This past Saturday, September 27th, 60,000 people gathered on the Great Lawn of Central Park for the third annual Global Citizen Festival. This concert was created by the Global Poverty Project in order to gain awareness and take steps to end worldwide poverty. In doing so, it gathered some of the biggest-named celebrities around.
Jay Z, Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, No Doubt, and Fun headlined, keeping the crowd on its feet for six hours. Stars such as Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde, and Ryan Reynolds spoke about issues and concerns that we are facing on a global level. But most importantly, international leaders from India, Sweden, and the United Kingdom pledged their country’s support and commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030.
The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, surprised the crowd when he announced that his country will have toilets for everyone in his country by 2019. This will end open defection, which is the cause of many life-threatening diseases that affect young children. According to the GPP nearly 500,000 children die each year from diarrhea. India is just one of many countries that are taking steps towards improving sanitation.
When compared with the hundreds of other non-profit organizations that are all working towards finding solutions to today’s largest problems, The GPP doesn’t seem to stand out. However, unlike many of its competitors, it does not rely on advertisements or billboards with horrifying statistics to gather its enormous crowd. Instead, it relies on the mass amount of people who believe in the common cause. In order to win tickets for the concert, people had to go online and share facts and information about the Global Poverty Project. Sending emails, tweeting, or posting on Facebook about topics like life-saving vaccinations, education, and sanitation earned you points and, eventually, tickets. Although some critics wonder if the word-of-mouth approach was enough, the 60,000 people at Central Park would think otherwise.