What thoughts come to your mind when you see that word? AIDS…Orphans…Poverty? Those were the images that used to come to my mind. The pictures we normally see in mass media portray a negative image of Africa. Mocha Club is trying to change that.
Mocha Club is a nonprofit organization that works to raise and deliver aid to Africa. It supports six different projects: child mothers, education, HIV/AIDS, job creation, Sudan regrowth and orphan care. On December 1, 2008, Mocha Club launched the “I Need Africa” campaign. The goal is to change the public’s view of the continent by showing the joy the African people have—through a public relations campaign.
The interesting thing is how Mocha Club did it. A few weeks prior to the campaign, Mocha Club members were asked to blog about what Africa meant to them. The goal was to start a new conversation using social media. Barrett Ward, Mocha Club director, started the conversation. He said, “It’s true, there are great tragedies playing out in Africa every day, suffering that’s unimaginable. But the truth is, in Africa I find hearts full of victory. I’m not saying Africa does not need our efforts. But for me, I’ve come to understand that I need Africa more than Africa needs me. It’s Africa that has taught me that possessions in my hands will never be as valuable as peace in my heart.” Almost 100 people blogged about the campaign before it started. On Dec. 1, a shirt was put on sale to promote the campaign and raise money.
Since the start of the campaign, more than 1,000 people have purchased the shirt and $50,000 has been raised.
Africa. What do you see now?
– Melinda Williams