Out of sight, out of mind?

This month I came across two very different but interesting campaigns that are making me thinking whether the saying out of sight out of mind is what we the so called first world breakfast every day. One is the fabulous exposition Programa Agua Solidaria (Water Solidarity Program) of Bomberos Unidos sin Fronteras that you can see in Puerta del Sol in Madrid till the end of April. Also caught my attention the campaings made by some NGOs to visualize children’s rights.

I've been considering if the topic was appropriate for this blog, since the topics here are related to crisis communications best practices, emergency information and social media in emergency management, and I decided I’d go ahead for one simple reason. Is there anything more urgent than preserve children’s right? I think not. What is more, children dying for lack of drinking water or due to a war (I’ll talk about Syria) should be our number one priority, since they caused as many deaths as hurricanes, tsunamis or some other disasters.

Somos agua

The Water Solidarity Program has been chosen the Best Project for Humanitarian Action in Latin America. It basically consists on the installation of water treatment plants in places where there is no drinking water. The aim is to fight against infant mortality in the Amazon. As simple as this, this program is saving the lives of very young children who die for diseases related to the ingestion of contaminated water, as William Vázquez Peña, from Iquitos, Peru, explained to me recently in Madrid.

It’s really a paradox that people living next to the Amazon, the biggest river in Peru, died for diseases related to not drinking water. Each year 6 million 600,000 children die from causes that can be prevented, according to Andres Conde, the General Director of Save the Children in Spain.
Bomberos Unidos sin Fronteras also participate in emergencies such as earthquakes, the Philippines tsunami and so on.

Out of sight… or in my own shoes?

Two more fantastic campaigns caught my attention this month and made me think on the media (traditional as well as social media) as the fifth power, so long you fit in their agenda (traditional media) and you are capable of making up a viral video. This has been the case only after leaving out images of those who were really suffering a tragedy to put in their place those who all of us can identify as my own son or daughter.

Save the children make us see Syria war with new eyes

This identification is the reason why we pay attention to the video made by Save the children with an English girl who lives a war like the Syria’s.  “People are not touched by the images of children in these situations and neither do they produce the desired effect”, explained Conde to Televisión Española (April, 14 min 27.40 in the news, in Spanish). And that’s why Save the children thought of changing the point of view.

The same applies to the video of a French girl obliged by their parents to marry an old man, even touhg it happens every day, miles away. (picture above)

So, we must be sick of reality…especially when it so far away or it’s not our concern, or so we think.

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