We can be a ONE mom!
Understanding advocacy and how giving your voice makes a difference takes explanation. People are accustomed to helping by giving money or giving their time; whether it is helping to prepare meals, make care kits, or building schools. Being a ONE member does not require any money, and takes only a small amount of time. Because of this people often wonder how they are really helping. How does signing a petition help children dying every day from preventable illnesses in the developing world? That is what my family and I were able to answer while at the U2 concert in Miami and what I share with my congressional district as a CDL daily.
Our voice does have value and hearing the support for GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunizations) at the June 13th replenishment conference is “Living Proof” that we can make a difference by signing petitions, making phone calls, writing/faxing letters, and sending tweets. (http://www.one.org/blog/2011/06/22/heartfelt-thanks-from-gavis-ceo-helen-evans/) In simple terms, there is power in numbers. We have over 2 million ONE members worldwide with over 36,000 of those in my home state in NC. These numbers have an impact when shared during a congressional meeting. When a letter is written by a ONE member it reminds our elected officials that we are part of an organization that educates its members as well as monitors programs it is advocating for, the governments pledging support, and the governments receiving aid. Personally I have always appreciated the bipartisan support and the honesty that ending extreme poverty will not happen overnight, the programs are not perfect, but that progress is being made. ONE is not an angry campaign. Just as we practice in our house, it is most effective to have “an attitude of gratitude”!
From my experience the Members of Congress understand the importance of supporting the programs working to eliminate extreme poverty and end deaths from preventable disease. They want to know if their constituents care about these programs too. This is how ONE is effective. While ONE volunteer leaders like myself are building relationships with our Members of Congress we are at the same time educating our communities on the issues of extreme poverty. We create an awareness of the programs that have proven to be effective and how by adding their voice we can ensure that these programs continue to save lives and build stronger, healthier communities in the developing world. It is exciting stuff!
While at the U2 concert in Miami, we explained that ONE is not a charity and does not want money, just their voice and by adding their name to the vaccine petition they can be a part of saving 4 million lives by 2015. Once they heard this they were in! I love being a ONE member. It is simple, empowering, and feels good to know that we do not have to be a celebrity, a millionaire, or a rock star to help make poverty history. We can be a ONE mom (or someone who loves a ONE mom)!