Early into my research about extreme poverty I quickly became stunned by the multitude of aid and development organisations out there. Though I recognised many of the names, such as UNICEF, I soon realised that I wasn’t entirely sure what each organisation was doing to end extreme poverty. What was their focus? Disease? Corruption? Hunger? Were they raising money or awareness or both? I thought it would be useful to take a look at one aid or development organisation every Friday and provide a little bit of context about what these various organisations do. And what better place to start “Aid Organisation Fridays” than with the organisation in which I am currently involved, The Global Poverty Project.
When and how did they get started? Hugh Evans and Simon Moss, two passionate anti-poverty campaigners who worked closely with the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY campaign in Australia, came up with the concept for The Global Poverty Project, which was officially launched in 2008 at the UN High Level Meeting on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). In 2009, The Global Poverty Project launched their 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation in Australia.
What is their focus? The Global Poverty Project’s primary aim is to see the end of extreme poverty within our generation and use the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation as a platform “to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to see an end to extreme poverty” (About Us). Although their focus is broad and aimed to help everyone take their own actions towards ending extreme poverty, they do have a few specific campaigns they are focusing on at the moment.
The End of Polio campaign is an opportunity to see polio, a disabling disease that keeps many of the world’s poorest in impoverished conditions, completely eradicated. The joint efforts of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary International, UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (organisations I will discuss in future Aid Organisation Friday posts) have led to a 99% decrease in polio cases world wide and with only 1% polio cases remaining this is the perfect opportunity to completely eradicate the disease. The infographic below does not reflect the most recent success: in January of this year India celebrated one year without a single polio case!
The Fund the Fund campaign is a rally cry to ensure that The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria receives the funding it needs to continue its amazing progress. Since 2002, The Global Fund has saved an estimated 7.7 million lives in 150 countries. In order to protect and build on this incredible progress The Global Fund must be fully funded with US $20 billion and is asking donor governments to increase their support for the Fund. You can sign this petition asking Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, to double the UK’s contribution to The Global Fund or write to your local MP and ask them to hold donor governments accountable to their pledged support.
The Justice campaign aims to create transparency in the natural resource industry so that the wealth generated by these resources goes to citizens rather than corrupt officials.
The Call on Ken Clarke to be our Champion campaign is a petition and call to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, who was appointed as the UK’s international anti-corruption champion, to develop and release a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy. You can sign the petition here.
What can I do to get involved? As well as taking the specific campaign actions listed above you can also visit The Global Poverty Project’s website and make a commitment to end extreme poverty, read interesting blog posts about extreme poverty, find out where you can see the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation, book a 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation, and, for those of you in the UK, you can sign up to become one of The Global Poverty Project’s 2012 Global Poverty Ambassadors (applications close on February 13, 2012).