This video says, much more succinctly, most of the things I say below!
I just got home from delivering 1.4 Billion Reasons to a group of 16-18 year old students. I always feel slightly touched by delirium after I present, but especially when I present to young people. To know that I’ve clearly explained what extreme poverty is and provided these young leaders with clear actions to take to end it is always thrilling. But more than ever I sense the growth of an army of people who are passionate about ending extreme poverty. This sense increases every time I present to a group of strangers and receive their clear commitments to take action to end extreme poverty by the end of the presentation. It’s so exciting to have a complete stranger say ‘yes, I will join you and others to work towards ending the injustice of poverty’.
The growth of the movement was evident on June 8th at the Enough Food for Everyone IF Big IF event in Hyde Park. 45,000 people gathered together to end hunger and to demand that G8 leaders put issues surrounding hunger on their agenda. And they did! David Cameron hosted a Hunger Summit in London and, thanks to the combined campaigning efforts of more than 50,000 people across the UK, $4 billion was pledged by rich countries to fight hunger and malnutrition. Of course, this commitment and the subsequent discussions and decisions that were made as part of the G8 summit didn’t just happen because 45,000 joined together to have a picnic in Hyde Park. In the lead up to the event people signed petitions, wrote to their MPs, and hosted awareness raising events to ensure that ending hunger was at the top of the G8 agenda.
This incredible show of support from both the UK public and the G8 leaders followed only a little more than a month after the UK not only renewed, but increased its financial commitment to the end game strategy to end polio. In case you missed it, the UK pledged £300 million over 6 years to end polio and Canada added its financial weight with a pledge of £250 million over 6 years to end polio.
In case you couldn’t guess, the 2 words that start with ‘E’ that are on the tip of my tongue this afternoon are ‘excitement’ and ‘eradication’. I’m excited because the number of people who are taking action to end extreme poverty is growing. I’m excited because it’s becoming increasingly clear that there are simple things we can do in our daily lives to help end poverty. And I’m excited because these combined efforts are leading to a world where the eradication of extreme poverty is not only possible, but completely plausible. This year the World Bank announced that, in the past five years, a further 200 million people have been lifted out of poverty, taking the number of people in extreme poverty down to 1.2 Billion people. This stat always makes my breath catch in my throat a little. This is a really exciting time in history and I’m thrilled to play a part in the story of the end of extreme poverty. What part will you play? While you think about it, check out the video above one more time, just to stoke those inspirational flames! Then make your commitment and take action by using this fantastic platform, Global Citizen.