(Image – left to right – Mark Rice, Policy & Advocacy Manager at RESULTS Australia, Amelia Christie, CEO of RESULTS Australia, Gerry Antioch, Alternate Executive Director at the World Bank and far right, Shiva Shrestha, Global Health Campaign Manager at RESULTS Australia)
Last month, RESULTS Australia staff members Amelia Christie, Mark Rice and Shiva Shrestha had the privilege of attending the RESULTS International Conference and meeting our ACTION Global Health Advocacy partners in Washington DC. The conference brought together team members, volunteers, members of the ACTION Partnership and speakers from 25 countries.
Advocacy Day was a special day held during the conference, allowing participants the time to learn skills from each other and external experts, and apply these skills in meetings with Members of the US Congress (for US participants) and the World Bank (for participants from other countries).
We also heard from some great speakers who informed and inspired the full group (consisting of more than 500 people from 25 countries), including World Bank Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva and former Global Fund Executive Director, Dr Mark Dybul.
One theme that came through from the speakers, is the need to recognise the progress that is taking place behind the often gloomy headlines. For example, RESULTS USA Executive Director Joanne Carter noted that 30 years ago, when she started as a RESULTS volunteer, the goal was to reduce the number of children under the age of 5 dying each day from 40,000. Today, the number of children under 5 dying each day has dropped to 14,500 – still far too many, but an outcome which clearly shows the progress we are making and the importance of advocacy in ensuring that issues like this receive the attention they deserve.
Workshops and Advocacy Day
RESULTS Australia had opportunities to speak at the conference’s workshop sessions – including a panel session about the work that RESULTS advocates are doing towards ensuring a substantial pledge is made by the Australian Government to foreign aid. Attendees at the conference were interested in how we navigate the Australian political system and how accessible it can be through the persistence of our volunteers. Examples were given of the RESULTS Australia National Conference held in Sydney in June 2019, the resulting MP meetings, and the coordination of letters and outreach to the relevant ministers in Australia.
On Advocacy Day, RESULTS Australia had meetings with different departments at the World Bank, particularly those which work on health and nutrition, as well as Australia’s Alternate Executive Director of the World Bank (Australia shares this with Korea) and the Minister Counsellor for Development at the Australian Embassy. We also met with the World Bank CEO before she addressed the conference.
Shiva took part in several meetings with US Congress members with RESULTS USA volunteers, noting how the groups do thorough preparation for the meetings and are raising similar issues with their elected representatives. The meetings resulted in members agreeing to support the bill on the U.S maintaining its commitment to funding one-third of the total need for the Global Fund at the sixth replenishment conference in October 2019.
“It was enlightening to learn about the issue of poverty in the U.S and advocate with the members of the Congress along with so many passionate RESULTS volunteers. The energy was infectious and lessons life changing,” said Shiva
“Next year will be the 40th anniversary of RESULTS in the USA, and a few of our long time members are already planning to attend. We would love to have a bigger group take part in this planned celebration and preparation for RESULTS’ future success next year,” added Shiva.