Jan 23rd, 2012 3:00 PM UTC
By ONE Partners
Guest post by James Haga, Director of Advocacy at Engineers without Borders Canada.
Extreme poverty, the kind that deprives hard working people of their full potential, is an immediate reality for many. It is a real thing, gripping the lives of billions of people. The number is so massive that, for most of us, it loses meaning. Truth is, these are billions of individual human beings with their own unique hopes and aspirations, no different from you or I.
The realities of poverty force decisions upon people that I find unfathomable – decisions that for me would be an affront to my most basic expectations of a good life. It forces people to choose between buying medicine for a sick family member or paying school fees for a son or daughter. These are real decisions for many people.
With this in mind, last week over 600 members of Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) took to the streets of Canada’s capital city Ottawa, braving the snow and freezing temperatures, to send a clear message to the Government of Canada: let’s not turn our backs on the world’s poorest by cutting foreign aid spending.
Members of Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) take to the streets of Ottawa
Hundreds marched past Parliament Hill holding white balloons, en-route to Ottawa’s Byward Market. Each balloon kept afloat a handwritten note expressing why foreign aid is important to them. Once we’d gathered at the busy market, our team popped their balloons in unison, symbolizing what Canada and our developing country partners would lose if we cut our contribution to international development.
Canada’s foreign aid is facing the prospect of deep cuts – upwards of 10% – that could result in a reduction of $500 million dollars in foreign aid. That’s a huge amount of resources – resources which, when used effectively, can spark a transformative process as people work to lift themselves out of poverty. But what does a loss of that much aid actually mean?
It means that Canada will be investing less in smart approaches to health and agricultural challenges in the developing world, such as training for thousands of rural health care workers in Tanzania. It means turning our backs on the true champions of development – local leaders – who possess in abundance the passion, intellect and perseverance required to strengthen their communities, but often lack adequate resources to do so. And it means tarnishing our own position of leadership in the world – a position that is not only a beacon for Canadian values in the international community, but also serves to develop strategic, non-aid relationships with developing economies in order to maintain Canada’s own position of global prosperity.
At a time when Canada is navigating the global financial crisis better than almost all rich countries, EWB and ONE members are united in saying: now is not the time to balance our budget on the backs of the world’s poorest.
Please join us today in calling on the Canadian government to protect critical international development funding.
Jan 11th, 2012 5:22 PM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
At around just 2% of the annual federal budget, Canadian foreign aid is achieving real results in the lives of the world’s poor. From providing life-saving vaccines and treatment for deadly diseases, providing food aid to reduce starvation, to investing in agriculture and farming to fight poverty and hunger, it is making a massive difference.
But Canada’s spending on international development has been frozen for some time, and there are now discussions to cut that budget even more as the government looks for ways to reduce the deficit.
The petition reads:
Dear Prime Minister Harper,
As you make what are difficult choices for the 2012-2013 federal budget, please protect critical international development funding that saves lives and helps the world’s poor pull themselves out of poverty.
Cuts to programs that fight global poverty won’t balance the budget, but they will risk slowing progress on Canada’s international development priorities and the success of existing programs that make a real difference to people in developing countries.
Please join me in taking action today.
Thanks for all you do.
Dec 21st, 2011 11:14 AM UTC
By ONE Partners
Guest post by James Haga from Engineers without Borders Canada.
Canadian foreign aid can be truly transformational when used in a smart way – it can save lives, help put children through school, and create the opportunities needed for millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty.
Consider, for example, the impact of Canada’s leadership at the 2010 G8 Summit. By drawing the attention of world leaders and shining a spotlight on the critical and under-served issue of maternal, newborn and child health, over $7 billion in new funding has been secured for these programs, resulting in a healthier, more productive future for millions of people. To help ensure international donors follow through on their commitments to developing countries and maximize value for money, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper serves as co-chair of the UN Commission on Accountability and Transparency.
In recent years, Canada’s premier development agency CIDA has committed to important measures to make Canada’s foreign aid more efficient, focused and accountable. Most recently, the Minister of International Cooperation, the Honourable Bev Oda, announced that Canada has joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a commendable move that will strengthen the transparency of information on Canadian aid.
While these concrete steps have resulted in Canada accomplishing more with its existing aid, it’s currently unclear what effect the global economic uncertainty will have on future aid spending. In view of the Government of Canada’s commitment to reigning in their deficit, the 2012-2013 foreign aid budget runs the risk of being sharply reduced.
This is why ONE and Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) have teamed up to ask that Canada’s effective foreign aid spending be spared from looming cuts. In advance of the final budget being presented in early March, 2012, we’ll be working with our members across the country to ask that Canada fulfill its responsibility to the world’s poor by maintaining its current aid spending.
- James Haga
Dec 12th, 2011 12:00 AM UTC
By Kelly Hauser
Despite significant progress in global food security since the beginning of the 2009 L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, many developing countries are not on track to meeting Millennium Development Goal 1 – halving hunger and extreme poverty. However, next week donor countries have a once-in-3 years opportunity to accelerate progress toward this goal through replenishment of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Watch this video to learn how IFAD-funded farmer field schools are making a difference in the lives of women in Zanzibar
On December 15 -16, IFAD member countries will meet in Rome and make pledges to cover the next 3 years of IFAD operations and lending. ONE supports robust “replenishment” pledges to IFAD for three main reasons: (1) the Fund’s mandate to reduce rural poverty through women, small-scale agriculture and rural development, (2) it is one of the more effective institutions working towards food security, and (3) it is a model of efficiency in international development.
Its mandate. Holding dual status as a UN agency and an international financial institution, IFAD focuses on small-scale farmers exclusively, thus playing a unique role in the global food security architecture. To date, IFAD has empowered more than 370 million rural poor people to make better lives for themselves and leveraged US$19.7 billion in co-financing for its projects. In 2010 alone, IFAD reached 43 million rural poor people.
Its effectiveness. According to a recent report, IFAD has strong monitoring and evaluation, aligns its aid with national development strategies, and performs very strongly in financial accountability and transparency. Additionally, because IFAD projects coordinate multiple donors, IFAD 9 gives donors an avenue to maintain their commitments to strategic coordination and the improvement of multilateral institutions. All this means that IFAD is one of the most effective agencies out there working on agriculture.
Its efficiency. In the Center for Global Development’s 2011 QuODA database, IFAD ranked in the top four aid institutions globally on indicators related to “maximizing efficiency.” Additionally, IFAD has continuously improved its already efficient model of operations. Likewise, the ratio of its overhead expenses has improved recently, shrinking from 16% in 2008 to a projected 12% in 2012. In times of tight donor budgets, countries should prioritize efficiency when investing resources.
For these reasons, the Cannes G20 Summit called on countries for a successful 9th replenishment of IFAD. In ONE’s view, donors should make pledges at or above the levels of those made during its last replenishment. This will ensure that some small-scale farmers continue to get the support they need to farm their way out of poverty.
During the last replenishment (IFAD 8), donors recognized the important role that IFAD plays in global food security, and they made substantial increases in their pledges for IFAD 8. We must keep those up. The leading replenishment pledges in IFAD 8 were:
Although many donors, like Canada, are currently struggling to meet domestic obligations, they must not forget the world’s poorest, who often live in rural areas and suffer from what Roger Thurow has called the “tragic truism” of hungry farmers, i.e. those that grow food should not go to bed hungry. IFAD can help right this tragic truism and move us closer to meeting MDG 1. Thus, ONE calls on IFAD member countries to replenish IFAD at or above IFAD 8 levels next week in Rome. And we’ll be watching to see if they do.
If you are a Canadian citizen, call or send an email to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through Tuesday, December 13th at (819) 997-5456 or email@example.com to voice your support of IFAD, small-scale farmers and rural poverty reduction.
Aug 11th, 2011 3:48 PM UTC
By Maura Daley
The U2 360° Tour may be over but the memories are still fresh for the amazing ONE members who helped out around the world. One such volunteer from the show in Moncton, Canada wrote about his experience.
Ah eloquence. How I wish it didn’t squeeze out from between my fingers so easily. How easily the emotions can run out and release like a stream into the ocean of the brain. How difficult it is to recreate the spirituality of a moment. Impossible nearly. Impossible to tell you what it feels like to stand on a stage in front of 80,000 people while your favorite band plays an emotional song behind you, while the drums pound the ground and in turn the steel web of the floor, and in turn the soles of your feet, and in turn the very soul of your soul. You giggle and the tears stream down your face at once. This, I hope everyone experiences.
I hope everyone experiences not necessarily standing on the stage but the emotional and spiritual sort of release that simultaneously makes you feel as human as it makes you feel bigger than life as it makes you feel as though you are quite certainly the smallest and most insignificant particle of dust in a giant universe. Unfortunately, with or without U2 or music of any kind or art or a standing on top of a mountain or a family’s love or anything else that sets one’s soul ablaze, there are 40,000 people that die every day, most having never known that sort of moment. Tuberculosis, Malaria, HIV, Cholera, hosts of others: horrible, preventable afflictions that needlessly take the lives of the extremely poor and not the relatively wealthy, stealing opportunities to experience both the kind of awesome power and the quiet mundane that those of us in the developed world get to experience.
A few days ago, I was asked to write about why I volunteered for ONE at the final show of the U2360° tour in Moncton, New Brunswick. I sat stumped for days while I claimed business. I searched for eloquence. I searched for a way to reconcile my selfishness of putting an equal priority on signing up new members to a cause that I believe to be of the utmost importance with walking on the stage in front of my peers, fellow constituents, foreign nationals, elders, strangers, and idols. For anyone who has seen a U2360° show, the volunteers for ONE and Amnesty International leave their mark: During Walk On, they walk out onto the stage; during the first leg of the tour to wear the mask of Aung San Suu Kyi, the since released Burmese political prisoner guilty of nothing but winning an election. While the goal is obviously to sign up new members for ONE, this is no tiny carrot to dangle in front of a U2 fan.
Our day started at 1pm in the pouring rain. We met the other 28 volunteers at the front gate and walked past the dripping wet masses into the concert grounds. We slogged through the rain and puddles and mud down to the ONE tent, located just to the outside of the grandstands. We were giving our marching orders and gear, with the soundtrack of Arcade Fire’s soundcheck ringing in our ears. Having volunteered at a couple of 360° shows before, I knew a few tricks about how and where to sign up new members. After trudging back out to the line for a few signatures, we went inside prior to their arrival to the pitch. Once inside, we went to the inner circle, empty of people other than security guards and the band Carney, who were soundchecking at the time. We huddled beneath one of the massive legs of the stage, trying futilely to escape the driving rain. Not missing an opportunity, we signed up all of the security guards who had the same (bad) idea.
For the next 5 hours, we met very little resistance to our cause: It’s amazing how agreeable everyone is once the rain has cleared off and they’ve gotten a nice spot to stand about 8 feet away from the stage. We could have sold them vacuum cleaners. One guy from Ontario proclaimed “This is the greatest day of my life!” and then requested that I give him a hug. I obliged. Then signed him up. I found a friend and signed him up, and his wife, and his friend, and his friend’s wife. I met a group from the UK, a group from Iceland, another from Brazil. Plenty from the United States from California to Maine, and the most from Canada. The Canadians lived up to their reputation for being the kindest people in the world. Those who hadn’t heard of ONE didn’t hesitate after having heard ten seconds of my thirty second pitch. The few who were reluctant eventually bent. One way or another I would find resonance, global cause or personal.
I was lucky my iPad held up to the downpour. My girlfriend, who is a saint, wasn’t so lucky. There are restrictions to using technology to sign people up rather than the good old pen and paper. She retreated to home base without me, and without anything to do decided to flip badges and start signing up new people for Amnesty international (saint!), who still subscribed to the method of the scribe. After a very successful run there, explaining the missions of both Amnesty and ONE (since she still had the shirt on), she finally took a break and ate. I spotted her sitting in the bleachers alone and tried to wave (despite looking like a donkey, no doubt) while I worked through Carney’s set. For 5 straight hours I signed people up. It flew by while I was making new friends, discussing how far they’d traveled, how excited they were, how soaked they were, and how little they minded. I didn’t eat or drink or use the restroom. And I loved every minute of it. In the end, both her and I did indeed get tapped to participate in the show, as you may have guessed.
So why did I volunteer for ONE? I did it because I was needed. I did it because it was the right thing to do. I did it because there was no choice. I did it to be a voice for those who have none. I did it because I got to meet hundreds of fantastic people, including the new members, the locals, my fellow volunteers, and U2′s personnel. I did it because I got to go on stage with U2! I did it because I got to share an amazing, unforgettable, indescribable moment with 80,000 people, my beautiful woman, and 4 very, very good Irishmen. So is there any real need to reconcile this? Selfish or unselfish or a mix of both? Immaterial. Nothing to do but leave it behind.
Aug 4th, 2011 3:35 PM UTC
By Maura Daley
Last Saturday the U2 360° Tour finished on a high in Moncton, Canada. As always, I was joined at the show by an amazing group of ONE volunteers who took time out of their busy lives to help sign up new members to the fight against extreme poverty. One such volunteer was Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy who kindly described her experience.
ONE Members Elise D’Arcy, Channing Love, Monika Stelzl, Mark D’Arcy and Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy
On July 30, I was lucky enough to be asked to volunteer with the ONE campaign at U2′s last show of the U2 360° Tour! My family and I have been big supporters of the ONE Campaign since the beginning, and I have had a ONE and Product (RED) awareness day once a week at my office from the beginning (my staff and I wear ONE or Product (RED) t-shirts at my dental office and educate our patients about what they stand for).
Volunteering with ONE was a dream come true for me, and I was lucky enough to be able to recruit 8 more volunteers: my husband Mark, daughter Elise and a few friends (Monika, Matt, Krista, Emma and Aidan). Even though it poured during the first few hours and a many iPads stopped working because of all the water, 25 ONE volunteers had a great day of awareness raising, and managed to sign up 2,563 new ONE members! Volunteers who lost their iPads and could not accumulate sign-ups continued to distribute leaflets and wristbands, so that even more people learned about the campaign! We hope that some of these people signed up on their own after the show!
It was important for me to share this day of volunteering with family, old friends and new ones. Most of us are big U2 fans, and this activity augmented our U2 experience: we were able to give back and help with such an important cause started by Bono, when we all feel that U2 gives so much to people.
I was able to score a lot of new sign-ups and I was one of the lucky ones who was selected to go on stage with an Amnesty International lantern during the song Walk On. What a way to end an amazing tour!
I hope to be able to volunteer again at future music events, not just U2 ones!
Still on cloud nine,
Jul 18th, 2011 6:23 PM UTC
By Maura Daley
Earlier this month the U2 360° Tour was in Montreal, where I was lucky to meet Cindy and Sharon, two best friends from Ontario who are united in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.
They kindly agreed to tell us about their experience at the shows and why they joined ONE.
ONE members Cindy (left) and Sarah at the U2 show in Montreal
I am a happily married, mother of two young boys who recognizes how incredibly blessed I am in life. It’s important to me personally and actually is one of our values as a family that we give back to this world any time we have an opportunity to do so. As a huge follower and fan of U2 for over 25 years now (I can hardly believe that), I am always inspired and challenged by their music to use what I have been given to make a difference in the world. The ONE campaign has created an incredible way for people like myself to be able to use something we ALL have to make that difference – Our Voice. Whether rich or poor, young or old, ONE provides a way where people can rally together to impact the lives of people they may never meet. When you have millions of people use their voice in a unified front to say we want to see change, there is power. To volunteer for ONE and give people the opportunity to join forces with the already 2.5 million plus members of this group was an honor. It was a day that I will cherish and never forget.
We had planned on being in Montreal for the Friday night show so when the opportunity came up to volunteer for ONE on Saturday we jumped at the chance. I have been tracking with and been a member of ONE since its beginning and therefore having the opportunity to volunteer for ONE was so exciting. I am currently a nursing student and I have a special interest in maternal and child health in the developing world and I am hoping to be able to travel and utilize my nursing skills in the future. Having the opportunity to speak with people about global health issues was a fantastic experience. Being from Ontario, I studied French all the way through primary and high school. However I hadn’t really spoken French for quite some time and I hadn’t really factored this in when I signed up to volunteer! I did my best to converse in French and people were so gracious and appreciative of the effort! I was pleasantly surprised by how much French I was able to recall and I was able to sign up 145 members that day! U2 has always been my favourite band and they have always inspired me not only with their music, but with regard to social justice issues so having the chance to volunteer for ONE, the group founded by Bono was quite literally a dream come true. Working with the other volunteers and Maura Daley (who is incredibly motivating and whose enthusiasm is contagious) made me feel like I wasn’t just at a U2 show, but like I had an important purpose and made me feel connected to a larger global community. I would highly recommend being a ONE volunteer to anyone and I hope to have the opportunity in the future to volunteer for ONE again in some capacity. It was an amazing experience I will never forget!
Jul 13th, 2011 1:20 PM UTC
By Maura Daley
The U2 360° Tour made a stop in Montreal last week for two fantastic shows and ONE volunteers were able to sign up just shy of 6500 new ONE members!
ONE volunteer Chris Serratore came out for both shows and signed up over 300 new members over the two days. Here are a few words from Chris about the experience….
Well it was reminiscent of the movie field of dreams, “if you build it he will come”. In this case it was not a corn field, but a defunct Hippodrome site, and Bono played the role of Shoeless Joe. The U2 360° Tour took over the old Hippodrome site in Montreal – brought in the Claw – and created their own playing field, attracting over 80,000 fans each night.
Our enthusiastic team of ONE volunteers assembled just as the sound check was underway. Everyone listened intently as Maura Daley turned up the volume and instructed us in the school of ONE 101. The goal, get out there into the crowds, and encourage as many people as possible to become members of ONE. With Ipads in hand, the teams of ONE volunteers headed out and signed up more than 6000 members at the Montreal shows.
Thanks to all those in the crowd that were willing to listen us, thanks to Maura for her leadership and thanks to Shoeless Joe and the U2 team for allowing us to come out and play in their field on 2 Beautiful Days.
Jun 3rd, 2011 9:44 PM UTC
By Maura Daley
The U2 360° Tour is now well and truly rocking in North America and, as with previous legs, I’ve meet some amazing ONE members along the way. One such person is Mark McCormack who volunteered at the show in Edmonton and kindly wrote about his experience:
Wow. ONE + The U2 360° Tour. What an experience. I’ve never been through something like that before.
Let me start by saying that I am proud of our ONE Team. There is something about working towards ending the worst forms of poverty that pulls sincerely good people together. That kind of energy is what I live for and it was in abundance between the 30 of us in Edmonton. Many of us had never met before, but there was an instant feeling for me that I knew everyone on a deeper level. We knew what we had to do (I didn’t think the coordinators were going to be so clear and informative and entertaining! Special thanks to Maura for getting us all together and feeling as ONE).
The ONE team in Edmonton
Even the shy ones amongst us gave it their all. At one point there was a little bit of a break as we had engaged most of the people on the grounds. I should have taken that time to relax and eat a little because then it picked up again and didn’t slow down! My ipad skills are perfect now (we signed people up using ipads. Smart. Exactly what I expected from ONE). I informed and signed up 211 people using that baby. Here’s a tip if you want to make that level of impact: make eye contact with the people you are engaging with before you direct their attention to signing up . It creates a genuine connection where you can communicate the importance of the work of ONE.
We don’t want your money, we want your voice.
In one way I wanted to start this blog entry by gushing out all the surprises revealed to us, but I won’t ruin it for you. I’ll give you a hint: I thought we were going to keep signing people up even during the concert (I’m a workaholic)…but we did more than that…
And one volunteer was even waved at by Bono as the band drove by before the show. It’s good to know that people recognize a good ONE volunteer when they see them.
If you want to change the lives of 4 million children at risk of dying of stupid things like diarrhea, and if you want to change your own life radically for a day, I’d recommend volunteering with ONE as fast as you can. It was a blast!
Jun 27th, 2010 11:35 AM UTC
By Kimberly Hunter
Sheila Nix, our U.S. Executive Director, was featured on CBC’s The National as part of segment on maternal and child health. Sheila talked about her trip to Ghana and Sierra Leone, and how simple interventions can prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDs giving children a whole new lease on life.
You can watch the clip here.
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.