News special: Make Poverty History - New generation of activistscomes to life in Edinburgh

Live 8 dominated the column inches, but the Scottish capital carried the real message.

Organisers of Saturday's Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh say the campaign's success will be judged by the actions of the leaders at the G8 summit this week.

Although the oft-repeated campaign aim was "justice, not charity", many of the organisations involved said that Saturday's events did much to further the cause of charity too.

ActionAid director Richard Miller started working in development in 1985, at the time of the Ethiopian famine that kicked off Live Aid. He said: "Today will give birth to a key generation of activists who will look back on this for 20 years to come."

The only criticism of the weekend's events was reserved for the Sunday papers, all of which gave more exposure to the Live 8 concerts than the Edinburgh rally.

War on Want spokesman John Coventry described the rally as a massive success helped by media support in the preceding weeks, but added: "It is a shame that the weekend papers had blanket coverage of Live 8.

"Live 8 was great for awareness, but those who really cared were getting out on the streets in Edinburgh."

About 225,000 people descended on Edinburgh on Saturday to add their weight to the Make Poverty History campaign - well beyond the predictions of 150,000.

The Meadows park in the Scottish capital was packed with charity information stalls, as well as two stages that featured political speakers and musicians, and four educational 'zones' in marquees. The zones enabled charities to engage demonstrators in their work and recruit new supporters.

The Children's Zone ran activities including the Global Campaign for Education's 'Send a friend to school' project, and the Gener8ion Zone had art, workshops and speakers aimed at raising awareness among the young.

The Contempl8ion Zone had faith-based groups talking about their work, and the Campaign Zone aimed to involve people in organisations' campaigns.

Martin Drewry, head of campaigns at Christian Aid, said: "The hope is that people will learn about the issues, and bit by bit it is working."

He added that more money for charities would be an unintended but welcome by-product: "Research shows that when people start to campaign, they tend to give more money to the cause."

Richard Bennett, chair of the Make Poverty History co-ordination group, said: "It was a good day that packed a policy punch as well."

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