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23 million people take a stand against poverty
17 October 2006

Excited volunteers make a huge stand against poverty at a successful stand up event at Monash University, South Africa, held 15-16 October 2006. (Millennium Campaign)Excited volunteers make a huge stand against poverty at a successful stand up event at Monash University, South Africa, held 15-16 October 2006. (Millennium Campaign)
More than 23 million people across the globe have set a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of people to literally “Stand Up” against poverty. And the numbers are still coming in.

The World Record number was announced today (17 October), on the International Day for Poverty Eradication, at events held at the United Nations in New York, London, Johannesburg, Milan and Nairobi following official confirmation from Guinness World Records.  Here are some highlights of the Stand Up events from around the world:

United Arab Emirates

An incredible 18,457 people participated in Stand Up events across the United Arab Emirates – a huge figure for a country with an entire population of just 3.5 million. The events were launched live on ARN National radio network.

Supporters of the campaign gathered at the open public beach for a stand up event at the foot of the iconic Burj Al Arab Hotel – reputed to be the tallest hotel in the world. The American University of Dubai also hosted a Stand Up event.

There were also events planned in the Qusais area in Dubai where people of more than 80 nationalities will gather dressed in their native clothing to symbolize the Emirates and the World uniting against poverty.

Scotland

People in Scotland joined campaigners across the globe to "Stand Up Against Poverty". Glasgow's Lord Provost and the founding chair of the GCAP, Kumi Naidoo, took part in the event at Kelvingrove Art Gallery. Kumi Naidoo gave his support to poverty campaigners in Scotland, who are the newest members of the GCAP coalition –formed by groups who led last year's Make Poverty History drive.

Eilidh Whiteford, chair of GCAP Scotland, said: "It is important that Scots keep the momentum going that was built up around the G8 at Gleneagles in 2005. Now, as we look to next year's G8 in Germany it is vital to remind world leaders of their promises and demand an end to global poverty.

United Kingdom

St Thomas' School in Garstang, UK, saw 170 pupils and teachers stand up against poverty. There was a live link with a school in New Koforidua in Ghana who had a similar amount of school children standing.

The staff and students of Winmarleigh CE Primary School Stand Up Against Poverty.

Senegal

Around 1,200 youths, together with artists and members of CONGAD, gathered in an inspiring ceremony in the national Daniel Sorano Theatre. The ceremony marked a culmination of months of a public awareness raising campaign in Senegal.

The scouts led national songs, while artists such as Maxime Dreads had all the children and teenagers on their feet dancing and singing. Messages of “ Stand Up Against Poverty, Together for social justice”,  “Spend debt cancellation on education and health” were displayed around theatre.

GCAP coordinator, Momare Talla Kane, reminded the government of its commitments to ensure the MDGs are achieved, and also reminded rich countries of their financing commitments.

Everyone in the theatre stood up to hear Founkarou Tamba, a young female member of GCAP Senegal read a moving Stand Up declaration for Senegal and the world.  Awa Fall, Minister of Institutional Relations, threw down the gauntlet and responded with a reaffirmation of her governments’ commitment to not just poverty reduction, but poverty eradication in Senegal.

Later that day, CONGAD shared a Stand Up Ceremony in a stadium with 4000 members of the Diwane Islamic movement. 

Liberia

More than 1,500 people from more than 30 organizations, schools, churches, mosques as well as soccer players, culture groups, taxi drivers, well-wishers and the media participated in Stand-Up events in Liberia. Events kicked off with a multitude of activities including a parade, soccer match, human chains, cultural performances and a closing parade. The stand-up pledge was read out and campaigners took the streets of Monrovia shouting, waving handkerchiefs, banners, dancing and proudly using the symbol of the campaign-the White band.

Togo

More than 2,000 people stood up against poverty at Lome Ibis beach.


Philippines

Around 10,000 people ‘stood up’ and marched against poverty to assert that ‘36 Pesos is Not Enough’ for a Filipino to live on in a day; this amount set by the government is even lower than the international extreme poverty threshold of US$1.

Nearly 10,000 Filipinos led by GCAP-Philippines stood up and marched against poverty.

More than 5,000 Filipinos also stood up against poverty and marched around the Memorial Circle in Quezon City, Manila, while Assalam Bangsamoro People’s Association led 4,300 Muslim Filipinos in the morning march and stand up activity in Marawi City.
 
“Ordinary Filipinos came out today to show policymakers and the world that ordinary citizens are active players in the battle against poverty,” said Marivic Raquiza, National Coordinator of GCAP-Philippines.

Citizens groups under GCAP and Social Watch have launched a Poverty Red Alert campaign where they raised the alarm on the plight of the more than 4.1 million Filipinos who live in a zone where “poverty kills”.

Nepal

More than 100 people assembled at the UN office in Kathmandu to ‘stand up’, literally, while UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Matthew Kahane, read a pledge against poverty.

On Tuesday, (October 17) the UN Development Programme in Nepal and the National Planning Commission are presenting a new assessment detailing what it will take for Nepal to reach the MDGs by 2015.

Indonesia

Youths sung religious songs at Al-Azhar mosque in South Jakarta as part of the stand-up events in Indonesia. The event was attended by hundreds of Muslims.

Mexico

Several hundred thousand people stood up against poverty at football matches lead by nine football Clubs. The Millennium Development Goals were also discussed at the games.

United States of America

Thousands gathered in New York City’s Times Square on Sunday night to “Stand Up” with the New Year’s Eve crystal ball.  “We stand here proudly; we cannot stay seated when tens of thousands of people die of poverty every day,” the crowd recited as the Times Square ball made its first-ever appearance outside of New Year’s Eve.

The audience cried out a similar message by the end of the night as they repeated a statement prepared by the UN Millennium Campaign.

Micah Challenge, an evangelical anti-poverty group, had also organised dozens of events on ‘Micah Sunday’ – an annual effort to mobilize churches and Christians against poverty through unified actions.

Slovakia

The Slovak and Austrian GCAP coalitions convened the “World without Poverty” Day. A ship from Vienna taped up with white band brought the representative of the Austrian Platform to Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia).

People marched against poverty through the city centre, wrapping monuments with white bands and while accompanied by the sounds of the Bracatuda Samba Orchestra. The march was followed by event presenting GCAP and MDGs to a wider public. This was followed by a variety of activities including dance performances and concerts.

Workers worldwide joined the Stand Up action:

The global trade union movement participated in the stand up action to draw attention to the trade union values - economic and social justice - that underpin the call for more and better aid, trade justice and cancelling debt. Some people took part from their workplaces while others joined activities planned in their local area.

ICFTU General Secretary, Guy Ryder, said: "Ditching the debt of the world's poorest countries, increasing aid and making the trade system fairer is crucial to ending world poverty. In order for these changes to make a lasting difference, people across the world must be able to get decent, well-paid and safe work to get themselves out of poverty."