International Day of Happiness: Good news stories on poverty

Thursday, March 20, is the UN’s International Day of Happiness. We thought we would share a few things that have been making us feel particularly positive in the fight against extreme poverty. Get ready to smile, laugh and share some good news.

Sub-Saharan Africa is happier

South Sudan At Play

According to the UN’s 2013 World Happiness Report, the three big factors that contributed to improved happiness in sub-Saharan Africa was an overall rise in GDP, the largest growth seen in the world both in social support – the feeling of having someone to count on in times of trouble – and freedom to make life choices. The outlook in Angola and Zimbabwe rose more than any other country measured in the survey. In close competition, Sierra Leone made the top 10 of most improved countries in the world.

This lip dub with 500 Ugandan women

Possibly the largest lipdub ever made in Africa, this video features nearly 500 Ugandan women dancing to “Price Tag” by ONE supporter and pop star Jessie J. The video was created by SYPO, a Netherlands-based microlending NGO, to show the world how small business loans have helped impact their lives. Dare you to watch this without smiling!

Potential for huge progress in agriculture

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Did you know? Growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective in reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa than growth in other sectors. Not enough African governments are investing in agriculture programs. But if they did, they could help lift 85 million people out of extreme poverty by 2024, provide jobs and boost the continent’s economy. See how ONE members in Africa are calling on their leaders to take action.

Our progress against extreme poverty

Share the Facts

If we keep going at this current rate, we can bring it to ZERO by 2030. Watch Bono’s TED talk to learn more.

Literacy rates are on the rise

Children reading at the Matau Primary School, Zimbabwe
The global adult literacy rate is projected to reach 86 percent by 2015 and the youth literacy rate should reach 92 percent, says UNESCO. Overall, literacy is improving, especially among young people. Because literate young people grow up to be literate adults, the future is full of readers.

Advocates aren’t alone

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Earlier this year, ONE UK Campaigner Saira O’Mallie busted the myth that one person’s voice can’t change anything. This quote from her powerful essay has reassured thousands of activists around the world that yes, their voice can make a difference.

“AIDS in Africa” no longer exists

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16 African countries are making serious progress on AIDS, making this one-size-fits-all phrase thankfully outdated. And an extra bonus: 2015 will be the first time the world will be ahead of AIDS. If current rates of acceleration continue, we could achieve the beginning of the end of AIDS – when the number of people newly added to treatment surpasses the number newly infected with HIV – by 2015.

Bill Gates’ hilarious “viral video”

Bill Gates’ attempt at making his annual Gates Letter “go viral” on the Jimmy Fallon show made us LOL… and we couldn’t stop saying “GatesLetter.com” for weeks.

Our ‘Happy’ video

After playing Pharrell’s “Happy” song on repeat at the office, ONE staffers at the DC office decided to make their own version of his interactive music video. It’s nice to know we work at a place where we can sing and dance with our coworkers across town.

The $12 billion pledge to AIDS, TB and malaria

ONE members have been sending postcards, signing petitions, making phone calls, hosting dance parties and more in support of The Global Fund’s replenishment in December 2013 — one of the most important moments of the year in the fight against AIDS, TB and malaria. And their hard work paid off. World leaders pledged just over $12 billion over the next three years, a 30 percent increase over the amount raised by The Global Fund at its last replenishment. With these new resources, The Global Fund will be able to scale up its important work, supporting partners to deliver even more ARVs, bed nets, TB treatments and other life-saving programs.

Paul Tergat’s incredible story

The story of how a child in Kenya became an Olympic champion, then used his voice to give back to his community, will make you want to stand up and pump your fist in the air. Read it here.

What makes you happy? Tell us in a comment below.