Last month we invited Tots100 blogger Chris Mosler to tell us about her forthcoming trip to Mozambique with Save the Children.
This month, we wanted to know how Chris felt about her experience and blog after the trip – what has she gained, what lessons has she learned and does she approach blogging differently now?
Here’s what she told us:
When I wrote this post for the Tots100 blog four months ago I had no idea that my blogging activism was soon to take a gigantic step forwards into the unknown.
I attended the Save the Children Blogging Conference in London on 26th February and came home all fired up about blogging’s potential to bring about real change. Six weeks later, as I was cooking tea, an email popped into my in box which would allow me to see if I really could make a difference.
I was asked to travel to Mozambique to follow the journey of a vaccine along the ‘cold chain’ (they have to be kept cold in searing heat) from the city right out to a child living in a remote rural village. One in five children worldwide currently receives no immunisation from easily preventable childhood illnesses and millions of them are dying as a result. We were going with the specific aim of getting as many signatures as possible onto the Save the Children petition ahead of the GAVI vaccines summit in London. The world’s leaders were being called upon to fill the funding gap and pledge to provide money to ensure that every single child has the right to be vaccinated.
It was this which appealed to me. I knew that parent bloggers could be called upon to support this campaign; it had a clear aim, it was asking for something specific and there would be a visible outcome if we succeeded. I asked various people for help and they were absolutely fantastic; the combined reach of the blogging and Twitter world was staggering. Josie and Maggy ran a drawing meme, Paula came up with a Gift Tag to pass on, Maggy and Karin ran a Twitter tea party, Nicky ran the Friday Twiz with an African theme, Julia ran a 100 word challenge for school children, Tara dedicated The Gallery to the campaign and many, many bloggers joined in or wrote their own independent posts. Both the Tots 100 and BritMums featured me and the campaign and it did feel like an entire community had united behind one cause.
My time in Mozambique was incredible. Most of my experiences were positive as I saw how well aid can work when it is directed and focussed and when it gets to the people who need it.
I have come home wishing I could scrub some images from my memory but also content to let them stay there as they have stoked the fire in my belly. It is impossible to visit people living in poverty and to then walk away and return to your everyday life unchanged, it is impossible to turn off the TV or radio or to close the laptop when something uncomfortable pops up, it is impossible to ignore the inequality which surrounds us. But I am not sitting with my head in my hands, nor am I giving away all my possessions, instead I am continuing to make noise. I know I can’t save the world but I have seen how one voice can become 30 million (the number we reached on Twitter), how one signature can become 47 444 (the figure on the petition we handed in to Number 10) and how that can be a real force for change.
I visited Andrew Mitchell in the Ministry for International Development, I met Bill Gates, I talked (a lot) to TV and radio reporters and on the 13th June I attended the vaccines summit in London where it was announced that agreement had been reached and pledges made for more money than had initially been asked for. Through all of this I felt no nerves at all and I am sure it is because I felt passionate about what I was doing, I felt confident that I knew what I was talking about and that I knew I had the goodwill and fierce support of the parent blogging community behind me.
I thought it would be hard returning to my blog after the hoo-hah died down but it hasn’t been. It has been like coming home to a familiar friend. My involvement with this campaign gave me a glimpse of the power of blogging, its enormous potential reach and its new role as people’s journalism and that excites the writer in me enormously.
I shall continue blogging about the things which matter to me and about the things we enjoy doing as a family but I shall do so with a more confident voice, a voice which was heard and which made a difference.