There’s some fascinating findings in a new survey published by InterMedia this month, and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – and a recommendation on the need to engage with schools to foster positive views on development and participation from an early age.
The survey is based on research with three key UK target groups: interested citizens, influentials, and government decision-makers. It concludes that there are three key challenges for ‘interested citizens’ (ie members of the public who are predisposed to engagement with international development issues):
1. They lack awareness of development issues and the UK’s involvement, and often misunderstand the language used.
2. Most of the information they receive about international development is received passively.
3. Most of their engagement requires minimum burden and effort, such as donating.
As an example of the ‘information gap’ it sites cases of some ‘interested citizens’ believing that the UK spends 20% of GDP on overseas development assistance, when the correct figure is 0.56%.