The ALS ice bucket challenge was meant to be a simple and fun way of raising awareness for a debilitating and terminal illness. Ever since the campaign started, a lot of money and awareness has been raised for Lou Gehrig’s disease. The ALS research center at Johns Hopkins University has reported over 80% increase in its endowments. We all hope to hear of a cure for this debilitating and terminal illness soon.
The purpose of the challenge was to raise awareness and MONEY for ALS research. That’s exactly what the challenge has accomplished. Yes, a lot of people have used the challenge as nothing but a popularity stunt, but it does not withhold the fact a lot more people know about ALS now than they did a month ago.
Back in our neck of the woods, things are completely different. All over Instagram, countless of Ghanaian celebrities have uploaded pictures of videos of themselves, pouring buckets of ice cold water on themselves. A lot of these local champions wear weaves. I always thought the number rule for wearing weave was: Never get it wet! I guess that’s beside the point. After pouring ice cold water on themselves, these “celebrities” claim they plan on donating money to a local NGO in Ghana because there is NO ALS society in Ghana-as if we did not know that already. As much as I’d like to congratulate them for being abreast with current affairs and helping fight a good cause, I cannot pretend. How many of these local champions support a local charity?
Our love of everything Western is shameful and crippling. Joselyn Dumas took to twitter to bash her fellow stars for their “ignorance.” A lot of people were proud of her. These same people who did not agree with Ama K Abebrese’s skin bleaching campaign, but who am I to judge?!
Joselyn’s campaign, although a good start, is an impractical solution to a serious problem. Cholera is caused by filth! Everywhere you look, our gutters are filled with garbage and feces. Instead of starting a campaign where individuals post pictures of themselves with their mouths covered, and the inscription, “I’d rather starve than eat contaminated food.” How about I suggest something practical? CLEAN THE FILTH AROUND YOU.
You want to end cholera? Get out of the studios. Get away from your smart phones and pick up a broom! Organize a community cleaning campaign. Get rid of the feces and filth. #CleanUpThisMess. That’s the most practical solution to the cholera outbreak.
From: Nana Esi Takyiwaa Cudjoe
Personally, I will like to commend Joselyn Dumas for the social media buzz but from a conversation I had with an excellent mind, the question was and still remains; how is Joselyn Dumas’ cholera campaign going to have any practical impact just as the above reader noted.
The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) campaign had a huge social media buzz but that was not very important to the campaigners, they wanted to raise money to help with drug testing and for other ALS things, these are practical things that will go a long way to help ALS patients and help with finding a cure. They achieved this by raising more funds in less than 2 months than they raised in the entire 2013…
My issue is, the many of us on social media have had at least basic education and therefore, we know much about cholera—the causes, symptoms and prevention. Cholera is taught at basic school levels, not like ALS where such awareness was somewhat new to even some of us with higher education.
What I am trying to point out is that, the actual people who need the Cholera awareness and education are not on social media, they are those on our streets, the uneducated mothers living in filth and in villages. I am not sure these people have access to internet, let alone twitter or facebook accounts.
The practicality of this campaign therefore rests on going to the grass root and not necessarily the celebrity or seemingly interesting social media buzz. You can use social media to raise funds as the ALS perfectly did, but I do not see the instrument being used in such a way for the cholera campaign.
I just hope more attention will be given to the issues that will fetch the real needed impact and help bring cholera in some of our poorest communities under control. Also, let’s pray the campaign has some sort of longevity—and not take the cloak of campaigns like #bringbackourgirls.