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From the Grassroots: Reflections on the Gavi Campaign

children vaccination certificates

One of the simplest ways I find satisfaction from life is by dedicating my time towards a cause that I feel passionate about. I decided to join RESULTS Australia because of my passion for equitable healthcare and the idea that an individual can have power to create transformation through advocacy and leadership.

Initially, I was a bit sceptical about how just talking with an MP would help us improve vaccination in developing countries or help alleviate global poverty. But, as I read more about RESULTS and attended meetings and informative webinars, I got to understand more about how RESULTS worked especially through campaigning and advocacy. I was particularly encouraged to know that through this work, I could change the lives of millions of children through Gavi.

The weekly group meetings were fun and interactive in addition to being informative about the work done by RESULTS in the past and the goals for the near future. But, it was the team at RESULTS that made my experience invigorating. Even though the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic seemed like a huge challenge in the beginning, we as a team overcame that with resilience and positivity to bring about the change we envisioned. I look forward to working with my team members while knowing that this little effort will help make a difference.

I particularly enjoyed meeting with MPs. Although the lockdown forced us to go online and confined us to Zoom meetings instead of face-to-face, I think we nailed it regardless. It was nerve-wracking at the beginning to secure the meeting, prepare for it by gaining all the information and be able to discuss it with the MPs with utmost confidence. And I didn’t know that a small action of discussing with MPs about what we are advocating for could bring about transformation and create hope. But, in the moment when the Australian Government announced the “$300 million for the Gavi Alliance”, I am sure we all felt that pride within us for taking one step each and making this a huge success.

For me, there has been a perspective change since being a part of creating a change; I am now more concerned about equitable healthcare, public health, the health systems in other countries and how the developed economies are only as strong as the developing economies.

I also learnt plenty from my experience as a grassroots advocate. Most importantly, I learned that people are not powerless; in fact we have a great deal of power and potential regardless of sometimes being told we may not have any because of various factors, such as economic status, sexual orientation, or employment status. Through advocating with RESULTS, I felt empowered to know the agency you have in your own life to make a global impact and how beautiful it is to share that experience with others. As rightly said by Elizabeth Andrew; “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they have the heart.”

Dr Nikita Kherodiya (MBBS, MPH) is a RESULTS volunteer in Sydney. Being a healthcare professional from India has given me first hand experience in various health issues which can be improved; I want to work towards improving healthcare and making sure it reaches people who need it the most.


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