Young people’s awareness of poverty in Africa: Getting off the starting block! Deano Bentley and Leanne Gamble Why we wanted to do this research We feel really strongly about the situation in Africa We had a hypothesis that most young people of our age don’t have a clue about what is really going on in Africa Especially about the situation with third world debt It was coming up to Comic Relief time so we thought the timing was very appropriate Our research plan We wanted to find out whether our hypothesis was right We did a focus group interview and then 5 further individual interviews with people aged between 15 and 18 from our youth centre. We got data from 11 people altogether This was only a small study but we felt that a youth group in a youth centre is very representative of average young people so a good place to test our theory There were 3 parts to our research method Interviews Part One We asked some basic questions first to find out views and opinions: e.g. What do you think about Comic Relief? Do you know what it’s all about? We have Comic Relief every 2 years – what do you think about this? What this told us…. From these first questions we found out that: Young people of our age knew ‘a bit’ about poverty in Africa BUT they knew very little about the extent of this Or the mass of the debt! Interviews Part Two Then we paused the interviews and explained to them what third world debt was and read to them some facts we had searched on the Internet such as: Africa pays £7,790,386,663 per year in debt repayments!! 32 of the most debt-distressed countries in the world are in Africa Aids is devastating the country but there is no money for medical help How it all started In the 1970s America raised the price of oil and poorer countries couldn’t pay the higher prices So, countries like America and Europe lent them money to buy the oil they needed to develop their countries Africa is still struggling to pay the interest from these loans from 30 years ago!!! Comic Relief Despite everybody’s efforts at Comic Relief every other year and the large amounts of money raised – it is a drop in the ocean compared to over 7 billion debt repayment that is due ! year on year !!! Interviews Part Three Once they had this new information we asked them a new set of questions: What do you think about poverty in africa now? What do you think young people can do about this? Do you think most young people of your age understand about african debt? Do you think banks should wipe out these debts? Do you think governments should intervene? Would you be prepared to pay an extra 3p on a bar of chocolate if you knew that a fair price had been paid for the african cocoa beans? What this told us When young people were given the information – their views changed about poverty in Africa … there was Surprise: ‘I’d no idea the debt was so big’ Shock: ‘young people just think it’s a small problem that will get sorted quick, like getting them water, I don’t think they understand about the debt’ Anger: ‘we’re told about the aids problem in Africa so why aren’t we told about this debt thing’ Distress: ‘I don’t think young people realise how bad the debt is’ THEY WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS AND COMIC RELIEF !!! WASN’T ENOUGH!! Measuring feelings We measured this feeling by asking them how far they agreed with these 2 statements on a scale of 0-10: ‘All African debt should be wiped out’ Banks should not be able to charge interest on the loans Young people’s views about African debt Strength of opinion 100 80 % All African debt should be wiped out 60 40 20 0 0 2 4 6 8 0=disagree … 10=agree 10 Banks should not be allowed to charge interest Young people really want to help Would you pay an extra 3p on a bar of chocolate for African cocoa beans? 100 80 Would you pay an extra 3p on a bar of chocolate for African cocoa beans? 60 % 40 20 0 Yes No Running the race This research has got us started on the race It has helped us learn more about the real situation in Africa It has helped us show other young people about the real situation in Africa Even though young people don’t have a vote they still want to have some influence over what the Government does about Africa. Young people want the Government to intervene Do you think the Government should do more to wipe out third world debt? 100 80 Do you think the Government should do more to wipe out third world debt? 60 % 40 20 0 Yes No Thanks for… Listening Showing an interest AND !!! We hope you’ll join the race too!!!