Very excited to be giving a little presentation/workshop today to my fellow GPP colleagues (and anyone else around Melbourne…) on grassroots advocacy.
I wrote this blog while in the think of The End of Polio campaign in Canada last year and it serves as a very good outline of what I do on a daily basis from today onwards again this year – only in Aotearoa New Zealand for the next couple of months. Happy advocating for a happier more just world for everyone, everywhere and forever!
A typical day in the life of a grassroots advocate – 16 July 2012
A bit of background. I arrived in Quebec City 20 May and since then have travelled through Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Kamloops, Vancouver, Victoria and back to Toronto. In that time I have given 40 presentation to 1500 people. This has been at a mix of schools, Rotary Clubs, organisations and community groups each learning about the global eradication of polio and how to be a part of the movement to see it gone forever.
So how do I go about creating awareness, advocacy and action? I think my day yesterday was pretty typical of what it means to create a movement to see The End of Polio.
7am → Walk in the local area of the new place and city I am in, which usually happens every 2-10 days
8am → Start checking the emails for the first time in the day and have a look at the ‘to do’ list
- Emails are the lifeblood for me to communicate the strategies, messages, tools and relationships for the continued ripple of awareness and engagement
10am → Meeting with a number of folks also maybe looking at the global eradication of poverty in some way – either political, public or organization engagement
- This 10am meeting was of particular significance as it brought together a bunch of organizations to the same table for the first time with a focus on Canada. We had an opportunity to learn of different approaches and instigated a few new initiatives for collaboration and greater outreach of community and political engagement
Till 11am → The important part of following up a meeting like this with action points and putting what was talked about into practical action
12pm → Back to the emails and a few calls looking at future presentations in Rotary Clubs in the coming months and working on relationships to foster more engagement with more people plus the details needed for a large event with our great polio keynote speaker Ramesh Ferris (Montreal Rotary Club event with 125 people and more!)
2pm → After a spot of lunch on a borrowed bicycle for a great ride to a presentation at the March of Dimes – the national association for polio survivors and post-polio sufferers in Canada.
3pm → Wonderful presentation to 30 members and workers for the March of Dimes and how we can support each other and bolster the efforts to create more awareness and action towards polio eradication – both domestically and globally
6pm → Back to base after a little extended ride via the shores of Lake Ontario and straight into the chain of emails stemming from previous meetings and presentations or emails looking at future meetings, presentations!
- This particular block of emails included an invitation to meet with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Mr David Onley, also a polio sufferer
8pm → A spot of dinner and then making sure all is set for the following day of meetings, calls, presentations and ticking off the ‘to do’ list – which is usually bigger than when the day started despite working 12 hours!
11pm → Time to blink for 7-8 hours to do it all again!
The in-between the lines aspect to this kind of day are the amazing calls, emails, conversations, learning, sharing, thinking, planning, laughing, passion, enthusiasm, energy and resolve that makes this kind of work for me an absolute joy!
That is the formula but it is mixed very importantly with information, inspiration and interaction to see a movement grow until it reaches a point where it can be not only noticed but has to be acted upon.