Q: Where are you from?
A: Cascais, a beachy town located about an hour and a half from Lisbon, in Portugal.
Q: What university do you attend?
A: The London School of Economics
Q: What are you studying?
A: Politics and Economics
Q: What do you want to be when you "grow up"?
A: Good question; still undecided. Of one thing I am certain, though: whatever I end up doing, I wish to be able to contribute in some way to the betterment of humanity as a whole. Whether it be through lobbying, public consultancy or think-tank work or other more direct forms of community support, I wish to help propagate justice and equality in some way, shape or form. Plans for the near future include participating in the United Nations Volunteers programme and completing a Masters in International Public Policy.
Q: Why did you apply to be an online intern?
A: For the past couple of years, I have fully supported WFP’s cause through campus actions and when I saw the position advertised online it just felt like the right thing to do – I see the online internship programme as a fantastic and very progressive way to target young people and hopefully propagate WFP’s message across the world, involving young adults in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty as a whole.
Q: How do you think students can use social media for social change?
A: It is undeniable that social media has transformed socio-political activism to what it is today. Facebook, Twitter and websites of the like have forever altered the way in which groups coordinate in organising mass action. Presently, people from all four corners of the globe are merely a click away from connecting with each other and students with access to the internet can – and definitely should - take advantage of this. How so? Find an issue you feel passionate about – hunger, war, right to education, access to sanitation, the environment, you name it - and let your friends know about it. Is there an interesting talk happening in town addressing your issue of concern? Invite your friends. Are you aware of a volunteering opportunity fellow students may be interested in partaking? Link them to it. Is a film screening of relevance going to take place in your campus sometime soon? Post it on people’s walls. In what respects promulgating change of such kind via social media, the only limit is your imagination.
Q: Why are you intersted in WFP and the work we do around the world?
A: Hunger is at the core of all humanitarian issues; published data has consistently shown that ‘hungry populations’ are significantly more likely to experience marked increases in political and social instability, as well as pronounced falls in revenue in the agricultural sector, all of which contribute negatively to countries’ macroeconomic growth. The WFP provides effective food aid to over 90 million people a year, in an attempt to eradicate hunger and poverty worldwide. In my opinion, the World Food Programme differentiates itself from other organisations of the sort in the sense that it aims to deliver long-term solutions to long-standing issues, rather than mere ‘temporary fixes’ which may only escalate a country’s dependence on foreign aid. I feel that the WFP’s school meals programme and the wefeedback initiative in particular are fantastic projects students from all ages and backgrounds can get involved in in a multitude of ways, whether it be through direct action or various forms of social media.
Follow Joana on Twitter @joanasantos91 and see how she uses her social network for social change.