We start each year with the hopes that it will be more awesome, inspiring, and productive than the last. This year presented us with some new challenges, and some even greater successes and we couldn’t have done it without ALL of our offices coming together to make SURE that your voices were being heard.
In 2016 our hypnosis experiment highlighting the importance of education went viral, we hosted attention-grabbing stunts to make sure that world leaders were listening to us, cooked dinner with Commissioner Mimica in the name of nutrition, towed a White House bounce house across America, hosted karaoke and attended A LOT of festivals. We successfully lobbied for education for refugees, stood with #GirlsEverywhere to ensure a successful replenishment of the Global Fund, amplified Eva’s call to the world, and Canadian PM Trudeau agreed, “poverty is sexist”.
Below, we take a look at what our incredible teams all over the world have been up to over the last 12 months – be prepared, it’s a LOT:
On World AIDS Day, the ONE team partnered with National Agency for the Council of AIDS, Connected Development, Ummah Support Initiatives, Wellbeing Foundation for Africa, Nigeria Medical Association, Network of People Living with AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), and other members of the Nigeria Health Sector Reform Coalition on a major milestone: the hand-in of our Make Naija Stronger petition and postcards signed by over 187,000 people to Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki!
2016 was an eventful year for ONE in Italia, not least because of the 40% increase of the Italian contribution to the Global Fund!
Last September, during the Global Fund Fifth Replenishment Conference, the Italian government pledged to increase its contribution to the life-saving fund from €100m to €140m, thus contributing to an investment that is expected to save an additional 8 million lives. And guess who played a crucial role in raising awareness on the Global Fund? Yes, them again – our fantastic Youth Ambassadors!
Over the summer they met MPs from all sides of the political spectrum to ask them to support our campaign, organised (and played at!) a concert in Rome in partnership with the Italian Observatory on Global Action Against AIDS, and “scored” against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Milan. Yes, you heard it right! During the UEFA European Championship, our Youth Ambassadors set up a football goal in a park in Milan and asked passers-by to score a goal against preventable diseases.
Later in the summer they asked people to send their messages in postcards to the Italian Government, stressing how much they cared about an important contribution to the Global Fund. It was truly a team effort – and it paid off!
Our great young activists have animated all of our campaigns throughout the course of the year, with great energy, motivation and excitement. Milan, Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia… They fought for the cause of ending extreme poverty from North to South and in every corner of Italy! They organised a social apero on World Food Day to raise awareness on nutrition, ran the Zero Hunger Run, brought the “World Best News” in schools and Universities explaining students what the SDGs are and where we are at in achieving them, set ONE stands wherever they could: a fair in Sardinia and a football match in Livorno, the Colour Run in Milan and a concert in Apulia. What else could we say? You ROCK, Youth Ambassadors!
The major “Big Win” for ONE in France was obviously the increase of the ODA budget. It was a major strike since the budget had only known cuts since the election of François Hollande 5 years ago. Our Youth Ambassadors were really involved in this fight. They called our MPs, used Twitter to get directly to them and bargained to obtain an appointment. When the lobby days finally arrived, YA fully committed themselves to convince MPs and urge them to vote for an increase of the budget. Afterwards they followed carefully the live debates in the National Assembly and tweeted again to the deputies to provide some support and encouragement. As the negotiation process is not over yet, we cannot already know the exact amount of the French ODA for 2017, but we are sure that it will increase by at least 270 Millions of euros compared to 2016. And that is a huge victory.
Another Great moment was François Hollande’s announcement of the contribution of 1,08 billion of euros for the Global Funds. This announcement happened exactly during “les Solidays” a music festival that aims to fight AIDS, and during which the Youth Ambassadors got the chance to meet Bill Gates who supported their action. France is then the third biggest donor in the world, after the US and the UK, and thus plays a large part in the overall contribution of 13 billions of dollars for the Global Funds.
Finally, all over the year, the Youth Ambassadors also got deeply involved in the Poverty is Sexist campaign, participating to other music festivals, organising small events in their universities and schools, a small conference in a café, and meeting with members of parliament and local representatives. All this commitment was made in order to increase awareness over the public on the issues related to the fight against extreme poverty.
In the Netherlands there were many reasons for our Youth Ambassadors and members to campaign this year, and sadly, not all of them were good.
Our DATA Report showed that the government spends more ODA on itself than on the whole continent of Africa, as it used its ODA to cover the costs for refugees in the Netherlands. That is something we can’t just accept!
Our Youth Ambassadors met with various politicians, including the Minister of Development and Trade, to discuss this. They also met with them to ask for an ambitious pledge for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. And with success! Before the end of the year, the original pledge for the Global Fund was increased to a total of €166 million. The Dutch government also committed to fund more education for refugees – and important cause if we do not want 3.7 million ‘lost generation’ children.
The Youth Ambassadors were literally everywhere; you could find them at festivals all over the country (from Groningen to the Hague!), they asked critical questions at political events and they even travelled to Brussels and Paris to join their fellow Youth Ambassadors from different European countries in advocacy and campaign activities. Moreover, they made clear that Poverty is Sexist during a workshop they organised together with Plan the Netherlands. We are happy to state that no further cuts were made in the overall aid budget this year, and many more people in the Netherlands have now joined the organisation in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease!
We started this year strong, with a 27% increase in the European Commission’s pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. We continued by spreading the message that Poverty is Sexist. Together with a coalition of other organisations we marched on International Women’s Day, and we were also part of the European Week of Action for Girls around the International Day of the Girl.
From organising karaoke evenings, to participating in festivals and cultural events, to campaigning at after work events for people working in the EU bubble, the Youth Ambassadors were everywhere! They were also our nutrition champions this year! They attended a high-level nutrition event organised by the European Commission and hosted a panel during the European Development Days discussing youth’s vision against malnutrition. In the summer the Youth Ambassadors and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica participated in a cooking class where they cooked nutritious African recipes to highlight the importance of good nutrition.
The final big push of the year came with our EU budget campaign, which pushed EU leaders to increase aid in the 2017 EU budget by stressing that “yesterday’s solutions no longer work today”. The Youth Ambassadors met with Members of the European Parliament and even the European Commissioner for Budget, Kristalina Georgieva, during the negotiations. They also woke up extra early one morning to put up posters all around the EU quarter in Brussels. EU leaders heard our message, and agreed to increase the 2017 EU aid budget beyond the limits set in 2013. However, we would not have been able to achieve that without the help of our amazing ONE members. More than 35,000 EU citizens signed the #EUbudget petition, 1,592 members wrote an email to their finance ministers and key EU leaders were the targets of more than 2,460 tweets.
2016 was an eventful and successful year for German Youth Ambassadors. This year we launched our Youth Ambassador program in April with a photo stunt in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. With breaking Panama Paper leaks that same day, this was the ideal occasion to raise awareness for our transparency work. While it was still a rather chilly spring day in Berlin, our Youth Ambassadors did an outstanding job in using their voice in the fight for increased tax transparency.
In the weeks leading up to the Global Fund Replenishment conference, German Youth Ambassadors lobbied key decision makers throughout Germany to demand an increased funding for the Global Fund. Youth Ambassadors seized literally every occasion to speak out for the Global Fund and their actions included among others: delivering a hand-written birthday card by two Kenyan HIV-Activists to Minister Müller, engaging people in the Minister’s constituency to write letters in favour of an increased pledge to Mr Müller and rallying in front of the venue of an important conference the Minister was hosting. All their actions culminated in a 20% increase in Germany’s pledge in comparison to 2013 and the Minister himself thanking ONE for our support in securing a strong German pledge. Thank you guys, we couldn’t have done that without you!
On December 1st, Youth Ambassadors met in Berlin for the close-out event of our YA 2016 program. Since Germany was taking over the G20 presidency that exact same day, we wanted to shed a light on Germany’s increased responsibility in protecting the worlds’ poorest. We took to the streets of Berlin, jointly singing John Lennon’s Imagine and talking to passersby about the fight against extreme poverty. The Youth Ambassadors did a great job in engaging with the public and illuminating that cold winter evening with their positive and strong message.
We at ONE in Germany can’t wait for 2017 to come to start a new and exciting year of Youth Ambassador action in light of our upcoming general election!
2016 will certainly be remembered as a year of change, and we’ve also achieved some real change with the help of UK ONE members and our dedicated group of Youth Ambassadors.
Online and on the streets, they’ve used their voices to challenge corruption and advocate for greater transparency of companies and governments. Every year a trillion dollars is siphoned from developing countries; this shocking fact was a powerful motivation for Youth Ambassadors to don morph suits to become anonymous businessmen and women, skulking around London during the Anti-Corruption Summit in May.
This striking visual depiction of corruption gained the attention of the national press and was instrumental in keeping the conversation going about the need for transparent financial systems.
It didn’t stop there. Our tireless campaigners championed investment in the Global Fund to fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria by writing and collecting postcards with messages of support to send to the Department for International Development (DFID), which helped to secure a massive £1.1 billion pledge – the biggest UK pledge in history!
Having launched the Irish Youth Ambassador programme in January this year, we acted quickly to make our voices heard ahead of the Irish General Election on 26th February. Youth Ambassadors and our members travelled across the country, meeting candidates from every party, asking them to sign our ONE Vote Ireland pledge – showing their public commitment to fighting extreme poverty. 37 TDs, including the Irish Aid Minister Joe McHugh, have backed the campaign and we’ll be continuing to meet with political representatives next year.
As well as that, we campaigned hard to make sure Ireland maintained it’s commitment to invest 0.7% on fighting extreme poverty and creating a safer world as well as their commitment to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria. After many years’ of cuts and recession, Ireland maintained it’s commitment to fighting preventable diseases and increased its aid budget. But, we’ve still got lots to do next year!