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ONE launches anti-poverty drive

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Members of advocacy group ONE, at the launch of an anti-poverty drive, the You Choose campaign in Johannesburg.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Members of advocacy group ONE, at the launch of an anti-poverty drive, the You Choose campaign in Johannesburg.

ERADICATION of poverty starts in the mind.

That's the message from Nigerian musician D'banj who was speaking at the launch of the You Choose campaign in Johannesburg.

The campaign, which is organised by ONE, an international grassroots advocacy group, co-founded by Irish musician Bono, is set to give the poor an opportunity to influence the next phase of the United Nation Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.

ONE has three million members worldwide.

ONE will be facilitating a free SMS service where Africans can send messages saying what they feel should be top priority for MDGs.

The MDGs were adopted by the UN in 2000 after 189 delegates from different countries came together to discuss solutions to global poverty, disease, health and education.

D'Banj said Africans should regain their self respect by embracing the positive side of the continent.

He said he was a living testimony of how being proactive can make a difference.

"In Nigeria 10 years ago if you would have said you are a musician people laughed at you, but now we are bigger than oil."

D'Banj added that he was proud to be part of an initiative such as this, which will see Africans come together as one.

Other public figures behind the drive include Benni McCarthy, musicians HHP, Lira and Ghanaian footballer Asamoah Gyan.

D'Banj was joined on the panel by director of the Economic Justice Network Reverend Malcom Damon and ONE deputy director, Nachilana Nkombo.

Nkombo said the campaign would help push Africa's voices to the fore and harness transparency in the continent.

"We are launching You Choose with the hope that African voices will take centre stage," Nkombo said.

She added the campaign was taking advantage of the cellphone explosion on the continent to give marginalised communities a voice.

Nkombo said ONE will compile a report from the suggestions sent by people.

Damon said this was an opportunity to address challenges surrounding food insecurity and education.

United Nations regional director Reginald Chima said he was impressed to see the determination for change coming from young people. - mahopoz@soweta.co.za

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