Franck Martin: How the media can help to cut poverty in the Third World

Beauty Chirwa is a 23-year-old street vendor who lives in a poor and densely populated neighbourhood called Msisi in Lusaka, Zambia's capital. Every day she walks two hours to collect a pile of magazines from an office, before selling them from a pitch at the side of the traffic-heavy Great East Road in the city centre.

It's a good spot. She can sell up to 10 magazines in a day, which earns her enough money for an evening meal with a little over to put towards her rent. But many others on the street are selling things: fruit, vegetables, puppies, paintings, toys, sunglasses, newspapers. Chirwa has to find her place in all the chaos and get to work.

She works for the International Network of Street Papers (INSP), a British charity which helps people in the Third World earn a dignified living by selling independently produced newspapers and magazines. The organisation has built on the work of The Big Issue, taking the well established UK model and transplanting it on to the streets of some of the world's poorest cities.

Chirwa's day is not easy; many of her customers do not understand The Big Issue concept, so she has to explain to each reader how buying a magazine is helping her. Only some understand.

For 15 years the INSP has worked to bring The Big Issue poverty model to cities across the globe. From its origins as a scattered collection of European street papers, the Glasgow charity has grown into a thriving global network that reaches millions of readers. It also gives Chirwa and an estimated 250,000 marginalised people the chance to benefit from dignified living.

"From our headquarters in Scotland, INSP supports 103 street papers in 37 countries worldwide, spanning six continents," says Lisa Maclean, INSP executive director. "Our work is based on principles of self help, social enterprise and independent information. Since 2006, INSP has focused on supporting new street papers in the developing world, helping to establish new initiatives in Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Burundi, supporting hundreds of people living in poverty, and their families, in urban areas."

The recent appointment of David Schlesinger, editor-in-chief of Reuters News, as the charity's honourary president reflects how INSP is starting to generate interest within established media circles.

The success of the INSP project demonstrates that the media can play a positive socio-economic role when it operates at grassroots, a working example of an effective alternative to traditional corporate media models.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'