Apr 2nd, 2013 4:57 PM UTC
By Dr. Sipho Moyo
Last week, ONE’s team on the ground in Bali continued to lobby the members of the High Level Panel (HLP) on our Open for Development petition and the preliminary results of the You Choose campaign from Malawi, South Africa and Zambia.
Almost 120,000 ONE members from around the world have signed the Open for Development petition so far, and another 150,000 Africans have given their ideas on what development should look like in their countries. We presented both the petition and the results to as many members we could find. In particular, I was particularly pleased and delighted to speak to Co-Chair of the High Level Panel, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, regarding ONE members’ actions.
After explaining to her the transparency and accountability mechanisms we’re proposing in the next set of development goals, I was able to briefly tell her about some of the preliminary results we’re finding from the You Choose campaign survey.
As we promised to take the voices of our African members to the High Level Panel and other world leaders, it was important to demonstrate the connection between ONE’s goals for transparency and the consultations and outreach we’ve done on what Africans want for their development.
President Sirleaf understood and even made the connection with ONE and Save the Children’s event at the HLP meeting in Monrovia, Liberia, back in January. She was also pleased to hear that ONE’s You Choose survey is being adapted to contribute to the UN’s My World process of soliciting citizens’ views on the future of development.
In addition to President Sirleaf, I was able to speak to and present our petition and findings to all of the African members of the HLP. I also spoke to Minister Gunilla Carlsson of Sweden and Minister Justine Greening of the United Kingdom, who was representing Prime Minister David Cameron.
After all the remarks and encouragement, I was particularly struck by what my friend and ONE Board member Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria had to say. After receiving ONE’s petition and reports, she commented that “this is an important process which shows that African citizens want to be engaged on matters that affect them.” Minister, we couldn’t agree more.
Mar 25th, 2013 9:25 PM UTC
By Nachilala Nkombo
As the current Millennium Development Goals meet their goal-line in 2015, it’s more important than ever to ensure the world’s poorest people have a say in the development of the next set of goals to eradicate extreme poverty.
Working with more than 20 NGO, faith and private sector partners across Africa, together with some of the continents best-known celebrities including Hugh Masekela, D’banj, Benni McCarthy and Chris Katongo, we are urging people to join the fight against extreme poverty and send their views on what issues matter most to them.
And as the UN High Level Panel meets this week in Bali, we have published our preliminary findings based on the early stages of the campaign.
Our interim results show that more than 130,000 citizens have offered valid responses in the three target countries.
You can download the initial findings here.
Check out the ONE blog in the coming weeks for more news on the campaign, which runs until the end of April.
Mar 19th, 2013 7:49 PM UTC
By Warren Nyamugasira
This post was originally published in New Vision
The day of reckoning has come round yet again. On behalf of the world, the United Nations has set up a process for thinking about the next big thing to succeed the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), due to end two years.
When the MDGs were adopted by over 189 countries in 2000, they were a powerful statement of a world leadership intent on banishing poverty and hunger: putting every child through school, giving women parity with their male counterparts, and stopping unnecessary deaths of our infants and children.
It was a leadership determined to improve the health of mothers so that when giving birth to the next generation, they do not have to die in the process.
HIV/AIDS, malaria and other killer diseases which were on the rampage, were to be stopped in their tracks, while the sustainability of our environment was to be assured.
Indeed progress has been made on some of these goals. For example, results in poverty reduction have accelerated over the past decade. Fewer children are dying than was the case at the turn of the millennium.
However, little change has been registered in many of the other goals, especially those to do with the preventable death of child-bearing women.
My wife, a communications practitioner and a fellow development activist, is convinced that until women take charge of developing and implementing such goals, making them effective and relevant to the problems that afflict them and the families they take care of, full success will continue to elude us.
I agree with her completely (which by the way is the safest way to keep peace in the home). Women do the heaviest lifting in sustaining humanity, especially in our African societies. They are the mothers, farmers, producers and reproducers. They are at the heart of keeping us well-fed and well-nurtured. In sub-Saharan Africa, they produce 90% of staple foods and contribute 20-30% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). So how on earth did anyone expect to meet all those MDGs to do with eliminating poverty, hunger and malnutrition when those very women farmers are restricted to only 8% of land ownership and access to only 10% of available credit?
Now that another opportunity to rectify the mistake is here, our male leaders must not repeat the same mistake of trying to think for the women.
To reflect Africa’s priorities and concerns, we must put our best foot forward first by giving full respect to our women and letting them have their say first. I have a feeling that if given a safe space women were to draw what they think of men, they would most likely draw men with no ears, small eyes, a small heart, even smaller brains but big mouths.
Men accuse women of talking a lot. But actually it is men who like to talk and do so expensively. When they draw budgets, they prioritise seminars, workshops and conferences. If need be, men will even talk to themselves. They seem to think that to feed the people all they need to do is talk, make resolutions and return to their offices and homes exactly to do nothing.
To feed our people, what needs to be done first and foremost, is to give women land rights and allocate requisite resources to them to get the job done. But can you find a country in Africa that has addressed this issue head on? No. Can’t men see that continuing to ignore land rights for women is an expensive mistake?
By the way, 2010-2020 is the African Women’s decade while 2014 has been designated the Year of Agriculture. If anything concrete is to happen, this is the time for women to swing into action so as to set the agenda.
Fortunately, the UN High Level Panel on the next set of MDGs is co-chaired by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of the Republic of Liberia. Women must work through her to ensure that the next global development agenda is one that goes to the heart of the world’s malaise as understood and experienced by the heavy-lifting women in their lived realities.
Already, women know what did not work because the design of the current MDGs was defective and the implementation incompetent. They see how men under-fund vital sectors such as agriculture, health and education and then in broad daylight, steal the little money meant to feed and educate the children and attend to the sick and dying.
They see how men pledged to allocate 10% of the national budget to agriculture and 15% to health and ended up allocating less than half the amount.
Time for positive energy and corrective action is now. Let women guide us to determine the future direction of our world’s development.
Mar 8th, 2013 3:38 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Our guest blogger today is musician and ONE member Slap Dee, who helped to launch the You Choose campaign in Zambia this week.
In 2000, leaders from 189 nations signed on to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight targets designed to significantly reduce global poverty and disease by 2015. In Zambia, we have made some progress since then, child mortality has reduced and more children are in school. Guys, we still need to do more. We are one of the few countries where poverty levels have increased!
We should all be concerned that 8 million Zambians are said to be poor, mothers in Zambia die in huge numbers giving birth and many of our brothers and sisters still don’t have access to clean water.
The picture is similar in 19 African countries. But we can change this if we act together under ONE’s You Choose campaign. One person’s voice may go unheard, but if we stand together, political leaders can’t ignore us! For me, that’s why I am part of it. The campaign is supported by ONE’s partners and artists such as Christopher Katongo, Mary Magambo, Hugh Masekela, HHP, Dbanj and myself.
We are asking Africans from all walks of life to tell our government and the United Nations what issues matter most to you and what the new MDGs should focus on after 2015. You can do this by sending a FREE text message or online.
We launched this campaign in Zambia this week at the new government complex with over 80 guests including government representatives, students, MPs, financial institutions, donors and many civil society organisations. Since the first country launch in South Africa a few weeks ago, over 100,000 people have joined the campaign.
I have already got my granny and her friends texting. Their voices will be shared with our government and the UN for action. So get texting now and tell our government what we need for us to excel as individuals and as a nation.
In Zambia: Pick up your mobile and text VOICE to 234, and then submit your key issue. Texts are FREE and operational on Airtel and CelZ only.
In South Africa: Text your key issue FREE to 30667
In Malawi: Text your key issue FREE to 57111
Everywhere else: Take part online
Feb 28th, 2013 5:17 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
My name is Bon Kalindo, better known as WINIKO.
I am a comedian, teacher and social rights activist. Most importantly, I am a Malawian who loves my country.
I am supporting ONE’s You Choose campaign which encourages my fellow Malawians to participate in the next level of Millennium Development Goals by simply sending an SMS message. We are inviting views and suggestions from Malawians on what we want the next goals for eradicating poverty to be.
You’ll hear me on radio requesting that all Malawians make their voice heard and their views on poverty count.
Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to shape our destiny. Let’s join hands in making poverty history. To do that, we must tell the world what our problems in Malawi are and how we want them to be tackled.
I am a comedian. I try to create humour around the issues I come across. But poverty is no fun.
Join me, my fellow local and international celebrities, the ONE organisation and their partners, in making our voices heard. Our input is critical in shaping the world’s anti-poverty goals beyond 2015.
If you are in Malawi, send your SMS message stating which issues are most important to you, to 57111. If you are anywhere else you can still take part on our You Choose page.
Let’s unite as ONE in the fight against poverty.
Listen to Winiko’s radio appeal
Feb 22nd, 2013 3:09 PM UTC
By Hugh Masekela
The people directly affected by the Millennium Development Goals were not involved in drafting them. This must not happen again.
The United Nations’ high-level panel is engaged in a series of meetings to determine a new set of goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015. The question being asked is: What should the global blueprint be for tackling extreme poverty and other development challenges over the next 15 to 20 years?
I live in sub-Saharan Africa where, according to the UN, you will find more than 40% of the world’s poorest people. Quite frankly, I think that the best way to find out what the poor really want is to ask them.
The panel has 26 members and is co-chaired by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. They met in Liberia on February 1 and will have their last meeting in Bali in late March. Their report will be submitted to the UN secretary general in May.
Last September, the ONE Campaign released their report What Does the World Really Want? Astonishingly, the report showed that the world’s poor were not included in the process of determining the global development agenda. They have had no prior opportunity to raise their voices to articulate their interests and needs.
The main finding in this report is that household income is the number-one concern for people all across the developing world. Families are most worried about income stability and having enough money to put food on the table, pay for their children’s education, cover necessary health clinic visits and to start a small business.
When collecting and collating views about what matters most to the poor, the high-level panel needs to ensure that it brings the poor to the table. It needs to hear the voices of the poor, and to put their views at the core of the next set of development goals.
Bringing into the conversation the very people who stand to benefit the most from international development will put the poor in a position to own, champion and dictate their own development priorities.
Representatives of the poor
It is important to seek expert, political and other organised groups’ opinions. We need to be careful, though, that we do not have a battalion of people masquerading as representatives of the poor. The poor can speak for themselves. I am hoping to see a report that involves the poor, is by the poor and for the poor.
If this doesn’t happen, there is a real danger of having a report void of credibility or of no use to those it is intended to benefit.
Global discussions on a post-2015 development framework will help to set the development agenda for a generation and determine how hundreds of billions of dollars will be spent. This process, especially at national levels, needs to be transparent. Citizens should demand an open development agenda: openness in terms of the design of the post-2015 framework, openness in the monitoring of investments and outcomes, and openness in terms of making sure that monitoring information is widely available and accessible.
Along with civil society organisations around Africa, I am asking for the following: first, that the post-2015 goals reflect people’s needs and priorities; second, that governments collect information about what they spend and what they achieve in pursuit of the goals; and, third, that such information is made available so that citizens, parliaments and the media can use it to hold governments to account for the use of public resources.
The millennium development goals have contributed significantly to the global fight against poverty in the past decade. Africa has made tremendous progress in the battle against HIV/Aids, there has been an increase in child enrolment into school (which speaks of better education access), and hunger, although still prevalent, has been significantly reduced.
As we celebrate these achievements, however, let us not lose sight of the challenges ahead. The high-level panel has a critical role to play in building on the strengths of the Millennium Development Goals to enable people to take charge of their own development and to accelerate progress towards the eradication of poverty.
Hugh Masekela is a musician and ONE member. This article was originally published in the Mail & Guardian
Feb 11th, 2013 11:21 AM UTC
By Mzwandile Sibanda
ONE member and Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy has an invitation for you: tell world leaders which global issues they should take urgent action on as part of the You Choose campaign.
Right now, world leaders are starting to think about new global goals they will set themselves to tackle poverty.
The Millennium Development Goals which were set in 2000 will run out in 2015, so new targets to fight extreme poverty are needed. We’ve made amazing progress in some areas, but in others there is still a long way to go.
ONE has come together with the United Nations and other organisations to make sure that everyone has a say in what the targets are.
So if you were in charge, what would you prioritise? Better job opportunities, affordable food, equality between men and women, better internet access or something else?
The decisions that world leaders make in the next few months will have a big impact on people across Africa, so make sure your voice is heard.
If you’re in South Africa you can send a free SMS message to 30667. If you are anywhere else, have your say at www.one.org/youchoose.
Feb 5th, 2013 6:47 PM UTC
By Edith Jibunoh
This week, ONE and Save the Children gathered close to 200 Liberians, including several Liberian ONE members, at a popular event in Monrovia, which included an exhibition and panel on transparency and accountability in the city’s iconic City Hall.
City Hall was packed all afternoon with the young and eager Liberians who gathered at our event, keen to join our efforts to focus attention on transparency and accountability and emphasize the recommendations, just released in a new report, for the UN High Level Panel (HLP) deliberations on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (or as we like to call it, MDG 2.0).
The event was attended by members of the HLP, including co-chair President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister of Finance and the Economy; Ms. Gunilla Carlsson, Swedish Development Minister; Ms. Betty Maina of Kenya; Mr. John Podesta, Chair of the Center for American Progress; Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary General on the Post-2015 Agenda; as well as members of the HLP secretariat and other Liberian dignitaries.
Involved in our exhibition were a variety of activists, including Ma Annie, who started the Liberian “Peace Huts” to mediate local conflict issues (land, marital and community unrest); Alfred Sirleaf, who started Daily Talk, a community blackboard which translates the news into vernacular and images in order to make news accessible to the illiterate; young Koola Fofana, who talked to mingling guests from her stand, and displayed her work on the President’s Vision 2030 committee, allowing her to channel youth voices into Liberia’s formal development planning. The exhibition also included the big draw for the many youth in attendance: Sweetz and David Mello – two Liberian music entertainers who worked on a song with young kids throughout the exhibition, encouraging them to express themselves and get involved in their country’s development through music.
The exhibition was quickly followed by five lively breakout sessions, where Liberian citizens organized themselves and came up with a range of recommendations for various facets of the transparency and accountability agenda, including the consultation process of how to get better data.
The HLP members were really impressed by the effort that the Liberians put into coming up with concise yet constructive inputs for them to take into consideration and individually commended their work after spending some time going through the exhibitions on display.
President Johnson-Sirleaf reminded the youth that Liberia’s future lay in their hands, while Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala remarked on the alignment of the issues raised by the Liberians and the HLP members. Ms. Gunilla Carlsson congratulated Liberia on the progress made under the leadership of President Johnson-Sirleaf and noted that their recommendations showed the dedication of the citizens to making their country a better place.
Ms. Betty Maina emphasized the importance of holding the private sector accountable alongside the public sector,stating that they also had a responsibility in ensuring that development goals were met, and she encouraged Liberians to demand accountability from the private sector as well.
Mr. John Podesta recognized ONE and Save the Children for the remarkable work we do and spoke of the trip that ONE organized that brought him to Liberia for the first time, where he was able to see firsthand the dedication of Liberian people to their development.
The entire event, which spanned about 6 hours, left all of us involved inspired and struck by the dedication these citizens put into communicating their views on development. We are all so proud to have been a part of the process that gave them a platform to get their views across to those that needed to hear it the most.
What would make the biggest difference in your world? Vote for the issues that matter to you most here, and we’ll share them with the HLP.
Feb 1st, 2013 5:00 PM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
Earlier this week, ONE met up with 30 of our Liberian members in Monrovia at a local watering hole called Tides, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. As I reported earlier, we have been in Monrovia the past week to engage the High Level Panel on the Post-2015 MDGs (HLP) during their meetings and consultations. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet with some of our members and hear their views on the issues affecting development in Liberia.
My colleague Edith Jibunoh, from ONE’s Washington, D.C., office, and I led the meet up. I started off by giving a brief history of ONE and our work around the world to promote Africa’s development. In particular, I focused on our campaigns to engage our African members on issues around the continent and how we work to influence the policies of select African governments and institutions.
Edith then spoke about this week in Liberia and its importance in the greater scheme of development. The HLP would be using this week to listen to the voices of people through civil society organizations (CSOs) and the private sector on what the next set of development goals should include. ONE also used this week to launch a new report — Open for Development — that would make the case for some key recommendations to improve the post-2015 agenda. We launched this report in partnership with Save the Children with HLP members, which Liberian President Sirleaf joined!
All this talk from Edith and me created some palpable enthusiasm from our members – so they began sharing their thoughts on how governments and partners (like the United States or European governments) could support development.
For me, it was an incredible learning experience. Our members shared their particular sectoral concerns — clean water, HIV/AIDS treatment, environmental sustainability and education were mentioned, with clean water reiterated many times. More importantly though, our members shared how development should be made more accountable. They want the goals applied to everyone, rich and poor. We must speak in peoples’ vernacular languages (while Liberia’s official language is English, I can attest that the vernacular creole or “simple English” can be difficult to understand!) because illiteracy is so high in a country like Liberia.
We have to use radio and other more traditional forms of media to reach people, which I’m proud to say we are already doing here at ONE in our “You Choose” campaign in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia. There were even comments on the need to focus on better results and outcomes, which hits at the heart of our latest thinking here at ONE. You’d think these members were on ONE’s policy team!
Our ONE members in Liberia are incredibly astute. That was driven home to me when a member stood up and pointed out that amongst the 30 of us, they were the educated and relatively affluent in Liberia. The real voices ONE and the world need to hear are those not present and who carry the burden of these problems—and he pointed across the water to a beach where children were playing football in front of what appeared to be an endless see of tin-roofed shacks. My fellow ONE member couldn’t have said it better.
Jan 30th, 2013 9:03 AM UTC
By Hugh Masekela
As a young man growing up in Witbank I dreamed of becoming a musician and using my voice and my music to bring happiness to others.
But your voice is even more powerful. Alone we may go unheard, but if we stand together, our leaders can’t ignore us.
That’s why ONE has joined forces with the United Nations to find out what matters to you. We want to capture the voices, priorities and views of people across South Africa, which we will share with world leaders as they begin to create a new plan to end extreme poverty.
It will only take a few minutes and the results will be shared with world leaders.
What would make the most difference to you? You choose.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Musician and ONE member
ONE is a movement of 3 million people in Africa and around the world fighting the injustice of extreme poverty.
A single person's voice may go unheard, but if we come together as ONE, we cannot be ignored.
Join ONE today because together we can end extreme poverty.
The International ONE Blog is a daily log of the anti-poverty movement. The site is operated by ONE staff, with guest contributions from ONE volunteers, members and allies.
The content of each post and each comment represents the views of that author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ONE. ONE does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office, and any post expressing support or opposition for a candidate is not endorsed by ONE.