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Sierra Leone: Is Ami Musa the Saddest Pinterest Page in the World?

One blog, Lovelyish, considers a Pinterest campaign by UNICEF UK to raise awareness about children living in poverty in Africa “the saddest Pinterest page in the world.” The campaign involves a 13-year-old girl Ami Musa from Kenema District, Sierra Leone.

Ami Musa

Pinterest profile, Ami Musa, from Sierra Leone.

Pinterest is an online pinboard website that allows users to create, manage and share image collections of events, humor, interests, etc. Users can re-pin or like images.

Ami Musa's board titled “Really Want These” has images of basic needs that she wants with the message:

This is what 13-year-olds like Ami from Sierra Leone really want. Repin to remind people of what the world’s poorest children dream of. www.unicef.org.uk…

The images show that what she really wants are basic necessities such as clean water, food, school supplies and clothing.

Each pin is linked to a donation page that says:

Children like Ami need basics that many of us take for granted: food, education, healthcare, a clean supply of water.
Your donation can help us provide these and other essentials. Thank you.

Lovelyish says that the campaign reminds people of what poor children dream of:

Pinterest shoes

Ami Musa needs shoes. Image source: Ami Musa's Pinterest page.

While many of us pin hairstyles that we like, tips for making our smaller bathroom look larger and ways to make a recipe better, Ami Musa's board, titled “Really want these.” reminds people of what the world's poorest children dream of: food, clean water, basic clothing and the opportunity to learn.

I'm not going to lie, when I found this board and clicked back to my homepage, which mainly consists of designer wear that I admire and graphic design work, I cried. Most of us truly do not realize how lucky we are.

Jan Angevine, a Pinterest user, comments on the page:

I lived in Asia for a year. The first thing that struck me when I returned ot the U.S. and walked into the Los Angeles airport was that every, single, person wore shoes. I cried.

Pinterest education

Ami Musa wants education. Image source: Ami Musa's Pinterest page

Another user, Michelle LeBlanc, says:

Great campaign to put all of my “wants” in perspective.

Hilton Foundation congratulates UNICEF UK for creative use of Pinterest:

Congratulations on a really creative use of Pinterest! Hope it wins you even more fans.

Tom Murphy argues that Pinterest represents a bit of a brave new world for NGOs to reach newer audiences:

The pins were sent out at the beginning of September, a point in time that coincided with the developing cholera outbreak in Sierra Leone and Guinea. Each received over 100 repins, over 40 likes and a handful of comments.

Pinterest represents a bit of a brave new world for NGOs to reach newer audiences. There is an opportunity for fundraising because the majority of the audience is quite homogenous. Over 2/3 of Pinterest users are women, roughly half are between 25 and 44 years of age and a quarter have an annual household income above $100k (not really sure how this is calculated). All that adds up to potential donors.

Marion aan ‘t Goor at Viral Blog asks, “Pinterest Campaigns: Effective Or Overhyped?”:

I need food. Image source: Ami Musa's Pinterest page.

The question is, will UNICEF receive more donations, solely by setting up this campaign on Pinterest? Or are they just using the buzz around Pinterest without thinking about what they want to achieve? The “really want these” board contains only 9 pins, the last one dated 2 weeks ago. Some might say UNICEF should keep Ami’s account up to date, by showing followers images of possible improvements of circumstances children like Ami are living in, because of donations made. Others say the possibility for users to repin the photos that are already pinned and virally spread them across the platform makes updating the account with new photos unnecessary.

Either way, all we really know is that awareness was raised among Ami’s 915 followers, because the pins were repinned several hundred times. But is this enough to speak of a successful campaign, despite of the fact UNICEF did not actively involve Facebook or Twitter?

Tom Murphy concludes his post by saying:

Who is going to truly innovate on the ways that issues are discussed with the public in a manner that is not just a slick repackaging of Live Aid?

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