SEATTLE, Washington — A common misconception towards foreign aid is that some countries are too corrupt to receive poverty assistance. While corruption is real, so are the many programs and foundations created to address it. Heading a number of these organizations are recognizable actors and actresses. Some of the celebrities taking action against global corruption include George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt.
How does corruption contribute to poverty?
Corruption often entails a level of control over a group or groups of people. People living in poverty are amongst those most susceptible to suffering the effects of corruption. For example, a corrupt government may raise the costs of life necessities, such as food and medical services. They may also cut off groups from essential resources altogether, especially for economic control and advantages.
What are celebrities doing?
Originally, celebrities George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and the late Jerry Weintraub created the nonprofit organization Not On Our Watch (NOOW) as a stand-alone entity. In short, the purpose of NOOW was to support and advocate for vulnerable groups who were being affected by international conflicts.
They accomplished this through a two-part process.
- Researching forgotten international crises.
- Mobilizing people to inform international governments of research findings as an effort to inform policies.
In 2016, NOOW teamed up with the Enough Project to help found what is now called The Sentry, subsequently merging with The Sentry as one entity. The research articles NOOW used for their advocacy efforts are still available on their archived website.
George Clooney has shown significant dedication to eradicating global poverty by addressing corruption through the numerous organizations he has co-founded. A partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, The Sentry follows in the investigative footsteps of NOOW with a focus on dirty money connected to African war profiteers. Through research and strategic policy teams, The Sentry seeks to expose corrupt economic systems. By doing so, the focus in these regions can shift to support “peace, human rights and good governance.”
Being able to identify, dismantle and redirect resources from corrupt groups that have economic and political control over regions is crucial in eradicating poverty in those areas. The Sentry investigates issues and they make it easy to take action through their partnership with the Enough Project. Using their online action center, the Enough Project allows users to contact representatives about various global corruption issues that might otherwise stay under the radar.
How can addressing corruption help eradicate poverty?
An example of recent research conducted by The Sentry’s investigative journalists is how African kleptocrats have been using African real estate to launder dirty money. There have been numerous risk assessment surveys that have highlighted real estate as a high money laundering threat. Even so, African countries have not been able to take action towards bettering anti-money laundering standards. Bringing awareness to this corruption could result in standards that would force kleptocrats to relinquish the land they unlawfully obtained. As a result, citizens would have the opportunity to use the land instead.
Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa, says tackling issues surrounding land governance is essential to fostering economic growth, subsequently leading to decreases in poverty and increases in opportunity. With Africa’s agriculture sector being their most vital economic activity, more land means more farming. As a result, this means more jobs and less poverty.
This is just one example of how eliminating corruption can consequently eliminate poverty. When it comes to corruption, one of the most crucial steps in removing it is to bring attention to it. Celebrities taking action by using their platforms to create organizations and mobilize fans gets the world one step closer to eradicating global poverty.
– Sage Ahrens-Nichols
Photo: Wikimedia Commons