By Imo Chinasa Ude, ONE Champion
From the moment I saw the advert calling on volunteers to serve as a ONE Champion, I knew I wanted to be part of the mission. There is a saying: “If you want to make the world a better place, start with yourself.” So I was excited to have a chance to advocate for a better health system for my country, Nigeria.
A ONE Champion is a volunteer who supports ONE’s advocacy and campaigning efforts in an African country. The training I received on advocacy and campaigning helped boost my confidence and efficiency as I mobilized communities to join the fight to end the health crisis in my country. The fight is not easy. But I am lucky that I am not alone, I get support from other champions and ONE staff through meetings and virtual support in a WhatsApp group.
Below are my 2016 highlights with ONE:
- I mobilized 175 new members to support ONE’s work. Many also joined the members’ WhatsApp group.
- I hosted events and used opportunities to showcase ONE’s work including:
- Attending the AIDS Candlelight Memorial in May where we raised awareness on the #MakeNaijaStronger campaign
- Collaborating with Stand to End Rape and using the platform to advocate for the campaign and get petition signatures
- Meeting with the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital to mobilize students
- Mobilizing student doctors to support community outreach and talk to residents on health challenges
- Using an opportunity in Ibadan of the Youth Speak Forum to share the campaign
- I was one of five ONE Champions to represent African members at ONE’s Youth Summit in Paris, France, in May 2016. I had the opportunity to engage with policymakers’ on the refugee crisis and what could be done to protect the vulnerable.
- I have written five blogs which have been published on the ONE Blog.
- I advocated for ONE in the media.
- I participated in marches, and an amazing “die-in.” This taught me that there are other ways we can draw attention to issues that we are passionate about.
- I supported social media actions including Twitter chats, social media videos, and targeted tweets towards policymakers.
I have enjoyed and been humbled by the adventures and exposure to these important issues. I have traveled widely and experienced different cultures. I also made new friends including fellow ONE Champions, members, and staff. I see their passion and zeal to succeed.
ONE has changed my life and strengthened my resolve—I want to continue serving my country and the world in the fight against poverty and disease.