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IMPRIMER

Project Ploughshares

Member Profile October 2013

ACDP

Citizen advocates at Parliament on World Water Day, 2009.

This month CCIC had a dynamic discussion with Results Canada new Executive Director, Amy Bartlett. Amy told us about the early days of the organization, shared some results of their advocacy efforts over the years and told us more about their Annual Conference, taking place late November...among other things!

 

CCIC - What is the spark that has lead to the creation of RESULTS? Can you tell us more about the history of the organization, both the global and Canadian network?

Amy Bartlett - What distinguishes RESULTS Canada from most international development organizations is that we focus on advocacy. Our contribution is creating the political will to mobilize resources and improve policy in order to eliminate poverty on both micro and macro levels in the developing world. We conduct our advocacy at a variety of levels in order to ensure effectiveness:  this includes citizen advocates and national staff who meet with key decision makers across the country and internationally to put global poverty, focused on cost-effective and tangible solutions, on the agenda.

RESULTS was founded by Sam Daly Harris in 1978, an America school teacher who believed that there was a need to heal the break between citizens and democracy. In 1986 RESULTS Canada was founded and since then RESULTS Canada has become a national advocacy organization from Victoria to Quebec City, helping everyday Canadians to become everyday heroes. Internationally, we are part of a network of six RESULTS national organizations (US, UK, Australia, Japan, Mexico) that collaborate on key advocacy efforts. We are also a part of a number of Canadian and international coalitions and networks working on global poverty issues.


CCIC - RESULTS Canada is a grassroots organization that engages actively with volunteers; what kind of support and training do you provide for your members and supporters?

Amy Bartlett - We equip Canadian citizens with the advocacy skills and confidence to become true agents of change. RESULTS volunteers are everyday citizens who take the time to get educated about international development issues – and then with their own voice, and their own hearts – take action. As a RESULTS volunteer you may be asked to push yourself – we are not about “armchair” democracy. Before you know it, you will be meeting with MPs, getting published in your local newspaper, writing strategic letters to key decision-makers, and speaking out about important global issues. Through experienced staff, talented volunteers, group meetings and our website, we provide the support and training volunteers need to feel informed, supported, inspired and confident. Advocacy tools we provide include:

    • A monthly Action Sheet outlining the socio-political context of an urgent and topical issue around the eradication of extreme poverty, and what Canadian citizens can do to influence it
    • Advocate tools such as Laser Talks, effective media outreach and MP advocacy
    • Monthly group meetings with like-minded volunteers in towns and cities across Canada
    • A monthly national call with other volunteers to strategize and share successes and best practices.

     

    CCIC - What are the current issues that you are working on? Why are they important to you and to your members?

    Amy Bartlett - We know for a fact that there are enough resources in the world so that no one needs to live in extreme poverty; what is lacking is the political will. Our mission is to create the political and collective will to put an end to the worst aspects of poverty, and to empower individuals to exercise their personal and political power. We advocate for the cost-effective, proven solutions to eliminate extreme poverty for those living on less than $1.25 a day. We know that there are several key proven, inexpensive, strategies that if widely executed in the developing world would pull millions of families out of extreme poverty, and these are what we focus our advocacy on:

    1. Medical interventions to help children survive and thrive – these include: immunizations, Vitamin A supplements, bed nets to protect from malarial mosquitoes, and improved maternal health
    2. Primary school education – 75 million children don’t have access to even basic education. A single year of primary school increases the wages people earn later in life by 5-15% for boys and even more for girls
    3. Sanitation and Hygiene- People suffering from preventable water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases occupy more than half of all hospital beds in the developing world at any given time
    4. Diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis – The #1 killer of people with HIV in the developing world and the #1 respiratory illness affecting women worldwide.  Curable for only $20
    5. Microfinance – Small loans, often less than $50, available to those who traditional banks often wouldn’t touch, which have brought over 100 million families worldwide out of extreme poverty.

     

    CCIC - Can you share examples of advocacy and lobbying efforts that have lead to success?

    Amy Bartlett - There are lots from our over 25 year history, but here is a recent example! On April 25, 2013, International Cooperation Minister Julian Fantino announced a $250 million dollar increased investment to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative during the Vaccine Summit in Abu Dhabi. This announcement was a direct result of our advocacy efforts, such as letters to the editor, meetings with MPs and key decision-makers and a parliamentary delegation to Malawi, where MPs saw firsthand polio drops being administered to children and the impact of those immunizations in the developing world

    After getting intel that the Minister of International Development was not planning on attending the Nutrition for Growth event in London in June 2013, our citizen advocates from across the country asked the Minister of International Cooperation to attend the June 8th meetings because Canada’s presence can galvanize other key donor countries to commit additional finances and political capital to prevent under nutrition.  Our savvy advocacy was rewarded: the Minister not only attended the Summit but also announced increased funding for nutrition programmes in the developing world. Canada is by far the lead donor in nutrition-specific investments. In 2011, Canada allocated US$ 218 million to basic nutrition - more than double that of the United States.  Canadian leadership continued at the Summit, thanks to our advocacy, when Minister Fantino announced $145 million towards nutrition programmes.


    CCIC - Since last year, RESULTS Canada also manages the Make Poverty History Campaign; what are the similarities and differences between Results and MPH work?

    Amy Bartlett - RESULTS Canada manages the Make Poverty History Campaign in Canada, and while there are some overlaps in terms of advocacy issues and approaches, the actions and audience are quite different.  For example, while Make Poverty History (MPH) has monthly actions like Results Canada, the topics are much broader, since MPH’s mandate includes advocacy on domestic, global and environmental issues. And the actions that we ask MPH stakeholders to take are focused on online advocacy, while RESULTS Canada focuses primarily on tried-and-true advocacy techniques at the grassroots level (ie: writing a letter to the editor in your own voice, meeting with your local MP). Together these two advocacy organizations are a strong and unifying force for citizen advocacy in Canada, and provide Canadians with a broad range of options for engaging with some of the most important issues facing us, including the eradication of global poverty.


    CCIC - Why is it important for RESULTS to be a member of CCIC?

    Amy Bartlett - Being a CCIC member is an integral and inherent part of our work as a Canadian CSO, and we experience the benefits of partnership with the larger CCIC community every day.  From collaborating on events and activities, to participating in skill building workshops, to adhering to our community standards around accountability and transparency via the Code of Ethics, the CCIC platform provides the civil society sector in Canada with a unified voice, a common purpose and a collective power as agents of change. As an organization that works on grassroots advocacy, RESULTS Canada knows firsthand about the importance of partnership and collaboration are for creating impactful and sustainable change in the world.  In that very important way, CCIC is essential to creating a strong, sustainable and effective civil society sector in Canada.


    CCIC - RESULTS Canada will hold a National Conference in Ottawa late November-early December; what will be the highlights of the conference, and who should attend?

    Amy Bartlett - RESULTS Canada's 2013 Conference "Raising our voices for the world we want" (Ottawa, Nov 30-Dec 2) is an excellent opportunity for any CSO or globally-minded citizen to come together to gain advocacy expertise, network with other poverty advocates, and get the latest strategies and information around poverty eradication.  Specifically, it is an opportunity to come together with like-minded people to:

    1.  learn about proven, cost-effective solutions to global poverty from an impressive line-up of international speakers
    2. increase skills and confidence to advocate powerfully and effectively
    3. meet with policy makers and media who will share secrets on how to get their attention.

    The National Conference culminates in a day of meetings on Parliament Hill to lobby policy makers to demand increased action to save lives in the developing world. Space is limited - register today!

     

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