UNICEF recently announced their #DonateYourDinner campaign to help more than 26 million children in Eastern and Southern Africa who are facing a food crisis after one of the worst droughts in decades. UNICEF Ambassador Carrie Bickmore launched the campaign at the start of October on The Project .
The idea of the campaign is simple: people can share photos of their finished dinner plate on Instagram with the hashtag #DonateYourDinner, then donate the value of their dinner to Donateyourdinner.org. By tagging three friends as well, they can spread the word!
The money raised will go towards providing therapeutic food to children who are suffering from severe malnutrition.
#DonateYourDinner has already received a big response, with hundreds of Australians getting involved. We spoke to Carrie Bickmore about why she is passionate about the cause, and how she got involved with UNICEF.
Bickmore has been quite taken aback by the response to the campaign, and particularly the power that The Project has to share these important stories - UNICEF raised $100,000 within just one week of The Project announcing it.
"I have often felt like the problem was too big, like no little donation I made could solve the huge problems facing millions of children and families around the world," she said. "Then I realised it wasn’t my little donation alone that would help, it was all of our little donations together that could make a huge impact.
"I also saw how little can go a long way to change a life. A few dollars can provide a safe birthing kit for mums with sterile mats and scissors which would mean mums and their babies had a much better chance at life. A few dollars can vaccinate a child, and give them a better chance at staying healthy and staying alive."
For Carrie Bickmore, there was also a particularly personal reason why she connected with UNICEF and the work they do.
"I had a severe haemorrhage 10 days after the birth of my son Oliver and if had I not been able to head straight to a hospital and have an operation and blood transfusions, I would have died. Women in the developing world do not have this available to them.
"Maternal and neo-natal tetanus is one of the highest reasons for mortality in developing countries, and so when UNICEF asked me to be involved in a maternal and neo-natal program they were running, I jumped at the chance and have continued to support them since."
One of the greatest strengths of this campaign is that it allows people to imagine how a small donation (the value of their dinner) can make a big difference to the lives of children in the affected areas of the food crisis. Carrie Bickmore stresses that this can make the difference to saving a life.
"A few dollars can provide a safe birthing kit for mums with sterile mats and scissors which would mean mums and their babies had a much better chance at life. A few dollars can vaccinate a child, and give them a better chance at staying healthy and staying alive.
"We can all feel helpless sometimes, the problem feels too big, but I would rather feel helpful than helpless."
Watch the announcement on The Project here:
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire.