Today (24 October) is World Development Information Day. And I guess you didn't know that!
On 17 May 1972, The UN Conference on Trade and Development proposed that maximising the use of technology would be an effective way of disseminating educational material about poverty alleviation.
The move was particularly aimed at encouraging collaboration across technological industries but with a view to making information available to its citizens and children. So every year since 1972 this day has been dedicated to educating the world about development.
But I suspect that ironically not many of us actually realised that such a day exists - which is almost a contradiction of its purpose. So this was the point at which I was just about to launch into a mini sermon about God's people 'suffering from a lack of knowledge' and the fact that 'knowledge is power.' etc.
But in a perverse way, the fact that most of us have no awareness of Information Day is probably a good thing. For one thing, the idea of using WDID to catalyse industry to come together wasn't a wasted idea: that idea now stands at the heart of MDG 8 which strives to create partnerships for change - building up sustainable relationships to fight systemic injustice and wealth imbalances. And increasingly, social media has been given huge responsibility to spread information about poverty and fight corruption. It's clear for example that more than ever before, the UN Millennium Campaign itself has become committed to using social media in order to mobilise the world's citizens to do advocacy.
But its invisibility is probably also due to the fact that the UN now has so many 'world days' which all add up to an escalation, rather than a diminishing of global concerns about issues of poverty, development, and justice. Whatever your passion there is bound to be a world day - just for you. And it will mean that for many people in journalism or social media, WDID will be the perfect excuse to do or say something about the fact that we still have 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty.
Even if you have never heard of WDID it’s still a quiet reminder that everyone has a chance to respond to injustice.
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