As the war-torn Tigray Region in northern Ethiopiacontinues to experience extreme food shortages (tens of thousands have died, 1.8 million are on the verge of famine, according to UNICEF; 400,000 are already there), one group is using a relatively new way to support aid efforts: NFTs.
According to Mirna Saraswati of SaveTigray, “Last year we planned to create NFTs from Fair Trade Art created by women from Tigray. But the advent of the war in November put an end to those plans. So instead, we are making NFTs based on interpreted photos of the tragedy. We will sell them on our NFT marketplace, and donate the proceeds equally to four groups: the World Food Program, International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, and Save the Children.”
Using NFTs to support charities is something that has never been done before. The group hopes to use the Tigray project as a prototype, so that they can later create similar projects to address Climate Change, Racial Injustice, Disease, and other issues. “We believe that NFTs are here to stay,” says the group’s COO Savannah Partridge. “We’ve solved the biggest problem associated with them, which is energy usage. Our platform uses 10 million times less energy than the standard Etherium-based ones. Like any NFT, the provenance of each work can be easily traced through the Blockchain. And buyers can continue to use each image to raise more for the cause, if they so choose. NFTs earn Royalties every time they are sold, so they can keep fundraising forever.”
SaveTigray also plans a publicity drive to make the public aware of the Famine and quasi-Genocide in Tigray. “Most people in the West, including celebrities who usually rally round for a tragedy this big, are not involved,” says Partridge. “As much as we want to raise funds for victims, we really want to spread the news to millions. The Ethiopian government has announced that aid flights can resume from the capital, but so far none have been given approval. An outcry from the public can compel them to act.”