In the age of social media, celebrities and influencers can have some major pull by simply tweeting or sharing a video to their audiences. One group of social media stars is taking full advantage of their celebrity and turning their attention to the famine in Somalia.
The “Love Army for Somalia” campaign started when Vine and Snapchat star Jérôme Jarre posted a video on Twitter to tell the story of a volunteer in Somalia who saw a 6-year-old girl die from dehydration. Jarre called out mainstream media for the lack of coverage of the humanitarian crisis and urged his followers to reach out to Turkish Airlines with #TurkishAirlinesHelpSomalia to allow him and other social media influencers to fill the flight with food.
The campaign went viral and has even caught the attention of Ben Stiller, who allowed Jarre to use the Stiller Foundation to collect and manage donations.
As of Wednesday, March 22, the campaign has raised more than $2 million on its GoFundMe page in only five days.
Initially, the mission aimed to fill a cargo flight with 60 tons of food including rice, vegetable cooking oil, nutritional biscuits, flour, sugar, and porridge, but organizers have recently altered the logistical plan. According to Jarre, sending tons of products could crash local market prices and have a negative impact on small businesses in Somalia, so the group plans to enlist small non-governmental organizations to buy food in the country.
Jarre also announced that since they were able to work with Turkish Airlines to obtain a flight, they would use the space to fly out Plumpy'Nut, a “therapeutic food” specifically developed for the treatment of malnourished children by the French company Nutriset.
In addition to supplying food, half of the funds raised will be dedicated to providing clean drinking water to the people of Somalia by using water trucks on the ground for short-term relief.
The campaign is still raising funds to fight the famine and will continue to do so through March 27.
— JÉRÔME JARRE (@jeromejarre) March 15, 2017