The Impact of Transnational Aid Campaigns on Public Opinion and Foreign Aid Policy: A Critical Analysis of Make Poverty History (MPH) in Canada

By Dominic Hakim Silvio.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review

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This paper analyzes the impact of transnational aid campaigns, more specifically Make Poverty History (MPH), on public opinion/awareness, foreign aid policy and the discourse of global poverty in Canada. It considers three hypotheses: (1) the heavy focus and involvement by high profile celebrities and moral icons in MPH campaign will have significant impact on public opinion and an increase in public awareness and mobilization towards foreign aid and global poverty issues, (2) the involvement by high profile celebrities and moral icons will have no impact on Canadian governments’ foreign aid policy, and (3) MPH has shaped or re-shaped a broader understanding of poverty issues. The paper uses data from several sources such as opinion poll archives, media broadcasts and government documents. I find fairly mixed support for hypothesis one, however, weaker support for hypothesis two that MPH has not changed the behavior of the Canadian government nor has it impacted foreign aid policy significantly. My findings also concur with hypothesis three that MPH has indeed shaped or re-shaped a broader understanding of global poverty issues.

Keywords: Transnational Aid Campaigns, Public Opinion, Foreign Aid Policy, Canada

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review, Volume 7, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 342.253KB).

Dominic Hakim Silvio

PhD Candidate, Interdisciplinary PhD Program, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada