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Street papers: "From Poverty to Independence"
Posted on by:
International Network of Street Papers, The [NGO]


Location: Scotland, Global

Topic: Sustainable Development

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The idea behind a street paper is simple yet powerful: a homeless or other poor person buys a copy of the magazine at a price of 50% or lower than the cover price and sells it to the public for the cover price, keeping the proceeds. In addition to this income opportunity, many street papers offer their vendors locally relevant resources, such as health or social services, job training, art & writing workshops and personal development opportunities. INSP street papers additionally provide editorial voices missing from mainstream media, by including consistent reporting on poverty as well as the writing and art of economically disenfranchised people.

Street Papers offer something unique ? they are not just a "hand-out" but an employment opportunity for those who wish to rebuild their lives and move themselves from poverty back into society. By helping the severely disadvantaged, INSP can make a contribution to society in the many cities in which street papers operate, and where there are many examples of suffering, murder, disease and death among homeless and very poor people.

Aims & principles of the organisation
  • INSP actively encourages and supports the setting up of street papers worldwide to create opportunities and promote independence for people who have been disenfranchised and are living in poverty;
  • The charity"s emphasis is on building a long term legacy of sustainable programmes and strong social businesses, enabling homeless and disadvantaged people to find poverty solutions and lift them from a place where they are neglected, unhealthy, frightened and alone, often from a very young age;
  • INSP promotes independence and dignified employment for people living on the streets by helping over 90 anti-poverty organisations to do their work better.
  • The network challenges global perspectives on poverty and injustice by uniting a movement of independent media voices that speak from the ground up. INSP street papers reach over 32 million readers worldwide every year, encouraging a more educated, engaged and equitable global society.
  • INSP is a catalyst for promoting worldwide campaigns around issues of social and economic justice.
Street papers: An innovation and a good investment

Street papers can provide a constructive tool for poverty alleviation in any urban area in the world where there is both poverty and a critical mass of socially conscious people with disposable income willing and able to purchase a street paper. Street paper initiatives usually start out at the grassroots level with local individuals or organisations working with vulnerable people. Using INSP's vast experience of member projects, local groups can access INSP"s information and training resources to strengthen the institutional capacity of their fledgling street paper at both the micro and macro level. Street Papers also offer a value for money investment for supporters and funders. For example, the lives of 1750 people in a developing country can be significantly improved by a street paper project in one year for an initial investment of ú21,000, equating to only ú1 per month per person.

INSP and the Millennium Development Goals

INSP works towards the Millennium Development Goal 1 to "Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day" and Goal 8 to "Develop a global partnership for development". Since 1994, INSP has assisted tens of thousands of vulnerable people to earn a dignified income, enabling them to support themselves and their families. INSP also represents a powerful international independent media movement, representing global street papers and homeless people, giving them a "voice". We provide international representation at many forums including the United Nations, World Economic Forum and World Social Forum, and work in close partnership with organisations such as the United Nations, European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), Inter Press Service, Reuters, Civicus and FEANTSA.

The International Network of Street Papers and the future

The majority of people on the planet now live in urban areas. Many are poor, unemployed, and disenfranchised. Unfortunately, the need for INSP"s innovative street paper initiatives will be in demand for some time, and it is our aim to support as many poor and disenfranchised people through solid employment and training opportunities while this is still the case. INSP"s work will continue, establishing new initiatives and supporting existing street papers in the Southern hemisphere, especially Africa, Latin America and Asia.

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