Jan 7th, 2013 3:12 PM UTC
By Claire Hazelgrove
2013 will be one of the biggest years in the fight against extreme poverty since millions wore a white band, and hundreds of thousands marched in Edinburgh as part of Make Poverty History, and thousands attended Live 8 concerts throughout the world in 2005.
We need you to be a big part of this.
This year will hopefully see the UK Government hit the UN’s target of spending just 0.7% of national income on international aid – that’s less than a penny in the pound.
The UK will also Chair the G8 this summer – the first time since Gleneagles in 2005 – and we have a real chance to call for leadership in changing lives and stabilising communities in some of the world’s poorest countries.
With election season moving over to Germany this year, we’re hoping to see strong commitments to keep promises to the world’s poor from all candidates.
But it won’t happen without your help. Please email 5 friends right now, and make asking them to join ONE your New Year’s resolution.
As a ONE member, you helped us achieve so much in 2012. Thank you:
Thank you for all you’ve done so far – each petition, letter and tweet really does count.
We want 2013 to be much bigger. So please do ONE small thing today, and email 5 friends, family members or colleagues, and ask them to join you in the fight against extreme poverty.
I look forward to working with you in 2013!
Dec 5th, 2012 1:07 PM UTC
By Malaka Gharib
Positive-Generation, a Cameroon-based advocacy organization that fights for health rights for HIV-positive people, received the $100,000 prize for the 2012 ONE Africa Award today at the GAVI Alliance Partners Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The annual award is given to the African organisation that shows the most promise in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Dr. Sipho Moyo, ONE’s Africa Director said, ” I continue to be awed by how much Africa contributes towards it’s own progress and that of mankind. Africa is rising against all odds, led by its own innovative indigenous solutions. We gather today to celebrate the contribution of an organization that is one among many, that are a leading light on this journey of socio-economic transformation and empowerment in Africa. It’s our great privilege to offer the 2012 ONE Africa Award to Positive-Generation”.
A crowd of guests from the GAVI Partners Forum, Tanzanian journalists, local ONE volunteers, ONE staffers from Johannesburg, DC and London, attended the Africa Award ceremony. The Honorable Zitto Kabwe and GAVI Alliance Chair Dagfinn Hoybraten gave remarks on ONE’s work on the continent.
The effectiveness of advocacy was the recurring theme of the event. Positive-Generation (PG) Executive Director Fogué Foguitoexplained that “advocacy allows [HIV-positive] people to participate in the decision-making process in their lives,” both empowering them, creating a sense of community and ensuring their rights to HIV treatment.
“We dedicate this prize to all those who struggle for freedom, social justice and particularly to the young Africans who are engaged daily to improve the living conditions of their fellow citizens,” he said.
ONE was praised for our advocacy work by both Mr. Kabwe and Mr. Hoybraten. Mr. Kabwe said that our through policy intervention on the continent is the reason why he’s been “supporting ONE all the way” and signing our petitions.
Mr. Hoybraten discussed the critical need for advocacy in global health development. “The fact that this year’s winner focuses on innovative advocacy for health makes this an even more special occasion,” he said. “Innovation is what GAVI is all about – from technological innovations in vaccines and vaccine delivery, to GAVI’s public-private business model. And good health, particularly through immunization, is key to economic development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.”
He also reflected on ONE’s work in calling on world leaders to fund GAVI last year, and thanked ONE members for advocating for vaccines.
To find out what Positive-Generation plans to do with the prize money, read our interview with Fogué. For specific updates, photos and quotes from today’s events, read live blog of the Africa Award ceremony here.
Join us in congratulating Positive-Generation by leaving a comment and liking their Facebook page.
Nov 27th, 2012 3:36 PM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
You might have seen in news from Brussels last Friday that leaders from the 27 different EU countries were unable to come to an agreement on the next seven-year budget. Negotiations will now continue into next year.
The good news is we now have a chance to reverse devastating cuts proposed to EU aid spending. These cuts would have cost lives and decimated vital funds that could have a transformative effect on people – connecting up to 51 million people to clean drinking water, vaccinating 9 million children and helping 15 million kids get an education in just 7 years.
There is now a chance to go back to the drawing board, rebalance the debate and protect the tiny proportion of the EU budget spent on life saving aid.
ONE members helped to generate real momentum. Over 166,000 people signed the petition, with 50,000 in the last two weeks alone. We delivered ONE members’ voices to all 27 leaders in the days leading up to the negotiations, and the European Parliament’s President mentioned ONE explicitly in his opening remarks. And although the Summit didn’t take the step forward we hoped for, we did avoid a disastrous step back.
So the fight to protect lifesaving EU aid continues. As the key moments become clearer over the next few weeks we will let you know what actions you can take. We’ve built real pressure on this issue so far. By continuing to join forces we can help ensure the right results are achieved to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people escape extreme poverty.
Together we can win this fight.
Nov 22nd, 2012 12:52 PM UTC
By Isabelle De Lichtervelde
In 2008, when food prices soared, donors looked for smart ideas to help vulnerable communities cope by boosting local food production and enabling them to earn enough money to buy food and save for when times are tight.
One such smart idea was in Kenya, where a EU and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization funded radio show promoted better farming techniques amongst a dispersed rural population. The results simply changed lives.
Piloted across 14 districts in the Rift Valley Province in Kenya, a region with high potential for dairy farming, the four-month radio series shared techniques for improving dairy farming with as wide an audience as possible, including women with children and young people. The long term goal was to improve household incomes and living standards.
Mr. Isaac Ngetich, a farmer from Koibatek District explains, “Our region has a high potential for dairy farming which is not being fully exploited. The radio programmes have helped us.” He continues, “Through the programme I won a prize for best farmer as I moved from getting 3 litres of milk to 4, 5, 7 and 10. I have established 2 acres of pasture and have learnt the value of keeping good records to monitor performance and identify areas for improvement in animal management.”
The programmes also offered practical tips such as how to produce silage to feed livestock. After listening to the radio programme and later seeing a demonstration of a chaff cutter (a device for cutting straw and hay), Isaac decided to make his own. “Now I am able to cut enough grass for my animals and sell what is left.”
The series was a great success, with up to 1.2 million listeners each week. “When the radio programme started, I bought a radio and followed the programmes wherever I was. I would take notes and try to follow the guidelines given on the radio. My milk production moved from 15 litres to 36 litres,” Isaac Rotich, Chairperson of Muserechi Young Farmers says. “I am not employed anywhere else but I am able to pay fees for my children comfortably.”
Paul Cheruiyot, Chairperson of Torongo Farmers’ Cooperative (Dairy) observes, “Since our establishment, our main challenge has been how to reduce milk rejection which has been rising over the years and in 2009 peaked at 2000 litres per day. Through the programme, our members now engage in clean milk production and at long last have reduced rejection from 2000 litres to 100 litres.”
In the internet age, the programme shows how radio still has the power to change lives on a huge scale. “The radio programme can reach the owner, the workers and the family all at the same time,” says Cheruiyot. “As a result of this reduction in rejected milk, our members are better off.”
The improved levels of dairy production and reduced levels of rejection have meant more money in the pockets of rural farmers including women. This has led to the establishment of a Savings and Credit Society which will help rural farmers put money aside and protects themselves better from future food price hikes.
With this pilot being such a success, another radio programme has been set up and is now running in 10 other districts across Kenya . Similar types of radio programmes are also currently being set up in arid and semi-arid areas under the EU-funded Kenya Rural Development Programme and the Kenyan government is supporting similar initiatives.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Achieving food security for all is at the heart of the FAO’s efforts – to make sure people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. Visit the FAO website.
Nov 16th, 2012 4:17 PM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
Founded in 1997 and formally registered as a Community Based Organization in 1999, a group of small-scale farmers in rural Western Kenya established MFCG with the mission to protect and conserve Kakamega Forest. Kakamega Forest, covering an area of 240 km2 and containing more than a thousand unique species of flora and fauna, is Kenya’s last remaining rainforest, which was once part of the vast equatorial Congo-Guinean forest that stretched from the continent’s Atlantic coast to its Indian one. The farmers that founded MFCG saw an acute, urgent need to raise awareness in the local communities of the dire state of the forest and to support the local and national governments’ efforts to conserve the forest.
MFCG initially began by using traditional advocacy methods to reach out to their communities to educate them about the forest. It wasn’t easy at first in trying to share the message that the forest had to be protected. In particular, MFCG had to convey the intense pressure Kakamega Forest had come under over the years due to the growing and increasingly impoverished population found in western Kenya. The forest was a readily available, go-to resource for firewood, game meat, and wild fruit and vegetables. While the local population had lived off the forest and its abundance for millennia, it was now becoming obvious that the forest would perish under the relenting demand for human growth and development. MFCG’s founding farmers quickly discovered that their goal of conserving the forest seemed to contravene their fellow community members’ most basic and overwhelming instincts for survival—often without regard for the environmental cost.
At this point, it dawned on MFCG that it must tie the preservation of the forest to the economic interests of its surrounding communities. Consequently, MFCG changed its approach and began highlighting how the communities relied on the forest for their survival and that if the forest were no longer there, how would the community survive? By underscoring the impending loss of these traditional natural resources, MFCG began changing the attitudes of the forest’s human communities. This and other activities increased MFCG’s credibility and eventually led to its recognition by outside organizations.
In 2000, MFCG began partnering with organizations like ICIPE, a Kenyan scientific research institute focused on using science to discover natural resources that could be developed and commercialized to promote the conservation of endangered environmental hotspots. ICIPE was and still is particularly concerned about those areas with an abundance of biodiversity and ecologically sensitive organisms. Having heard about MFCG’s efforts to conserve Kakamega Rainforest, ICIPE wanted to know if there were any particular traditional plants that the communities around Kakamega used. ICIPE and MFCG eventually settled upon the wild ocimum kilimandscharicum plant, which had been traditionally used to treat insect bites, muscle aches, colds and nasal congestion. ICIPE soon determined the active compound in the plant and began testing different products in which it could be commercialized. In the meantime, MFCG had to domesticate the plant so it could encourage farmers to grow the plant in order to provide enough of it to ICIPE as it began zeroing in on the best applications for its essential oils and extracts.
Fast forward a few years and MFCG now has 460 farmers growing ocimum, which provides an additional income to the farmer and creates employment at local processing and collection centers. The ocimum is distilled in Kakamega to its essential oils and crystals, which are then transported to Nairobi to be manufactured into the Naturub® brand of balms and ointments that are sold in stores and pharmacies throughout Kenya. Naturub® products can be most likened to Vick’s Vapor Rub® in the United States and elsewhere. Ocimum contains natural camphor, a compound that when inhaled helps clear nasal congestion and colds. It also can reduce inflammation and aches related to insect bites and muscle soreness. Moreover, MFCG, ICIPE and their commercial partners are exploring additional products to be produced from ocimum and other traditional plants from Kakamega.
Before MFCG had begun its work with the ocimum plant, 40% of the households surrounding Kakamega Forest had no sustainable source of income. Those households now participating in MFCG’s activities have a regular income, which puts their children in schools and provides food and shelter amongst other life necessities. MFCG can directly ties its activities and efforts to all of the world’s Millennium Development Goals. In particular, we at ONE acknowledge that MFCG is particularly effective at MDG 7 (ensuring environmental sustainability) while the income MFCG’s members earn enable them to eradicate extreme poverty (MDG 1), educate their children (MDG 2) and seek any necessary health treatments (MDGs 4, 5 & 6).
We’re proud to have MFCG as a finalist for this year’s ONE Africa Award!
Nov 2nd, 2012 1:00 PM UTC
By Adrian Lovett
A world in which 870 million people are chronically undernourished is not best served by small thinking. That’s why it is entirely fitting that in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, David Cameron sets out a vision to make this the generation that eradicates absolute poverty. What seemed a few decades ago to be an idle pipedream is now tantalisingly possible, with a surge of political will and resources in the coming years. The fact that Cameron has articulated this goal, when economic austerity and cynicism with politics makes some view such ambition with scepticism, is a very good sign. He knows such a goal is achievable and appears ready to play his part to make it happen.
But Cameron has done more than set a lofty goal. He has articulated a distinct approach to poverty reduction – the ‘golden thread’ – which argues if societies are to move from poverty to prosperity, they need to have the right institutions and governance arrangements in place, with people empowered to face the challenges and seize the opportunities that they face in their daily lives.
So far, so good. The notion may be open to misinterpretation by some, but the ‘golden thread’ combines conviction and common-sense. So if genius, as Thomas Edison remarked, is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration, the Prime Minister can probably tick off the first half of the formula. But to realise the potential of the smart approach he champions in pursuit of the big vision he has described, he and his team now need to break a sweat.
The leadership challenge is to flesh out the ‘golden thread’ with ambitious policy changes and a diplomatic plan to sell them on the world stage. Neither of these challenges is straightforward but Britain is in a unique position to deliver on them in 2013, thanks to a series of leadership moments where extreme poverty will be centre stage. Each of them will require a carefully constructed alliance of leaders from across the world, from governments, multilateral institutions and civil society. If Cameron can meet five tests in 2013, he will have a justified claim to a place in the history of the fight against poverty.
The first test is to maintain the UK’s commitment to meet the internationally agreed spending target of 0.7% of gross national income on aid. Well-spent British aid transforms lives around the world. Reaching 0.7% means that by 2015 British taxpayers will have supported 16 million children to go to school and paid for vaccinations that will save 1.4 million lives. The UK government should ensure that investment in agriculture is a priority, building on recent commitments to reverse the decades of underfunding for a sector that is the primary occupation of the majority of people living in poverty.
Second, Cameron should use his role as co-chair of the United Nations panel on what will follow the Millennium Development Goals to set an ambitious new set of global poverty targets. The first set of goals from 2000 agreed that extreme poverty should be halved by 2015. World leaders must now set a course to eradicate extreme poverty entirely – and plot the clear steps towards that destination.
Third, the G8 in June must be a moment of clear policy delivery on the ‘golden thread’. The last UK hosted G8 secured important increases in aid and debt cancellation to help directly fund the fight against poverty. In 2013 aid remains an important part of the picture, but as more and more countries attract investment, exploit their natural resources and expand their tax base, Africa’s development prospects increasingly rest on its ability to harness domestic resources for the benefit of all.
There are several ways the G8 can uniquely support this process, advancing transparency in order to empower citizens to take charge of their own destiny. They must act on natural resources, which have too often been a wasted opportunity for developing countries. Cameron’s call for Europe to at least match US legislation requiring extractive companies to publish what they pay governments, broken down to individual projects, is welcome.
The UK should also go a step further by signing up to the voluntary Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and ending the double standard of asking developing countries to sign on without being members themselves. But the G8 should also agree a package of measures to ensure that newly liberated data about financial transactions between companies and governments is effectively used. Civil society and anti-corruption bodies need to be supported – financially if needs be, through a G8 ‘Follow the Money’ Fund – and government revenue authorities beefed up. The same institutions will benefit from progress on budget transparency, which the G8 should support by endorsing fiscal transparency principles and public procurement efficiency measures. Transparency around other issues including large scale land deals and tax should also be increased, with rules that enable politicians and companies to hide their ill-gotten gains behind a wall of secrecy re-written too. Only then will the illicit financial flows that drain Africa of precious government revenue begin to slow down.
The fourth test is galvanising momentum for world leaders to follow through on bold commitments that will ensure there is enough food for everyone. Cameron has multiple opportunities to lead in 2013 and make sure these promises are kept. As well as the G8, meeting, he announced yesterday that the UK will host a summit next year to focus global attention on agriculture and nutrition.
The New Alliance launched at this year’s G8 to lift 50 million out of poverty through agricultural investment should be expanded to more countries and backed by funding pledges that run until at least 2015. It should also include an accountable partnership on nutrition between developed and developing country governments and the private sector. The Maputo commitment made by African governments to ring-fence at least 10% of national budgets for agriculture will reach its tenth anniversary in 2013 – the summit can also be part of an accountability moment on that promise. Backing African leadership with investment in fully vetted, costed country-owned agriculture and nutrition plans will truly help the continent not merely to survive but to thrive. This must be a core component of a ‘golden thread’ that gives people the opportunity to pull themselves out of poverty.
The final test, which underpins all of the first four, is whether the British government will devote the necessary time and resources to make all of this a success. The ideas and vision are in place but good intentions alone cannot deliver. Have the Cabinet and embassies around the world been drilled into action, with a common determination across all offices of state to pursue an ambitious agenda with drive and discipline? What is the plan for hitting the phones, getting on the road, twisting arms and offering deals to get a result next year? How exactly will Downing Street use each of the thirty-odd weeks between now and the British G8? What plans are being made to leverage British aid at a string of vital multilateral replenishment moments, ranging from the Global Fund to the African Development Bank? These are the questions that will ultimately decide if the ‘golden thread’ fulfils its potential as a means to tackle the causes of poverty.
Citizens and civil society have a big part to play. There needs to be a concerted effort to engage and enlist the public in the next stage – perhaps the decisive one – of the journey towards the end of extreme poverty. That campaigning energy must push the British government, and others, to go the extra mile and make the most of this impressive roster of opportunities in 2013. No one can afford to look back in a year’s time with regret. Least of all David Cameron.
Nov 1st, 2012 3:31 PM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
After reviewing over 250 applications , visiting 5 countries in 12 days, and drinking more African coffee than any doctor would recommend as healthy, we’re excited to announce the five finalists for the 2012 ONE Africa Award. In its fifth year, the ONE Africa Award aims to reward those African organizations, groups and individuals that are engaged in life-changing, innovative efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in their local communities, regions and countries. These groups are usually involved in providing some direct services to their communities and tying those efforts to direct advocacy in order that lasting change may take place.
For this year, we received applications from all corners of the continent. There were completed applications in English, French, Portuguese and even a few with Arabic attachments. We surely discovered the diversity of this beautiful continent as we read the stories of the organizations and the problems they are addressing in their villages, cities and nations. It is truly impossible to choose the top five, for each application deserves recognition, but we had a job to do. The 2012 ONE Africa Award Finalists are the following:
Friends of the Global Fund Africa (Friends Africa) – Working from Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, Friends Africa focuses on raising African support for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Working with partners, they have secured tens of millions of dollars of commitments for the Fund from African governments and businesses.
Muliru Farmers Conservation Group (MFCG) – MFCG’s members live in the towering shadows of Kenya’s last remaining rainforest, Kakamega Forest. Faced with its impending destruction, MFCG mobilized in the late 1990s to advocate for its conservation and in the meantime, found a way to tie local farmers’ economic interests to the health and vitality of Kakamega Forest.
Positive-Generation (PG) – Headquartered in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s capital, PG fights for the Cameroonian government to maintain its commitments to spend 15% of the nation’s budget on healthcare. PG started at a university as a social club to fight the stigmatization of HIV+ people and advocated for the government to provide free antiretroviral drugs after implementing a successful monitoring program of government health clinics and hospitals.
Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP) – While its offices may be in downtown Johannesburg, RHAP works for the rights of South African’s rural citizens to access affordable, quality healthcare in their home districts. In its short existence, RHAP has become the de facto source for the most innovative policies and practices to improve rural healthcare and while at it, has given a voice to rural health workers that they never had before.
Supporting Orphans & Vulnerable for Better Health, Education & Nutrition (SOVHEN) – SOVHEN is a community development organization working in four of Uganda’s rural districts. It started as a student group to give new opportunities to their citizens and took on the challenge of keeping girls in school by finding an incredibly innovative, affordable method to manufacture sanitary pads.
We at ONE are truly honored to be able to have the privilege of learning about these organizations and telling their stories. Over the next few weeks, we hope you will join us as we share their stories in words, photos and videos.
The 2012 ONE Africa Award winner will be announced on December 5 in Dar es Salaam. Stay tuned and enjoy learning about their amazing work!
Oct 15th, 2012 10:07 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
My name is Agnes Kalya and I am a farmer in Mukono District, Uganda.
For years, I struggled to grow enough food to provide for my family. Then one day I learned about a new crop of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, specifically bred to thrive here in Africa. Developed using natural, traditional plant breeding techniques, the sweet potato is loaded with nutrients such as Vitamin A, which help give children a healthier start in life.
Thanks to the training I received I am now able to sell my orange sweet potatoes and, for the first time, can help support my family and ensure my children attend school. As a mother this makes me so proud.
I haven’t looked back since.
Innovations like the vitamin A rich sweet potato can make a huge impact in fighting hunger, but we farmers need the support of world leaders to make these and other nutrient-rich crops more widespread.
Please join me and add your name to ONE’s petition.
The petition reads:
Dear world leaders,
Please make measurable commitments to reduce chronic malnutrition for 25 million kids by 2016 so they can reach their full potential.
I am now working myself out of poverty and helping others in my community with what I have learned. But we need your help. Ahead of World Food day on October 16th please join me and help us grow a better future.
Farmer and ONE member
Sep 14th, 2012 11:06 AM UTC
By Erin Hohlfelder
Every year, I look forward to September because it brings with it a few of my favorite things: cooler weather, pumpkin- and cinnamon-flavored everything, the return of the Pittsburgh Steelers American football team, and my own birthday. This year, September has also brought one of the nerdiest of joys a girl could hope for: a shiny new data set bearing great news about the progress we’ve made in global health. In this case, UNICEF and its partners released today a report showing that the world has yet again made incredible headway in reducing the number of preventable child deaths around the world. Specifically, an estimated 6.9 million children died before the age of five in 2011, down from 12 million in 1990 and 8.2 million in 2005. Viewed another way, the rate of decline in the under-five mortality rate has nearly doubled in the last two decades, accelerating from 1.8% globally in the 1990s to 3.2% globally in the 2000s.
Children at Dukawuya Special Primary School, Nigeria
This decline is not coincidental. Over the course of the last decade—and particularly in the last few years—world leaders have devoted increasing attention and resources to improving child health. We’ve seen historic increases in the delivery of cost-effective interventions including bednets to protect against malaria, routine immunization, antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and nutritious foods and micronutrients. Affected country governments and their health workers have become better at diagnosing and treating pneumonia and diarrhea. And scientists have developed new tools, including vaccines to fight rotavirus and pneumococcal, aimed directly at two of the biggest killers of kids in the developing world. Global ONE members have lent their voices to a global choir campaigning on these issues, supporting important mechanisms like the GAVI Alliance, the Global Fund, and bilateral programs providing other critical health services. The report out today shows that these collective investments have driven real, life-saving change in communities and countries around the world.
It is of course a a strange experience, though, to write a blog celebrating a decline in deaths when the report also clearly highlights that so many children—more than 19,000 every day—continue to die from entirely preventable causes. And we should not allow global progress to distract us from a number of concerning regional and local trends. Child mortality is increasingly concentrated in two regions, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and in 5 countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and China. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 9 children still dies before the age of 5, and in many countries around the world, positive national trends mask troubling inequities. UNICEF’s report shows that children born into the poorest fifth of households are nearly twice as likely to die as those born into the richest fifth of households, and that children born into households where the mother has no education are nearly three times as likely to die as those born into households where the mother has received secondary education.
These data points are worrisome. Yet another data set within the report should give us hope: 9 low-income countries—Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Niger, and Rwanda—have reduced their under-five mortality rates by 60% or more since 1990. That incredibly exciting degree of progress achieved by these 9 diverse countries with limited resources shows us what is possible when the appropriate political will, scale up of services, and financial commitments are applied together in support of children’s health. This September, my birthday wish is that we could continue to learn from these 9 countries, applying what lessons they can teach us and extending those lessons into the toughest-to-reach communities, so that together we can ensure that in the future every child can celebrate a happy and healthy fifth birthday.
Sep 6th, 2012 12:33 PM UTC
By Stuart McWilliam
Working as a Campaigner can sometimes be a weird and wonderful occupation. Take yesterday for example, when I spent the day dressed as a postman at the European Parliament in Brussels. Why? To make a very special delivery: the personal messages of over 8,000 ONE members from across Europe.
Photo gallery: Stuart handing over postcards to Cecilia Wikström MEP from Sweden, Arlene McCarthy MEP from the UK, Jiři Maštálka MEP from the Czech Republic and Eva Lichtenberger MEP from Austria.
The delivery targeted key MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) who are shaping anti-corruption laws which could help millions of people lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Two weeks ago the US passed historic rules which require oil, gas and mining companies to declare what they pay to foreign governments. This will help to expose billions of dollars of secret payments which allow corrupt officials to siphon-off large sums of money from the sale of natural resources instead of spending them on vital services like schools, roads and hospitals which would benefit all citizens.
Now all eyes turn to Europe as it debates a similar law, with the next crucial step taken by this key group of MEPs. In two weeks-time they will vote to decide how strong the proposed law will be.
To make sure they do the right thing we invited European members to create their own online postcards, selecting from a range of designs and writing their own personal messages. These were based on a clear and powerful theme – encouraging the MEPs to be champions in the fight against extreme poverty, and letting them know that thousands across Europe will be watching whether they vote in the right way.
So after a massive response, I donned my Postman’s outfit and with the help of my colleagues in Brussels delivered a sack full of postcards along with a framed collage of some of the best messages to some of these MEPs. After hearing about the campaign they were left in no doubt that ONE members have put them under the spotlight and will watching closely how they vote.
The vote itself takes place on 18 September. ONE will be there to monitor it and we will publish how each of the key MEPs voted on our website.
Thanks to everyone who created their own postcard and for helping us to push the envelope on this issue!
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.