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 (http://lunnyLBTL.wordpress.com).
- 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
- 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)
- 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!
- 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!
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!
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 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…?
PS. With the biggest amount of humility and humbleness thank you to everyone who played their part (and beyond)!