Summer of Polio Eradication Across North America…?

This is a failed attempt to sum up 6 months of polio eradication advocacy in a few words (well not really but it is mostly in dot points).

I have to say this summer was the richest professional experiences I have ever had… So a dot point overview on a successful summer in Canada and the US since my Live Below the Line trip (

Speaking (shouting) at the polio dinner in Montreal

The route:

  • New York, Washington DC, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Kamloops, Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, DC, NYC, Montreal, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, NYC or something like that

The Start:

  • Couple of friends scattered over the country from previous days and none of them polio related, and three contacts from Hugh (GPP CEO)

The Mandate (please also see The Results later in the list):

  • To get the Canadian Prime Minister to the United Nations General Assembly high level polio event (fail) and
  • To get the Canadian Minister for International Cooperation to the Global Citizen Festival (fail)

The Method:

  • Not much! – having only done a limited amount of campaigning, communications, media, political engagement and decent amount of community advocacy, my method – energy, enthusiasm and emails!

The Support:

  • Initially limited and then four incredible volunteers who shall only be known as P.E.A.C.E. (Polio Eradication Angels of Canada Eh!)
  • A modest budget that was primarily reserved for high level engagements with awesome polio survivor, Ramesh Ferris
  • All those poor people who hosted, fed, transported and connected me – everywhere and everyday!


RESULTS Canada were amazing in their advocacy & support

The Results (apart from the fails from The Mandate of the mission!):

  • Over 65 The End of Polio presentations and meetings with over 3,000 people
  • Direct conversations with 8 MPs, the International Cooperation Minister, many others with staff, political aids, heads of departments, Senators, health professionals, a former Prime Minister, Lieutenant Governor, a few celebrities and bunches more…
  • A personal handing over (through Ramesh) of a petition and photos with the Prime Minister
  • Incredible collaborations with organisations working on the global eradication of polio – especially Rotary International, RESULTS Canada, Gates Foundation, WHO, UNICEF and many more including post-polio associations, schools, NGOs, not-for-profits, etc
  • One high level polio event with Ramesh in Montreal attended by former Prime Minister Paul Martin, a heap of special guests and 115 Rotarians and members of the public
  • Powerful plethora of actions of polio advocacy – writing to the PM and IC Minister, taking ‘Purple Pinkie’ photos, signing petitions, Facebooking updates, tweeting, media articles and so much more!

Just one of many audiences I spoke to & encouraged action

The Real Results:

  • Polio eradication being recognised at a national level and acted upon with a million dollars put up by Canadian International Development Agency to match Rotary Canada donations and then matched again by Gates Foundation (and maybe more on the way…)
  • Effective voices for the global eradication of polio and without these there would be a gap in it becoming a reality
  • An incredible appreciation of people-power and being recognised when you stand up together
  • Being one important cog of many that saw over $300m of funding announced at the UNGA polio event
  • A huge sense of understanding and pride in attending the UNGA as a representative of so many and being able to engage in meetings and conversations to collaborate and combine efforts with other orgs, Governments and campaigns and really feeling the power of collaboration and sharing for the world’s poor
  • Seeing 60,000 people come together in New York and many 000’s more livestreaming, listening, thinking and acting on polio eradication between the Foo Fighters and Neil Young at the Global Citizen Festival

The Global Citizen Festival – a little party we organised in New York


The big one personally for me is the continued love and hope I have for humanity and how we can see an end to polio and then extreme poverty – I don’t say this blindly or without absolute conviction.

What a great summer of people, places, polio pro-action to see a polio-free world for everyone, everywhere, forever! And somehow I get to call this work…?

P.E.A.C.E. d’Arcy.

PS. With the biggest amount of humility and humbleness thank you to everyone who played their part (and beyond)!

All representatives coming together for the global eradication of polio! Let’s do this!

About Living Geo d'Arcy

Experiences are the richest thing in life. Love them and live them.
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3 Responses to Summer of Polio Eradication Across North America…?

  1. Pingback: Summer of Polio Eradication Across North America…? | Live Below the Line Lunny

  2. Wonderful summary, d’Arcy! You were definitely an inspiration this summer, I am so happy to have met you and to have seen all the great things we can do together for the sake of making the world a better place. Good luck on your travels and see you soon!


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