Robert (pictured left) with fellow advocates on the RESULTS Advocacy Study Tour in Canberra 

Robert Cook shares his story of becoming a citizen advocate with RESULTS. 

My name is Robert. I joined RESULTS Canberra in May this year after having discovered RESULTS online.

It seemed like an interesting way to make a meaningful impact on a world issue such as global poverty without necessarily being one of those amazing people who travel overseas and are effective on the ground.

I could make a contribution from within my own life.

When I first joined I was a little skeptical about what sort of impact I could have. However from beginning to write letters and then seeing some of the results over the last year, it has been quite amazing.

I wrote my first letter to the editor during a new group training session.

It felt incredibly strange because it was very different to what I was used to.

I was used to writing essays but to try and write a shorter, more personable letter about such a big issue felt rather strange.

The issue was outside the boundaries of what I had done in the past.

It wasn’t writing about my own experiences or things that had affected me directly. Rather it was about something as big and significant as ending global poverty and actually making an impact on that fight.

I wrote a few more letters and gradually got some experience and then about a month ago I wrote a letter to Sunraysia Daily about Andrew Broad’s recent announcement of his support for Australian aid.

My letter supported the announcement and was encouraging more MPs to do the same. To be honest when I wrote the letter it seemed relatively simple and not the best I had written. However I sent it in and hoped that it would be published.

To my great surprise it was published a few days later. Seeing my name in print was somehow even stranger than writing the letter and an amazing experience in itself.

In a few days’ time I am going on the study tour to Canberra and one of the MPs that we are hoping to meet with is Andrew Broad. To consider the prospect that I might be able to show him my letter personally and demonstrate the impact that he had by speaking out is just a remarkable notion for me. An amazing opportunity!

I hope that he might want to push hard for his colleagues to do more in the field of Australian aid, especially given our ability to show that what he is saying is having an impact in the community.

It shows the amazing power of letter writing, to be able to have this impact and get this message across in a simple but effective manner. I hope that in a few more weeks I can continue writing and feel more confident.

Especially once I have met the MPs and have been able to discuss the issues more broadly, and then I can move forward from there…