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Can VR and Social Media Help Eradicate Poverty?

Chances are you may have never heard of The World Bank Group, but it’s an organization that was originally formed post World War II to help restore war torn Europe.

Since then, it has focused on the mission of alleviating global poverty through economic development projects. 

Bassam Sebti (@bsebti) is the Arab Web and Social Media Editor for The World Bank Group (@WorldBank) and was one of our attendees at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Chicago. Bassam was kind enough to chat with us about how the World Bank Group is using social media to help educate government officials and academics about global poverty.

With a topic like global poverty, which is both an emotional and complicated issue, The World Bank Group’s social media team has been experimenting with new technologies that can help them tell the story about its economic development work (and increase their social engagement). One technology that they have recently adopted is the use of 360 video so that their videos can be viewed on virtual reality (VR) headsets.

This has allowed The World Bank Group to create an immersive experience, helping to transport their audience to war torn regions of the world and countries with massive poverty levels, so that they can see what life is actually like on the ground for our fellow human beings.

One of the examples that Bassam brought up was a video that they had produced where they toured a school in Lebanon where Syrian refugee children were adjusting to life in a new country.

With the emergence of high quality and widely available virtual reality technology coming online, it’s easy to envision a future where non-profits, non-governmental organizations and brands alike are using immersive video experiences as a way to highlight how they are helping to solve problems around the world. Although VR and social media aren't going to lead to the end of poverty by themselves, the possibility of humanizing the stories through such an intimate medium and then being able to quickly scale the distribution of those stories, certainly changes the game when it comes to getting people to feel empathy for those who need their help. 

Listen to the full interview with Bassam Sebti about how The World Bank Group is using virtual reality coupled with social media in it’s mission to end global poverty below:



Kaliko Castille photo

Kaliko Castille (@WizKaliko) manages partnerships for GSMI’s conference portfolio, including #SMSSummit & #SRSC. He is a self-taught digital marketer, brand strategist, and entrepreneur who is endlessly fascinated by how the internet is constantly creating new ways for both humans and brands to connect.

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