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Wanted: social media volunteers for a good cause

Posted on Sep 20th, 2011 by

food and water in Africa

Water scarcity is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity today.

Today, more than 20 percent of the world’s rivers run dry before reaching the sea. This is an upcoming disaster for the world’s agriculture, specifically in developing countries where 70-90% of the available water is used to grow food.

More than 1.4 billion people currently live in water-scarce rivers basins. By 2025 the number is expected to reach 3.5 billion. As the world’s population grows and global food demands will roughly double in the next 50 years,  competition for scarce water resources is projected to intensify between the use of water for agriculture, and the use for urban or domestic uses.

If future generations are to be fed, agriculture must produce more food with less water.

This is the core work of the CGIAR Challenge Programme on Water and Food (or CPWF), make the use of water-for-food:

  • …more productive (produces more food per unit of water and land),
  • …more resilient in the face of economic and environmental shocks, and
  • …more diverse in food production and nutrition.

The third International Forum on Water and Food (IFWF) will be held in South Africa on November 14-17 this year. It will focus on assessing the progress of the research so far, and how to best capitalize on the results. It will gather lead scientists, policy makers and NGOs working in this field.

This is where we come in, and where I need your help!

Calling on social media volunteers

The forum organisers recognize the power and reach of social media, and want to actively use  it to advocate for their cause. They asked me to coordinate the social media team.

Our team will:

  • Use social media to spread the message and key content before, during and after the forum;
  • Do the social reporting from the forum itself, using different social media outlets to distribute the updates;
  • Coordinate the spreading of “the messages”, using a worldwide social media network.

The team will consist of volunteers. Some of them will be CPWF staff, others will be people interested in the cause of “water and food”. Some will attend the forum itself, but many will not physically be there, but rather use their social media networks to spread the messages.

More than just “advocacy”

But it is not just advocacy, we’re looking for. We want to use the opportunity to gather a group of volunteers, just as we did for the AgKnowledge Africa event in Addis last year: We will use the forum as a project, teaching people how to put together a social media strategy, how to select and use the tools, and train the newbies on the different social media techniques.

So, in short, we will use social media at its best and finest: Train people, define the approach, and execute a social media campaign for a good cause.

This will be an excellent learning opportunity, and a way to share experiences with like-minded people.

Are you interested to join in? You got nothing to lose!

Again, you don’t need to be related to the CPWF, nor even work for a non-profit organisation. You don’t even have to attend the forum. We do need people with a genuine interest in using social media for a non-profit cause, willing to learn from each other, and work with the others. We are looking for people willing to help spread the message through social media for a good cause.

If you are interested, drop me an email via peter (at) blogtips (dot) org or simply leave a comment with your email address in this post.

I will then put you on our Google Groups Email discussion forum. As our social media team is just starting, you can participate in the discussions from the beginning, and time-permitting, volunteer for one of the tasks.

And there are plenty of tasks: e.g. manage our Google Sites repository, search for new social media tools and help setting them up, make blogposts, and help to train others.

All of this is on a volunteering basis: you can invest as much or as little time you want.

Interested? Join now! This is a unique opportunity to be part of a greater good: using social media for a good cause.

37 Comments to “Wanted: social media volunteers for a good cause”

  1. Geoffrey Opile says:

    This is such a great opportunity to share what I know about social media and learn from others. This is a great way to reach out to a large audience in enhancing agricultural knowledge among the interested group. I’d love to be a volunteer in promoting the use of social media to share ideas on how to conserve water and grow agriculture in the Eastern and Central Africa

  2. Miriam Conteh-Morgan says:

    Miriam Conteh-Morgan
    Associate Professor and Librarian
    The Ohio State University

  3. I volunteer for the cause.

  4. I am interested in the discussion

  5. Sammy says:

    Hey Peter,
    This sounds so exciting! I’m definitely interested in learning and sharing! The issue of less water, less land and more productivity! with the help of ICT’s sounds great. Must be an element of ICT 4 Development in my thinking. I would love to learn more on social media and how to use the various tools readily available as a tool for development.

    Looking forward to hearing form you.


  6. Peter says:

    @Sammy, Geoffrey, Nighisty, Sridhar and Miriam: sent you a confirmation of our Google Groups discussion forum.

    Thanks for stepping up!


  7. Hi Peter I am very interested and looking forward to be a member of the social media volunteers group for the conference held in south Africa in International Forum on Water and Food, I am wishing one of the team member who will broadcast the event in social media tools , but if not possible I will be one of the virtual volunteers who will participate online from Addis.
    Please peter keeps informing us for the date of application for the conference and if there is any time of conference grant for accommodation arranged by the organizer or third party.
    Thank you again for the time we have spent in the Addis share faire as member of the social media group.
    With regards

  8. Count me in. I will have about a half-day per week to dedicate to this.

    All the best

  9. Udayan Mishra says:

    a good cause indeed. i’m interested !

  10. Gina Strandlien says:

    I may be able to help out.

  11. Shradha Pradhan says:

    Hi Peter,

    I offer myself as a virtual volunteer. Pls, count me in :)

  12. RESPECT says:

    Hi Peter I am very much interested and looking forward to be a member of the social media volunteers group for the conference held in south Africa in International Forum on Water and Food . i hope to help in the process of development and social change.
    Will discuss more on the tactics to be applied when you respond to my email.
    hope to hear from you soon.


  13. Christina Bennett says:

    Hi Peter

    I am involved in charity campaigning and the use of social media to support this. I am limited in how much time I can spare but would love to be involved and will gladly help in any way I can.


  14. Patricio Peñafiel says:

    Hola, sigo el tema agua con mucho interés, trabajo en temas de desarrollo económico social y solidario (BUEN VIVIR), en sectores rurales, quiero ser parte de este proyecto de utilizar redes sociales para causas positivas.

    Cuenten conmigo



    Es un aporte muy importante, así que expreso mi deseo de ser voluntario y se que aprenderemos mucho compartiendo.

  16. WeWatchWeb says:

    Hi there!

    Reading the practical guide, I understand that it might be complicated managing a team from many places. Maybe you should consider virtual worlds like Second Life to meet participants. That is Fun and very useful especially when participants don’t know each others!

    I understand it is the very beginning of this campaign. So not to rush things I will promote your search for social media first and maybe you want to share directions!

    Err… Also what the access with the Google discussion list?
    A good day!

  17. Daan Boom says:

    the proposition sounds interesting enough to share my interest in this crowd sourcing forum and happy to join.

  18. Hi,

    A pleasure to volunteer for this cause !

    Thank you

  19. Hugo says:

    Cuenten conmigo. Interesado en apoyar la causa

  20. John Kester says:

    This looks great! I would love to help out, please add me to the list!

  21. Julissa says:

    Hello Peter.
    I think it’s a great opportunity for me where I will be able to learn about the use of water for agriculture, so I’d like to be a member as a volunteer.

  22. Peter says:

    @jrflorespiscoya @jk3three @hneyra59 @pvuillot @carlos.gomez.miguel @patricio @christina @ressiebangu13 @shradha

    Thank you all: I have added you to the list.


  23. Peter says:

    @kim @daan
    I have added you to the group!

  24. Johanna says:

    Hola Peter!!

    Esta es una maravillosa causa, deseo unirme de manera voluntaria al grupo.


  25. Walter Vilcapaza says:

    Hola estoy interesado en participar del proyecto

  26. Pranay Garodia says:

    I would like to be a volunteer for this noble cause.

  27. KPOVIESSI Finagnon Aubin says:

    Hi Peter!
    I’m very interrested by this “challenge”! I’ll be pleasure to take part of it. best regards!!

  28. Angelica says:

    Interested! Will participate on discussions and with great honor volunteer for the cause.

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