ERADICATION of poverty starts in the mind, said music sensation D’banj during a launch for the You Choose campaign in Johannesburg.
The campaign, initiated by the organisation ONE, is set to give the poor an opportunity to influence the next phase for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
ONE will be facilitating a free SMS service where ordinary Africans can send what they feel should be top priority for MDGs.
The MDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2000 after 189 delegates from different countries came together to discuss solutions to global poverty, disease, health and education.
D’Banj said Africans should regain their self-respect by embracing the positive side of the continent.
He told the audience he was a living testimony of how being proactive can make a difference.
“In Nigeria 10 years ago if you would have said you were a musician people laughed at you but now we are bigger than oil.”
D’Banj added that he was proud to be part of an initiative which will see Africans come together. Other public figures behind the drive include Benny McCarthy, Hip Hop Pantsula (HHP), Lira and Ghanaian footballer Asamoah Gyan.
D’Banj was joined on the panel by director of the Economic Justice Network Rev Malcom Damon and ONE deputy director Nachilana Nkombo.
Nkombo said the campaign would help push Africa’s voices to the fore and harness transparency on the continent.
“We are launching You Choose with the hope that African voices will take centre-stage,” said Nkombo.
She said the campaign was taking advantage of the mobile phone explosion on the continent to give marginalised communities a voice. Nkombo said ONE would compile the suggestions sent by people, including the most prominent issues , to influence the MDG.
Rev Damon said this was an opportunity to address challenges surrounding food insecurity and education. United Nations Regional Director Reginald Chima said he was impressed to see the determination for change coming from young people.