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Boy Band Joins The Masses To Take A Stand For Global Development

Activists in Sri Lanka got an early start on the day of action, with a demonstration by 800 people in Negombo province on the Sri Lanka's western coast.
Courtesy of action/2015
Activists in Sri Lanka got an early start on the day of action, with a demonstration by 800 people in Negombo province on the Sri Lanka's western coast.

How do you wipe out poverty and hunger?

By dressing up like a duck and listening to a One Direction video.

Okay, well, maybe those aren't exactly the things that will usher in a better era for Planet Earth. But the duck suits and One Direction's online call "to put pressure on our leaders" are both part of a global effort to send a message to the Financing for Development summit that starts on Monday in Addis Adaba.


"Heads of state, finance ministers and others in power will discuss how the world is going to finance development with the resources we have — how we're going to lift people out of poverty, ban hunger, create more sustainable energy and help people live better lives," says Robert Skinner, associate director of the United Nations Foundation. They're going to be considering how to fund the world's Sustainable Development Goals – priorities for U.N. member nations over the next 15 years.

But even leaders might need a little guidance. So Action/2015, a coalition of 1,600 organizations that focus on development, has designated July 11 as a Global Day of Action.

There will be marches, flash mobs, concerts and other activities in more than 70 nations. Each event will point to the country's development concerns. Zambia, for example, is focusing on water and sanitation needs, while Colombia's youth will draw attention to environmental issues like deforestation.

Here's a look at some Day of Action activities:

India's Agenda Items


"Our money. Our future. Your duty." In New Delhi, the words will be printed on a bright yellow banner that bears the image of a bank note on it. Attendees will be encouraged to sign the banner, which will eventually be given to the state's finance minister. Along with the banner there will be a flash mob, a street play about women's issues and music and dance.

There will also be a call to improve the status of the Dalits (the name of the castes formerly considered "untouchables") and the Adivasi (the country's tribal peoples). Fifteen other rallies across the country will address issues like child labor, the need for safe drinking water and women's reproductive health.

South Africa Takes On Taxes

Hundreds of students are expected to gather near the University of Pretoria, carrying pickets, posters and banners that read "Finance Our Future." On Sunday, students at the university's Model U.N. Conference will discuss South Africa's development issues.

Protesters are also raising concerns that the country's tax system isn't fair. Participants will be encouraged to use the hashtag #taxjustice and voice their concerns on Twitter.

Camping Out in Kenya

While a larger event will be held in Nairobi, about 7,000 people are expected to come together for a rally in the city Sotik, where there's a massive medical camp for children on the same day. Three thousand kids are expected to show up for free healthcare. At the rally, T-shirts will read "Campaigning against inequality, climate and poverty" and speakers will call for more funding to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Everything's Ducky in London

Events in the United Kingdom have already kicked off. On Friday, youth dressed in duck costumes rallied in front of the Big Ben on Friday, holding a banner directed at Chancellor George Osborne. It read "Don't duck your responsibilities."

The British band One Direction has also jumped in. This week the boy band launched a video asking fans to tell how they'd like to change the world, using the hashtag #action1D. The video has already generated more than 1.5 million likes and shares across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A sample video message from a Belgian fan who calls herself a "Directioner": "I want to live in a world where other people also have the rights to have proper foods and clean water."

And a once and perhaps future global leader might call herself a Directioner as well:

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