An interview with Joanna Le Pluart on taking an opportunistic approach to being charitable
Last Christmas, we asked our community which organization working to change the world for the better should get a 10,000 SEK present from Symbal. The social media campaign reached 14,000 people and brought in dozens of nominees. When the votes were tallied, it was Communication Consultant Joanna Le Pluart who had convinced us that The Hunger Project deserved the gift because it has “the best business idea in the world.”
We recently reached out to Joanna to learn what drives her to get involved, how she merges giving back with a busy lifestyle and why she chose The Hunger Project.
Why did you get involved in Symbal’s competition?
“It was an excellent idea! I think companies should focus more on supporting charities than buying presents for customers. It comes down to finding new ways to contribute to a better world and social media can make it much easier. It helps companies and the public connect for a common cause. Plus, social media makes it simple to get involved, raise your voice and do something to make the world a little better.”
How do you decide which organizations to support?
“As a busy professional running my own company, I don’t have much time to research which charity to support. In fact, I have supported charities rather opportunistically in different phases of my life. For example, I supported SOS children’s villages when I had small children. I supported UNICEF’s Christmas vaccine campaign as an alternative to giving Christmas gifts, and now that my daughters are a bit older, I have become more focused on the situation of women in the world – hence my special interest in The Hunger Project.”
“Every drop counts – it’s always going to be better than nothing!”
What’s so special about The Hunger Project?
“Firstly, they do not give aid, but offer financing to empower people to improve their own lives and the lives of their families over the long term. So they’re not just pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom!
Secondly, the Hunger Project focuses exclusively on women. That’s because the research shows that strengthening the position of women is THE single factor that has the greatest impact on reducing hunger and poverty.
It makes perfect sense to me! A woman’s love for her children is arguably the most powerful force on earth. Women invest in the future for their children’s sake, and, in this way they carry humanity forward from one generation to the next.
So it’s about equality, too?
Women make up half of the world’s population, yet they own way less than half of the world’s wealth, land and resources. I also chose the Hunger Project because their bias towards financing female entrepreneurs goes some way towards correcting this massive global imbalance. It puts women in a better position to claim their rightful place as equal members of the human race on a par with their male counterparts – often in the world’s most sexist cultures!”
Any advice for people looking for a way to give back?
Find an opportunity to do contribute to a better world that fits your life. Don’t hold back because it seems like anything you do is just a drop in the ocean. Every drop counts – it’s always going to be better than nothing!
About Joanna Le Pluart
Joanna grew up in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire as the youngest of four siblings. She became a feminist activist early as a consequence of the unfair favoritism afforded to her brothers. She aimed to hold her own against them in rugby, swimming and cricket.
It was during her time as a student at Cambridge that the idea of living in Sweden took hold. A half Swedish friend told her all about the country, inspiring Joanna to pack up and make the move. She landed in Lund in 1993, where she later founded Crystal Clear Communications. Today, she works as a Communication Consultant for clients around the Öresund region.
Joanna with her daughters