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Ending Inequality with Social Media: A Success Story from the Singapore Committee for UN Women

By Sam Milbrath | 4 months ago | Strategy | No Comments

Image via Project Inspire

If you had five minutes to make the world a better place for women, how would you do it? No one approach can be used to abolish violence against women and gender inequality, instead all of humankind must band together to fight on all fronts.

Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World is a global competition that empowers youth to submit a five-minute pitch on how they can impact the lives of women and girls across Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. Since 2011, each Project Inspire winner has been granted $25,000 to make their idea a reality by the Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard.

According to Amra Naidoo, Project Inspire Team Lead at the Singapore Committee for UN Women, Project Inspire depends on social media and an army of inspirational ambassadors to engage new audiences around the globe.

How social media supports UN women in the fight for equality

Before diving into the social media strategy behind Project Inspire, here’s some context into the mission it supports: UN Women is the United Nation’s entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women. Supporting this mission are 17 independent NGO National Committees, including the Singapore Committee. With a regional focus on Asia-Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East, the Singapore Committee for UN Women supports the greater mission through education and public awareness initiatives, such as Project Inspire.

Using social media to reach remote and global audiences

While Project Inspire entrusts ambassadors worldwide to help reach remote audiences and promote various initiatives, they also rely on their main social media channels to reach broad, global audiences.

For example, many remote communities in Africa are hard to reach, but connecting with them is essential. With 29 ambassadors on the ground representing 31 countries around the world, Project Inspire has a team of volunteers who better understand regional audiences and can help target and engage in new or difficult-to-reach markets. “Hootsuite is key to helping us source and recruit new ambassadors, while monitoring the social media activity of our current ambassadors that speak on behalf of our brand,” says Naidoo.

Social media not only helps the Singapore Committee for UN Women spread their message globally, but also recruit influential ambassadors who know more about specific audiences and then amplify their messages—in turn social media helps reach remote and global audiences to spread their mission.

“Filling our content calendar isn’t a challenge with so many external contributors, but managing the volume of conversations often is,” says Naidoo. “Hootsuite’s collaboration, monitoring, and scheduling functionalities allow us to oversee everything and stay organized as we expand.”

Empowering women by turning innovative ideas into reality

 Graph via  Project Inspire
Graph via Project Inspire. Click for full size.

Project Inspire plays an integral role in the economic empowerment of women. Since its launch, Project Inspire has received over 1,800 pitch proposals from over 70 countries. Not only have finalists raised nearly US$50,000 annually in funding, but their ideas have directly impacted 2,063 girls and women and 17,375 indirectly. By featuring the top 10 finalists’ pitches on video, Project Inspire’s YouTube channel has seen over 56,885 views—putting many finalists’ pitches in front of the right people.

One finalist, Love Mercy Foundation, didn’t win Project Inspire’s 2012 grand prize but instead was given a large grant by a member of the public who saw the video and wanted to help. With that funding, Cents for Seeds, a microenterprise agricultural program in Uganda, was founded—resulting in over 800 women in three villages receiving seeds that will provide food, profit, and more seeds to feed their families.

“We believe in social marketing campaigns like Project Inspire because it empowers youth to not only acknowledge global gender issues, but also come up with innovative solutions,” says Naidoo. Project Inspire’s social channels are a think tank for young ambassadors and change-makers to discuss challenges and solutions. By empowering these communities and rewarding those who uncover a solution, the committee has kept alive a proactive mindset that could one day eradicate gender inequality and violence for good.

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