What is the 3things campaign?
3things is an initiative of Oxfam Australia. It’s all about providing relevant opportunities and support for young Australians to get involved in making the world a better place in ways that are meaningful to them.
How was it started? What were the initial ideas? Can you describe how the campaign has progressed from initial ideas to launching it now?
It started back in 2008 as a research project in collaboration with some design students from the University of Technology, Sydney. Together, we were trying to find a way to bridge the disconnect between high levels of care, and low levels of engagement in global issues such as supporting people to have a sustainable livelihood, access to social services, a voice in decisions, safety from conflict and disaster and equal rights and status. With chalkboard and cameras in hand, our team went out onto the streets and online to hear from young people themselves about what issues they cared about, what ways that they would like to take action – whether they had 3 minutes, 3 weeks or more, and what support they needed from us to make it happen. The response was incredible, and asking questions rather than broadcasting information is still central to our strategy.
3things has since developed in to a youth movement for global goodness that includes a growing online community, hosting our own and appearing at other festivals and events, and programs in high schools and universities across Australia. We’ve recently launched a new-look website that provides a hub for all things 3things at 3things.org.au.
What is 3things’ philosophy?
If we all take steps to act ethically, sustainably and generously, we can change the world one decision at a time. We’re also the first generation that’s connected enough to make the fundamental shift that’s needed to bring about a more equitable and sustainable world.
What is the campaign aiming to achieve? How are you reaching these goals?
We’re aiming to get young people across Australia thinking and behaving from a global perspective - recognising that in today’s world we’re all interconnected and that our actions, even in a geographically isolated country like Australia, have a flow on effect and can impact the wellbeing of our poorest and most marginalised neighbours, as well as the environment.
Who in particular is being targeted and why? What role do they play in the 3things campaign?
We target young people who are not currently aware or involved in taking action on social justice issues, but who could be easily inspired if provided with relevant opportunities and support.
Can you tell us about the time frame?
We’re in it for the long haul, but will obviously need to continue adapting to rapidly changing world that we live in and the needs of young people.
What differences do you hope 3things will make?
In the short term, we’re hoping 3things will help young Australian’s to increase their awareness of global issues and ways to take action while at the same time build confidence that their actions actually make a difference. In the longer term we’d like to see a generation of Australian’s who are taking a global perspective and action in all spheres of their life, and putting pressure on governments and businesses to uphold policies and practices that respond to the current global inequities.
What are some examples of things most people can easily change? What would be the impact of these changes?
While some actions may seem small by themselves for instance, adding your voice to a cause you care about, voting for a particular political party who have more eco and people-friendly policies in place, purchasing fair trade products, sharing a link to thought provoking content, or just changing your light bulbs, our collective actions can have a huge impact.
To give you an example, the rise of fair trade sales in recent years has had a significant impact, helping lift thousands of producers and their communities out of poverty. Fair trade: paying a fair price to farmers and artisans in developing countries and improving working conditions,
(Note: The ten standards of fair trade include: creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers; greater transparency and accountability; fairer trading practices; fairer prices for producers; no child exploitation or forced labour; non-discrimination, gender equity and freedom of association; better working conditions; capacity building; promotion of fair trade; and environmental sustainability.)
Finally, what are your personal hopes for our collective future?
While there a lots of small actions we can take without having to change our lifestyle dramatically, I hope to see each of us making an effort to bring about a deeper change of perspective, which includes reflecting on and potentially developing the inherent values that form that perspective. This can happen at different paces and times for different people but believe it involves each of us being aware of ourselves, awareness of the world around us, and our capacity to impact that world though our thoughts and actions.