BRIGHTON, United Kingdom — ActionAid is an international organization whose mission is to support women and girls around the globe who are poverty-stricken. The charity works in 35 countries across Africa, South America and Asia. ActionAid’s work tackles poverty relating to gender inequality in different ways. For example, the organization promotes female education by running girls’ clubs and distributing period products so girls do not have to miss school because they are menstruating. It also promotes female health by campaigning to put an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. ActionAid partners with many celebrities who share their goal of alleviating the difficulties that women living in poverty face. Here are five celebrities who are official ActionAid Ambassadors.
Phoebe Dynevor, actress and star of the hit historical romance series, Bridgeton, became an ActionAid Ambassador in 2021. The charity stated that Dynevor has been “supporting ActionAid since she was a child” and has been a “long-term supporter and strong advocate for women’s rights.” Dynevor’s initial work with the charity involved supporting their “She is the answer” fundraising campaign, which aimed to help women in Cambodia cope with a climate disaster caused by flooding and rising sea levels.
Dynevor later promoted ActionAid’s campaign “Let Her Learn” on her social media. The goal of the campaign was to raise money for ActionAid, which would enable it to continue doing its work to keep girls in school. Dynevor gave ActionAid control of her Instagram account for 24 hours and allowed it to share stories from girls who had benefited from ActionAid’s education centers in Kenya. She also spoke to the girls directly about their experiences via video call.
Actress Emma Thompson became an ActionAid ambassador in 2001. In the same year, she visited Uganda to witness the vital work that ActionAid carries out to support AIDS victims and their families. Over the last 22 years, Thompson has visited many of the nations that ActionAid works in, including Ethiopia, Mozambique and Liberia to oversee and promote the charity’s work in providing health care to those affected by AIDS.
In 2020, Thompson created a video urging the public to support ActionAid’s Christmas appeal by donating to the charity. The donations aimed to support victims of domestic violence in Uganda, as rates of domestic violence had skyrocketed that year. On her role as one of many ActionAid Ambassadors, Thompson stated: “Frankly, working with ActionAid has been one of the most inspiring, thrilling gifts of my life.”
Alesha Dixon, singer and former judge of Britain’s Got Talent joined ActionAid in 2016. Her advocacy with the charity began when she participated in the #BrutalCut campaign, a video campaign aimed to raise public awareness of the dangers of FGM. ActionAid enlisted Dixon and other celebrities to film videos of themselves doing day-to-day activities.
The campaign was a huge success and helped ActionAid raise £2.6 million to fund community centers and create anti-violence policies to support women and girls affected by FGM in Kenya.
Dixon also traveled to Ghana in 2017 to support the charity’s campaign to stop child marriage. Whilst there, she met several girls who had been kidnapped and forced into marriage but managed to escape. Dixon wrote about her experiences for ActionAid to shed light on the issue and encourage the public to support the charity in its efforts to bring an end to child marriage.
Actor and comedian Hugh Dennis has supported ActionAid for a long time. His work with the charity began when he sponsored children from Kenya and Myanmar. In 2014, Dennis traveled to Myanmar with ActionAid to meet Lae Yi Soe, one of the girls he sponsored. On his trip, he visited her at school and he met with local ActionAid Fellows who are responsible for planning the use of ActionAid funding to best serve their communities. Dennis also wrote about his experiences for ActionAid to encourage other people to consider sponsoring children.
Hugh Dennis is one of several ActionAid Ambassadors to raise money for the charity by taking part in a sponsored sporting event. In 2016, he completed the “Ride London” cycling race, which involved cycling 100 miles on closed roads in the city of London. The money raised through donations has been pivotal to funding ActionAid’s life-changing work.
Jodie Whittaker, the actress best known for portraying the first female Doctor Who has been an ambassador for ActionAid since 2013. Like Hugh Dennis, Whittaker’s work with ActionAid began with child sponsorship. She used her public platforms to educate the public on how sponsorship helps children and encouraged them to sponsor children themselves. She also personally sponsors children in Afghanistan.
Whittaker has since focused her advocacy on helping ActionAid end violence against women and girls. She is a figurehead of the organization’s “Safe Cities For Women” campaign. This campaign helps women in 20 different nations to reach out to governments and influential figures and encourage them to make streets safer for women through legislation and public safety initiatives. Whittaker has also attended ActionAid’s fashion show to raise money for survivors of street violence and harassment.
To quote ActionAid, “There is no country in the world where women and girls as a group are not disadvantaged in relation to men and boys.” By becoming ActionAid Ambassadors, these celebrities are challenging global gender inequality and improving the lives of women and girls living in poverty.
– Mohsina Alam