Highlights of the RESULTS International Conference from Team Australia

RESULTS Australia is proud to have contributed to the agendas for this year’s International Conference and ACTION Partners Meeting.

This year’s RESULTS International Conference, held in Washington, DC from July 14-17 brought together RESULTS team members and volunteers, members of the ACTION Partnership, and acclaimed speakers from 25 countries and all 50 states of America.

We asked members of the Australian RESULTS team who attended to recount the highlights of their experience at the conference.

Mark Rice, RESULTS’ Policy and Advocacy Manager, was attending his 25th conference:

  • “The International Conference is becoming more genuinely international, with people from 25 countries taking part this year, and participants from most of those countries also joining us for meetings at the World Bank”.
  • “RESULTS Australia had a larger input to the agenda for both the International Conference and the ACTION Partners Meeting this year, and it is gratifying to see that our colleagues from other countries joined enthusiastically in facilitating and presenting at the sessions we proposed and that conference participants also found these sessions valuable.  For example, the workshop on Election Year Advocacy Around the World attracted an enthusiastic group of participants, proved to be informative for all, and was an opportunity for me to learn about the approaches being taken in other countries from the other speakers”.
  • “Two key learnings for me were:
    • From the Executive Director’s address by Joanne Carter, a reminder that deep advocacy (building a relationship with decision-makers, as RESULTS does) is rare, and has an impact.
    • From the plenary session with World Bank Vice President Annette Dixon, evidence that many countries are treating the development of the Human Capital Index by the World Bank as an opportunity to drive improvements in health and education standards.  Thirty countries (three times as many as expected) have agreed to be in the first group of countries reporting their Human Capital Index.”

Shiva Shestra is the newest member of the RESULTS Australia staff, and he was blown away by the energy of the event and the gathering of so many volunteers all together in one place.

  • “My biggest highlight of the conference was the power, energy and passion of hundreds of volunteers coming together to take specific actions. It was like a roar of a lion ready to take on any challenges that get in our way to end poverty. I was thrilled to be part of something so big, and understood how our work here in Australia is making a difference.”
  • “I was very happy to see that Tuberculosis is already a high priority of our work in all parts of the world, including work of our ACTION partners. It was fascinating to learn how we are working with multi pronged approach of bringing TB under several other areas like micro-finance, HIV/AIDS, women empowerment and most importantly under the Universal Health Coverage.”
  • “I was deeply touched by the movie “Out of Breath”, which came with a disclaimer : “Bring your own tissues”. Rightly so, this was a very emotional moment for me. Out of Breath chronicles the experiences of a small group of international volunteers who travel to North Korea for six months to work with North Korean doctors to tackle the spread of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. Working around the clock under difficult conditions, the volunteers and North Koreans have achieved an outstanding feat – one of the highest MDR TB cure rates worldwide.”
  • “The International Conference also gave me a new lens through which to look at the problem. I learned more from my interaction with other RESULTS team members and ACTION partners, and also from the advocacy day meeting with World Bank officials.”
  • “Last but not least, we had fun doing what we love at work.”

For Monique McDonell, the diversity and skills of the volunteer base was particularly impactful.

  • “I feel really fortunate to have been able to participate in Lobby Day during the International Conference. This showed me how the US volunteers prepare for meeting with their MP’s and Senators and then how this preparedness translated into really successful meetings. I was part of a team that took 11 meetings with staffers on Lobby Day and it was clear that every meeting had an impact. Before we went, one of the speakers reminded us that we might be the only people all year who came to these representatives to talk about global health issues and when we were in the meetings it was evident that this was the truth. It really showed me that while you might wonder ‘why is it important that I do this‘? The truth is, if you don’t no one will.”
  • “I was in several meetings and discussions where there were people from many ages, genders, races, continents all working together towards a common cause. It may sound sentimental but at one moment I looked around the room and thought – this is actually how the world should work, with everyone’s voice having equal weight and impact. It was really moving.”
  • I also came back with lots of great ideas to help me do my job better from Letter Writing, branding and media so that’s always exciting for me now that I’m back at my desk.

Ricky Keung took to the stage at the Conference Kick-Off to welcome delegates from around the globe and across America to the event.

  • “On TV we constantly see negative news coming out of the US that makes us feel disillusioned with engaging in politics, and its role in our lives. What I experienced however, was the complete opposite.”
  • “In the ‘Advocacy Day’ meeting, RESULTS advocates, members of Congress and Senators from both sides of the aisle discussed domestic and global poverty issues. I was blown away not only by all the positive responses from Congress people and Senators, but the heart warming personal stories, articulated arguments and focused actions demanded of Congress by the volunteers. Most notable was a 14-year old volunteer, Yara, who already has six years of experience in ‘MP meetings’. In one of the meetings the Congresswoman recognised Yara as the former toddler canyoning in her office while in a RESULTS meeting with her mother. The Congresswoman was so excited, Yara had to pull her back in line to the focus of the meeting on TB. This is how you know who’s running the meeting!”
  • “This level of engagement and relationships were not built overnight but took decades of consistent actions. This is the story of so many unsung heroes in the US that we don’t get to see in the media – ordinary citizens speaking out on important issues for their value and with a vision for a world where no one should die from preventable diseases.”

Maree Nutt has been RESULTS Australia’s CEO since 2007.

  • “Against a backdrop of political turmoil, not only in the US but in many places around the world, the pervading sentiments at the 2018 RESULTS International Conference were of community and hope. The more than 500 people from 27 countries and all 50 US states were proof that determined, smart, respectful and persistent advocacy can lead to resources being increased (or at least protected from cuts) for health, education and economic opportunity for people living in the poorest parts of the world. It’s proof that actions can drive hope.”
  • I drew hope from the former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, who gave the keynote address. She is an example of political will at the highest level driving key development progress by championing women’s rights and child welfare. I also drew hope from the 75 year old volunteer from Omaha, who celebrated her last birthday by holding a letter writing party and ended up collecting over 400 letters to send to her Congressman!”
  • “The RESULTS Australia team were great ambassadors for our work back home and demonstrated how it plays a key role in the international RESULTS and ACTION strategies.”
  • “The date of the 2019 International Conference date will be confirmed soon. As an antidote for the negativity that surrounds and can overwhelm us, I can thoroughly recommend it.”