While millions of families and children will be affected by the famine in East Africa, Facebook is quickly becoming a platform for relief efforts directed toward the region.
The humanitarian crisis was brought on by the worst drought in more than 50 years. The spotlight is focused on Somalia this week,thanks in part to a visit by Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
With the ability to organize and communicate quickly on Facebook, a number of relief programs are using the social networking platform to get off the ground.
Save the Children launched the social media campaign today called I’m Gonna Be Your Friend. A global audience of 750 million Facebook users will be able to view a short film of the crisis in East Africa and asked to donate money to the cause. We’ve embedded a copy of the footage below.
Reuters reports that musicians including Justin Bieber, Eminem, Lady Gaga, and Jay Z, are sharing the video with their extensive networks, leading the organizers to estimate a potential viewing audience in the billions.
The soundtrack to the video is Bob Marley & the Wailers 1973 hit “High Tide or Low Tide.”
Other aid organizations like the Red Cross and private relief efforts dedicated to the crisis also have a presence on Facebook.
Despite these efforts, some say social media isn’t doing nearly enough, not when 29,000 children have died in the past 90 days.
Readers, do you think relief efforts on Facebook can play a role in ending the famine?
Photo courtesy of Associated Press