What do President Obama, the humble sweet potato and Colin Farrell all have in common? While they make an unlikely trio, each helped to raise awareness around ONE’s Thrive campaign in 2012.
Earlier this year, ONE launched Thrive, a new campaign aimed at tackling the root causes of hunger and extreme poverty. This past April, we told you that 50 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty and 15 million children saved from chronic malnutrition if world leaders would take action to break the cycle of poverty and hunger in 30 of the world’s poorest countries. Armed with this knowledge, ONE member seized this opportunity and mobilized to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition around the globe.
With the launch of the Thrive campaign, members across the country got involved in the “Sow One, Send One” action in which they sent a postcard to their representatives, asking them to support effective, sustainable programs that save lives while sowing the seeds of change in their community. In the lead-up to the G8, over 300,000 ONE members across the world signed the Thrive petition to “plant a seed of change in the G8.”
The G8 was an incredible moment for the food security agenda, as President Obama, the G8 and African partners announced the groundbreaking launch of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. At the same time, thousands of members across the country sent messages from Twitter to @ONEStreetTweet that were painted in bright orange paint and photographed on miles of road in upstate Maryland and on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC.
This past September, ONE introduced the orange-fleshed sweet potato to our members. We kicked-off a new campaign, aimed at putting “Sweet Potatoes on the Menu; Nutrition on the Agenda,” and asking world leaders to make commitments to reduce stunting by 40% and to help save 25 million children from chronic malnutrition by 2016. The sweet potato made its grand debut on World Food Day, as members, chefs, foodies, and celebrities came together for a coordinated day of action that world leaders would find impossible to ignore. They created and submitted scrumptious sweet potato recipes to our digital cookbook, signed the nutrition petition, hosted events, raised awareness about the orange tuber and tweeted #recipe4change at their political leaders. It was quite a whirlwind of activity!
While 2012 has been a phenomenal year for advocacy around food insecurity and malnutrition, there still remains much to do. As we look ahead to 2013, the “Pre-8” looms on the horizon this coming June. In the days leading up to the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, high-level officials from around the world will gather at a food security summit hosted by the UK government. This “Pre-8” will be our next critical moment for campaigning around Thrive, to ensure that we keep the ball (or sweet potato!) rolling and build on our tremendous progress from the past year.