What is a Global Poverty Ambassador?

I know some of you are interested to hear a bit more about my role and experience as a Global Poverty Ambassador and what better time to share than nearly 3 months after our initial training weekend (that was a little joke)!

My desire to become a Global Poverty Ambassador grew out of two experiences. The first was seeing the Global Poverty Project‘s 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation last summer. I loved how the presentation delineated exactly what extreme poverty refers to, the progress that has been made worldwide in decreasing extreme poverty, the barriers that we currently face to ending extreme poverty, why we should care, and what we can do in our own lives to see extreme poverty eradicated within a generation. I left the presentation feeling as though I had some clear definitions and concepts to discuss poverty. More importantly, I left the presentation feeling as though the smallest efforts that I made really would have a big impact for the world’s poorest.

Despite the impact of 1.4 Billion Reasons, I was nearing the deadline for my master’s dissertation, which kept me from following through on officially making a commitment to end extreme poverty. Fast forward to October when my friend Rox took part in the Global Poverty Project’s Ambassador pilot programme where she was trained to present 1.4 Billion Reasons, which she presented one evening. As I watched her present I had a sinking feeling in my heart. I felt like I had missed my chance to really step up and do everything I could to see extreme poverty eradicated in a generation. Rox’s presentation reignited my desire to make a commitment, so I clicked that red button on the Global Poverty Project’s site and started receiving emails that were of interest to me about actions that I could take to help end extreme poverty. Some of the emails gave links to interesting blog posts on the website, which informed me about issues surrounding extreme poverty. Other emails encouraged me to sign petitions or send a quick email to my MP regarding important campaigns that would greatly impact the lives of the world’s poorest people. None of the requested actions took more than 5 minutes of my time, although some did lead me down a rabbit hole of other interesting links and articles, but that was my own choosing and desire to learn and do more! Late last year, one of the emails asked if I might be interested in becoming a Global Poverty Ambassador. After a quick discussion with Rox, I filled out the application and haven’t looked back!

As you’ve read, my early application enabled me to go to the very exciting Ambassador launch day where I heard Hans Rosling speak on myths about global population growth and Bill Gates share his annual letter for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One month later I was back at the London School of Economics for two incredibly packed training days where roughly 100 Ambassadors were trained on sharing our story, public speaking, campaigning, and were just generally inspired from the stories shared by the amazing people who are behind the Global Poverty Project!

As a Global Poverty Ambassador, my role is to be a voice in my community for the world’s poorest. Practically, my voice will be heard through delivering the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation to a minimum of 350 people in the UK by the end of the year and also by joining alongside the Global Poverty Project on their monthly campaigns.

After the training weekend I was so inspired to start learning 1.4 Billion Reasons and was officially signed off to deliver the presentation publicly on 11 April. But so many other exciting things have happened between the training weekend and my presentation sign-off!

Our first campaign was to get the government to maintain their commitment to spending just 0.7% of the GNI on international aid in the national budget, which was announced on 21 March. A number of national governments committed to this amount back in the 90s, though few of them have yet to meet their promise. This campaign led me to thank the UK government and the competing political parties for their commitment.

It also took me to the Houses of Parliament to chat with Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell MP and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Ivan Lewis MP. This campaign also led me to meet with my local MP, Justine Greening, to chat about ending extreme poverty. She was extremely supportive of the issue and shared her own experiences of travelling in Rwanda. It was fantastic to meet with her and get her perspective. The campaign was a success in that the budget did include 0.7% spending on international aid. However, the government has said that it will create legislation to protect that 0.7% of the budget, which has yet to happen. So we continue to take small steps, such as creating videos to send to our MPs and express why helping the world’s poorest people through aid is so important.

April’s Campaign was Live Below the Line (LBL), which many Ambassadors, Global Poverty Project supporters, and others throughout the UK, US, New Zealand, and Australia did just last week. Due to conflicting schedules and coinciding friendships, Rox and I agreed that we would take the challenge in June and will encourage our friends to join us. Stay posted for more details about LBL!

May’s campaign is to learn more about polio eradication, which I have mentioned before. Polio has been 99% eradicated and with one more push can be completely eradicated world wide. I highly recommend checking out this fantastic TED talk if you’d like to learn more.

That about catches you up to speed on my role as Global Poverty Ambassador. Please contact me if you’d like to book a 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation or if you’d like to know more about any of these campaigns and Live Below the Line.