Welcome to March! It’s a new month and that means we have a new online intern tapping into her networks to change the world. Meet Mariana from Greece. She’s excited to see how together we can use social media to “win the war on hunger and not just the battle.”
1) What would you like to be when you “grow up”?
My background in International Relations has profoundly shaped the interest I take in the field of humanitarianism. Each year, the populations of dozens of countries throughout the world are trapped in violent civil unrest. Add to this droughts, floods and skyrocketing food prices, and you have millions of children, women and men fighting for survival each day.
It is my hope that I will be able to continue my studies and do a Master’s in Humanitarian Action after I complete my Bachelor’s degree. My desire is to pursue a career either in the NGO or the IGO sector that will in turn enable me to work and focus on specific cases in specific areas.
2) Why did you apply to be an online intern?
In October last year I was fortunate enough to participate in the Hunger and Agriculture Griot course sponsored by ONE and the World Food Programme. In addition to connecting with likeminded people from all over the world, during the course I gained valuable insight into the issue of hunger, improved greatly my advocacy skills, and engaged in activism in many different ways.
After I completed the course, I was ready to once again put into practice everything I had learned. An online internship with the largest humanitarian aid organization fighting hunger worldwide sounded like the perfect opportunity.
3) How do you think students can use social media for social change?
Social change requires one very important and indispensable ingredient – people. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without the collective efforts of individuals working together to bring about change. Regardless of the way in which activism takes place – a protest, a fundraising event, or another type of advocacy campaign -- outcome is always very positively related to outreach. That is why using social media to spread the word and advance your cause is no longer the exception, but the rule.
As social networks are becoming very useful tools of advocacy, students can use them to connect with likeminded individuals, raise awareness of pressing issues, and, most importantly, mobilize others to take action. With the existence of such a valuable resource at hand, anyone can make a difference.
4) How did you learn about WFP? Why are you interested in our work?
As a student of International Relations, I remember doing a research project on this specific UN agency at the end of my second semester. Since the WFP is the most successful organization on the frontlines of hunger, it is only natural that I would take interest in its efforts to ease human suffering. In a world where there is enough food for everyone, and thousands of people are dying every day in wars and crises not of their making, the work of programs like the WFP is crucial. Not only does it provide life-saving emergency assistance, but it also focuses on long-term development – two areas which need to be addressed simultaneously in order to achieve maximum results.
5) What are your hopes for the future?
My hope is that we will finally do something to win the war on hunger and not just the battle. The future depends on what we do today. Instead of hoping for a brighter tomorrow, I would like to hope for a brighter today in which the steps necessary to build a better world are finally being taken.