When was the last time you went days without food or water? Every day more than 800 children younger than five years old die from diarrhea and diseases caused by a lack of clean water and poor sanitation. Furthermore, 156 million children under five experience stunted growth that can cause permanent physical and mental damage. Without proper nutrients from food sources, brain function begins to suffer. Children are the most vulnerable population because their bodies need food to growth and development.
As college students, you can be involved in advocating for global health food and water supply issues. Three main ways college students can get involved and help fight this issue would include being an active voter, lobbying and joining nonprofit advocacy organizations. As seen by the increased turnout of young adults voting at the polls, the youth in our country to have a meaningful voice. It was reported that 31 percent of 18 to 29 year-olds voted at the polls in this year’s recent midterm elections, which is the highest youth turnout since 1994. Using your right to vote gives you the power to elect individuals into office that care about these issues.
Representatives that will not only fight for the health of citizens in our nation but the health of people around the world will be a step in the right direction towards eradicating this global issue.
You don’t need a fancy degree to lobby and speak to your state Senators and representatives. The only things you need to lobby are facts, experience and a story. While lobbying you have three main objects. The first objective is to state the facts about your issue. Your second objective would be to tell a compelling story that may draw an emotional connection to the issue. Your final objective would require you to state your “Ask”. You are asking your officials to do something in their power to fight this health issue.
You may not see an immediate change, but a short 15 minute conversation with your local representatives may be the incentive needed for them to begin thinking about their stance on the issue and how they can use their power to vote towards or against policies that affect global food and water supply issues.
Participating in nonprofit advocacy organizations that focus on the health interest that concern you, such as the North Carolina Food and Water Watch4, provides you with opportunities to be involved in your community. Many advocacy organizations participate in canvassing and creating community events. Canvassing allows you to go door to door and personally inform community members of health issues that affect their local and global community.
Community events are a bigger scale of advocacy where you have control over the setting of your event and how you plan to execute your message of advocacy for a particular health issue to a larger population. Community events expose more people to the health issue, thus creating a greater team of allies.
When people around the world come together, recognize a problem, and fight for change, the health of our global community is improved. Voting individuals into office that care about global food and water supply, lobbying on Capitol Hill and participating in local advocacy campaigns, such as the North Carolina Food and Water Watch, will be a step in the right direction towards ending the global food and water crisis.