Did you know …
- At the end of 2009, there were 43.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide – the highest number since the mid-1990s.
- When it comes to the composition of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers, 41% were children below 18 years of age at the end of 2009 and as many as 11% were under age 5.
- During 2009, 47& of all refugees and asylum-seekers were women and girls.
Shocking numbers, right? That’s why when I was asked to support the Blue Key campaign – social media-driven effort to raise funds and awareness about the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — I jumped at the chance. Not only are they using social media to spread the word about the international refugee crisis, but more specifically, they’re trying to get 6,000 people to purchase a $5 Blue Key (symbolizing the key to a home that refugees may never hold) by June 20, World Refugee Day.
On Monday, they’re hosting a #BlueKey tweetathon to raise awareness about refugees and the Blue Key campaign. (Tweetathon = telethon on Twitter!) You can follow the hashtag from 9a – 9p ET, but if you’ve only got an hour or so to tune in, I’d highly recommend the 1-2p hour, when Roya Hosseini, wife of best-selling author of “The Kite Runner” Khaled Hosseini (who is also a Goodwill envoy for the UNHCR Refugee Program), will be joining the chat. She’ll be talking about refugee issues and why this campaign is so important.
HOW TO: Participate in the #BlueKey Tweetathon
Joining in the tweetathon is sort of like participating in a Twitter chat. Follow the hashtag and jump in to ask questions, share your stories and participate in the dialogue.
TOOLS: Make sure you’re following @UNRefugeeAgency on Twitter. If you use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, create a search column to track tweets using the #bluekey hashtag. My took of choice is Tweetgrid. I set up a column for the hashtag, a column for the host and a column for my own Twitter name. (That way, I won’t miss any at replies or tweets directed at me.)
CONVERSATION: Typically, Twitter chats occur for an hour or two. Since the tweetathon is a day-long event, you should feel free to jump in and out of conversations. Got a couple minutes between meetings? Check out the hashtag to see who’s saying what and add your two cents. Taking a lunch or coffee break? Spend a few minutes catching up on the conversation and see how you can add to the dialogue.
OUTCOMES: Of course, the main goal is to educate people about the refugee crisis and encourage them to purchase a $5 Blue Key; however, your participation will lead to some secondary benefits, such as an opportunity to do some good while “meeting” and connecting with people from various industries. Talk about a great opportunity to do some good, get educated about a serious issue and network with a new group of people!
You can “RSVP” for the event with this Twtvite or on this Facebook event. Please, please share this information with whomever you think would be interested in learning about the Blue Key campaign and Monday’s tweetathon.
Learn More about the Refugee Crisis
These emotional stories will touch you — and hopefully convince you to support the Blue Key Campaign.
- A gripping story about parents who had to give up a child
- Stories and experiences shared by Andrew Purvis, a UNHCR staffer in the field
- A virtual book with a ton of refugee stories (and letters from celebrities to these refugees)
See you Monday for the tweetathon!
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