On Saturday 1 December I attended ONE shot – it was a really valuable and enjoyable experience. When you spend your time signing petitions, writing to your MP, and campaigning or fundraising on your own or with only a few other people, it’s very easy to look at the news and feel as though you aren’t making any difference. ONE shot provided a great remedy to this, as I got to meet loads of other like-minded students and learned a lot more about the wider picture; what ONE does with its funding, exactly how it campaigns, and what a huge difference that makes.
Before I attended the conference I didn’t feel confident about the contributions I was making in the fight against extreme poverty. But I quickly realised that what I already do, such as sharing petitions, writing letters and getting involved in the local community, is really important. Without people raising their voices on ground level, changes at the top would never happen. It’s what people power is all about.
Being interested in campaign methods and ways of communicating messages to a wide audience, I signed up to workshops on lobbying and using the media. Both were really helpful and interesting. Having a blog, or a twitter account, can prove to be a really powerful tool. It was great to watch all our #ONEshot tweets mounting up in real time on the big screen. I thought about how within minutes of the NHS reform risk assessment being leaked on twitter earlier this year, I (along with millions of other people), had a copy of a government document saved on my desktop. One person did that. The internet is incredibly democratising, and especially useful for campaigning. I came away feeling motivated and inspired.
The next few years of increasing austerity are going to be really important in establishing what our priorities are as a country, and how we want the UK to be seen in the wider world. Personally I would much rather people connected my country with the fight against extreme poverty, than the financial centre; home of credit and bankers. That’s why it’s important that we make sure David Cameron keeps his promise to spend 0.7% of national income on aid in 2013. I’m going to keep tweeting, writing, and if necessary, shouting next year to help make this reality.
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.
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