Dec 22nd, 2012 8:29 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest post from The Global Poverty Project‘s Michael Sheldrick:
Like many Australians, I am proud of our Government’s long-standing bipartisan policy of increasing foreign aid to fight extreme poverty around the world. That’s why it came as a complete shock and a disappointment to discover that it now intends to “divert” AU$375 million (US$390m) in funding from the foreign aid budget to pay for the processing of asylum seekers.
Lets be clear, the siphoning of hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid to pay for the Government’s own domestic budget is not on. The purpose of Australia’s foreign aid is to kick-start international development and improve the lives of the world’s poorest people.
Around the world more than 20,000 children still die each day due to simple causes that can be easily prevented, like diarrhoea. Millions of people live on less than $2 a day in our neighbouring countries like East Timor, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Australia’s foreign aid must reach those in need overseas.
The Australian Government currently only gives 35 cents in every $100 to assist those in poverty around the world. But what we do give makes a big difference and saves lives. Australian aid dollars have helped eradicate polio in the Western Pacific, put more than half a million children into school and is set to help immunise 7.7 million children over the next 4 years.
The vast majority of Australians support increasing foreign aid, but we also want to know that the money is reaching those who need it most in the poorest countries around the world.
Foreign aid should be putting children in schools around the world, not putting them in Australian detention centres. Millions of Australians, young and old, expect the funds to reach the world’s poor. And millions more of those living in poverty are depending on it.
Australia made the promise, on the global stage, to increase aid for the world’s poor; and we have been recognised by the UN as a world leader in fighting global poverty. This is a question of whether Australia can be trusted to keep its word.
Tweet the Treasurer Wayne Swan and Foreign Minister Bob Carr urging them to keep foreign aid focused on global poverty around the world and to not cut aid from overseas poverty programs:
May 2nd, 2012 4:15 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
The following is a blog from Michael Sheldrick ONE member and Policy Manager, Global Poverty Project.
I have great news, but some alarming news too. Smart aid from Australia is saving and transforming lives. We’ve reduced malaria rates in the Solomon Islands by more than half, enabled thousands of girls to go to school, saved countless lives and lifted millions of people out of extreme poverty. But right now this amazing progress is under threat as our Government is considering breaking its promise to the world’s poorest people.
The Government is looking for ways to bring the budget back into surplus next week, and reports suggest that smart aid is on the chopping block. The next few days are crucial. We’re asking ONE members in Australia to please send an urgent message to Wayne Swan to urge him not to cut aid.
To build on remarkable progress smart aid has achieved, the Labor Party promised at the last two elections to double international aid to 0.5% of Gross National Income by 2015. Or to put another way for it to reach just 50 cents in every $100 of Australia’s national income.
By keeping its promise to increase aid in this year’s budget, the Government will allow Australia to save the lives of an extra 500,000 people each year, vaccinate 7.7 million children against deadly diseases over the next 5 years, and help break the cycle of hunger and malnutrition in the world’s poorest communities. Please help ensure these vital goals are not derailed.
The Treasurer is faced with some tough choices as the Government tries to bring the budget into surplus. But Australia can afford to keep its promises to the world’s poorest. Although we were ranked as the second wealthiest country in the world in a report last year, our commitments put us in the bottom half of the wealthy nations that give aid. Others have kept their aid promises despite facing tougher economic conditions.
If enough Australian members email Wayne Swan in the next few days we can help ensure smart Australian aid continues to deliver amazing results, and that the budget isn’t balanced on the backs of the world’s poorest people.
Together as ONE we can make a difference.
Apr 20th, 2012 4:34 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
The following is a guest blog from Michael Sheldrick, Manager of Global Policy and Campaigns at the Global Poverty Project, an Australian-grown advocacy and public education organization working towards the ending of extreme poverty.
Right now, just as Australia begins to emerge as a significant actor in the fight against global poverty, there are rumors that a tightening Federal budget is placing at risk the Government’s long-standing bipartisan promise to increase Australia’s aid levels to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2015.
As the Government looks for ways to bring the budget back into surplus this year, there are real widespread fears that they could renege on their promise by pushing the 2015 deadline out by three-to-five years.
Photo: mothers wait in line to receive vaccines for their children: Australian aid promises to immunize 7.7 million children from killer diseases.
The Government went to the last two elections with a commitment to lift overseas aid expenditure from the equivalent of 35 cents to 50 cents in every $100 dollars of our national income by 2015. This doesn’t quite meet the amount required to reach the target of 0.7% of GNI set by the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, but it would bring Australia a whole lot closer, and would make the world of difference in countless lives around the world.
And what a difference Australian aid can make. Over the next four years alone, Australian aid promises to help immunize some 7.7 million children from killer diseases. Make no mistake, aid is a smart investment in our region and scaling back now would be a giant leap backwards for Australian efforts to play our part in helping to lift people out of the devastating cycle of poverty.
That’s why Global Poverty Project, together with most of Australia’s major aid agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations have launched a campaign calling on the Government to resist the temptation to balance its books on the back of the world’s poor.
We’ve been encouraging supporters to email, tweet and call the Treasurer Wayne Swan (@SwannyDPM), the man with ultimate responsibility over the Government’s purse. We’ve also been asking those concerned to tweet the hashtag #dontcutaid in a bid to get the issue on the national agenda. I would strongly encourage ONE members to add their support to this crucial campaign. This year’s budget is decided on May 8 so we only have the next few weeks to make our voices heard!
Suggested tweets – just click on the link to tweet!
As a wealthy country, there is simply no excuse for Australia to put aid on the backburner. There are major misconceptions about the proportion of Australia’s budget that goes toward foreign aid. But the truth of the matter is that every week, around $3.30 in taxes from each Australian pays for our aid program — about the cost of a cup of coffee. This means that as a country Australia gives less than 1% of our overall budget, placing us in the bottom third of wealthy countries in terms of how little we give in aid. We can and should be doing better.
Jun 13th, 2011 11:20 AM UTC
By David Cole
Prior to the historic vaccines pledging conference, which is taking place today in London, the Australian government yesterday announced that it will give AUD$200 million over 3 years to fund lifesaving vaccines in developing countries.
This announcement shows incredible leadership from the Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, and is a fantastic start to the conference.
Responding to the news, ONE’s co-founder Bono said yesterday:
“Rudd has proven today that he, Prime Minister Gillard and the Australian public are ready to show global leadership, tackling one of the most needless killers of kids…lack of access to vaccinations for the poorest of the poor. This will be known as the decade of vaccines. Vaccinations are cheap, effective technologies that will, with this kind of leadership, save 4 million lives by 2015. This is not daydreaming by activists. This is a costed, well thought out plan, one of the most exciting things the ONE campaign has ever been involved in”.
In the run up to the announcement ONE members in Australia sent emails and made phone calls to Mr. Rudd to help convince him to make the right decision.
The Australian government’s decision shows that it realises that the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations (GAVI) is one of the best examples of smart, innovative aid. Vaccines deliver measurable and cost-effective results. They save millions of children whose future potential, creativity and intellect will drive development in their countries and make vulnerable regions of our world more secure.
Thank you to all ONE members who helped make this happen.
With this positive announcement from Australia and other commitments coming in thick and fast this morning momentum is building. Watch the ONE blog for more news soon.
Dec 17th, 2010 1:19 PM UTC
By Maura Daley
Oprah Winfrey wasn’t the only star in Sydney this week…ONE Members were also making a splash! Over 50 passionate men and women volunteered their time over the course of two U2 shows in the city and did an amazing job, signing up nearly 5,000 new members to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.
ONE members in Sydney
ONE Member, Jane Flack, who signed up over 200 new members, shared her thoughts and feelings post show day. Here’s what she had to say:
I felt very humbled being a part of the ONE team working as a Downunder volunteer at U2′s Sydney gig. Global action – that’s what I love about being a part of ONE – and it was actually really exciting reminding people just how powerful their involvement is in something so valuable to many people across the globe. A fun afternoon was had and I creatively used humor as an icebreaker and in many cases as a ‘glue’ to bond. Thanks Maura.
And “Thanks” to all the other Sydney ONE volunteers for their encouraging smiles.
Thanks ONE, and U2 as well for coming to Sydney – it gave us this opportunity to finally volunteer for ONE and get their great message out and belong talked about!!!
Jane also gave her tips for signing up new ONE members:
- don’t be afraid to approach people – they won’t bite – in fact they can be very receptive if you have a smile on your face and most importantly, that smile emanates from your eyes. If you’ve intro’d yourself to them with your name and just why you’re there most people sign straight away in a heartbeat.
- I always excused myself when I approached a group dynamic and asked if they would mind if I bothered them for 5 minutes of their time.” Rarely did they.
- I always thanked them with a big smile and an “enjoy tonight” or “enjoy the concert, it’s going to be fantastic/wild/an incredible night!” regardless of whether they’d signed or not.
- those who were attending from other countries (I signed some from Spain, Brazil and Colombia) I did my best to utilize my cheeky Spanish skills (“hola”, “guapa”, “Madrilheno”) – as well as quite a few colloquialisms to the local lads (“thanks mate, greatly appreciated” or “thank heavens it’s not a scorcher today” – some local empathic lingo is a connector).
- while signing people, I’d sometimes recognize a post code (and say something a little familiar about it “oh, you’re on my side of the bridge, we’re probably neighbors’” and they’d always ask me where I’m from – which is heartening/warming because it’s connecting)
- those that respond with a “no” or “not interested” invariably call/wave you back over quietly if/when you’ve just signed the group next to them.
- I told almost everyone I signed just how powerful their individual voice actually is – I implored them to understand we are all a part of VERY connected humanity and a fluid conduit in action – and if it wasn’t for people such as themselves creating a bigger global voice then One wouldn’t have their work cut out for them….
- I reassured them that we will never ask for any money from them – that immediately put people’s minds at ease.
- And finally (particularly after gates open and everyone’s rushing to get here, there and everywhere to get in, meet their friends, get food etc) – if you’re a multi-tasker ie. can walk, talk and i-pad sign up all at the same time (which I can) – I did exactly that. I asked people if I could join them on their walk to the gate/meeting point they’re going to for 5 minutes about joining ONE. No one had a problem with that as long as I was able to keep up (which I did, no probs), keep half an eye on the ground so as to not trip over, type in their details and ask the others in their group if I could add their voices to our global network.
Dec 13th, 2010 11:00 AM UTC
By Maura Daley
Brisbane, our second stop on the Australian leg of the U2 360° Tour, was yet another success. The rain moved out, the sun came out, the humidity rose along with the number of new ONE members! Over the course of the shows, 55 dedicated ONE’rs came out to recruit new advocates in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease. Those 55 superstar ONE’rs were able to sign-up just shy of 6,000 new members….an amazing job!
ONE members in Brisbane
ONE members, Ben Lynskey and Angela Leco-De-Latombel, shared their thoughts on why they joined ONE and how they were spreading awareness at the U2 shows. Here’s what they had to say…
Thank you again to each and every ONE member who came out to the shows and dedicated an entire day’s work to help fight for the world’s poorest people. Each of you are an inspiration!
Dec 7th, 2010 10:00 AM UTC
By Maura Daley
The U2 360° shows in Melbourne have come and gone and what a great start to the Australian portion of the tour. Over the course of the 2 shows, we had 41 dedicated ONE members who were able to recruit roughly 5,000 new Members. What an awesome job they did.
ONE volunteers at the U2 show in Melbourne
One of my favourite things to do at the end of the “work day” is to talk to ONE members and get their feelings on how the day went. Just getting an understanding if their experiences… talking about ONE, our mission, what it’s like to be a ONE member, and how it was getting new folks to join. Hearing their stories and experiences gives me great joy and I’m proud to be associated with each of them. So I thought I’d include excerpts from 3 ONE members, post volunteering at the Melbourne shows.
I would just like to thank you so much for such a wonderful experience. I awoke this morning with a smile on my face and it made my day that much extra special. So some 24 hours have passed and I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am that my life crossed paths directly with yours and the team from ONE. Love and a big hug to you.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with not only yourself but all the other people involved with ONE. It is something I will take to my grave with me. I have been inspired by the people on Wednesday and by your enthusiasm and work you do for ONE.
Thanks Maura…it was unreal and exhausting day. It was an awesome experience. As usual U2 fans were on the whole great. it was a fantastic experience and it was great meeting the other volunteers as well as Maura and the other tour staff. Tips I have for others…
- Listen to Maura’s instructions
- Be prepared for the weather
- Be outgoing
- Read up on ONE (I studied the night before)
- Tell people you just need their voice/electronic signature…they will not be spammed
- Respect and thank people who have signed even if not with you
- Respect those who say no
- Read the one blog…there’s tips on there too
- Have fun
I want to thank all the members in Melbourne who came out in support of ONE. The work they did was outstanding and they should be proud. I also want to thank each and every new ONE member that signed up at the shows. We look forward to working together with you in the future!
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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