A global platform for
foreign aid investment
 

In mid 2012, myself and longtime collaborator Paul Calway submitted a two page proposal to the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation outlining one very bold idea  - to shift the financial responsibility of foreign aid from governments to countries as a whole, calling on celebrities, businesses and individuals to contribute 0.7% of their income to the fight against extreme poverty.

The Gates Foundation saw potential in the idea and awarded us $100,000 of seed funding in late 2012 through the Cannes Chimera initiative.

We quickly built a team, refined the idea and pitched it to the UN.  After many months of discussions, the Secretary General gave the go ahead and we began work on what was to be the biggest communications platform in the UN’s history.

 

The Give 0.7% team at the UN's headquarters in New York

We were at the helm of a global, cross sector campaign with UN backing and Gates funding. It all seemed too good to be true, and sadly it was. Towards the end of 2014, things slowly started to unravel as a myriad of obstacles began to surface. First and foremost, there were huge internal disagreements within the UN about the future of the 0.7% figure itself. Secondly, there were conflicting opinions around the tonality of our campaign. Although many senior people within the UN championed our bold and humourous approach, there were some who felt it was too lighthearted and simplistic for an organisation such as the UN.

In true UN style, a couple of key decision makers vetoed the campaign, which prompted them to pull their involvement just four days before our planned global launch. It was a painful blow. Two and a half years of hard work and $100,000 of funding were laid to waste.

After much thought we decided to launch the platform without UN affiliation, but with no major media backers or aid agencies to add credibility, sadly the campaign failed to gather steam.

Role: Grant Winner & Creative Director (with Paul Calway)
With: Amanda Clelland & Future Buro