Stockholm Syndrome

 

7. “We will sing as one in solidarity, we will sing together. And still we will be here standing like statues” Enter Shikari, Solidarity

 

How is music inspiring you?

5 creative campaigning ideas to END violence against women and girls

Tina Kang's picture Posted by Tina KangYouth Marketing and Communications Officer
 

Our She Can appeal is over, but You Can still shout about ending violence against women and girls. Get your creative juices flowing and campaign your heart out for ActionAid.

1. Share something shocking


Got mad photoshop skills? The Twitter world went crazy at the photo of ‘C’mon England!’ spelt out in the Amazon Rainforest. But don’t panic; they didn’t really cut down all those trees, they were just kidding to raise awareness of deforestation. Take a leaf out of Paddy Power’s book and share something shocking about women and girls.

How about a spoof wedding invitation from a child bride? Expect some pretty outrageous reactions.


2. Play on your phone

 

Not met your match on Tinder yet? Sick of snapchat selfies? Use your phone apps more productively by sharing important facts and stats instead.

Did you know:

  • 1 in 3 girls in developing countries is married before reaching her 18th birthday (World Bank, 2014).

  • 4 in 10 people globally agree that when jobs are scarce, men have more right to them than women (World Bank, 2014).

  • 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at, or on their way to, school (UNICEF).

 

3. Get loads of people involved


We love the Walk a mile in her shoes events, where men are swapping nikes for platforms, for a march against sexual violence against women. Get your mates together, show off your fave heels and march, march, march!

If you want to go the extra mile (literally, haha) how about copying Yanis Marshall from Britain’s Got Talent?

(Just kidding, leave that to the dance experts folks!)

4. Start a Street Photo blog


Take inspiration from Humans Of New York. Snap strangers in the street, asking them to say why they want to end violence against women and girls. Collect them all in one place and spread the word online.

Just remember to watch out for photobombs!

5. Take a Selfie

Send a message to world leaders with some selfie power. Tell them one thing they can do to stop violence against women and girls around the world and share your picture on Instagram using the hashtag #timetoact.

Everyone loves a selfie so you might aswell share two. Take a stand against FGM with a finger photo #endFGM.

Try this stuff out for yourself and let us know how it goes!

Want to do even more to end violence against women?