United by a common desire to improve health conditions for people across the globe, ACTION partners came together in Washington, DC, July 13–17, to celebrate its successes and devise strategies to conquer conditions and diseases of poverty like tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, polio, and malnutrition.
ACTION partners attended the RESULTS 35th International Conference and took advantage of the opportunity to examine key aspect of their collective work, such as how to build partnerships with civil society organizations, take advantage of major international events to advance ACTION’s campaigns, and respond rapidly to major global events and announcements.
The conference featured high-level speakers engage involved in advocacy or policymaking at the national and international levels, including Dr. Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund; Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi; Dr. Takao Toda, vice president of Japan International Cooperation Agency; and Annette Dixon, vice president for Human Development at the World Bank.
"It is central to the ACTION model that we give people the tools that they need to advocate for meaningful change for themselves and their communities," says Hannah Bowen, director of the ACTION Secretariat. “It was heartening to come together as a partnership once again and reaffirm our commitment to improving health conditions for people all over the world. I was especially proud of the cohort of young advocates participating in this year’s activities, knowing we are developing a new generation of advocates as partners as well."
The cohort of nine young people, co-sponsored by ACTION, Global Citizen, and Save the Children, came from the Cambodia, Canada, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
"Our youth advocates spent three days learning about advocacy, and practiced their skills through meetings with many inspirational leaders from Washington, DC, and around the globe," says ACTION Secretariat policy and impact manager, Nandini Pillai. "Many of the youth leaders took the opportunity to set up their own meetings with policy makers from their own countries in town for the conference, including strong, female leaders from the global south.‘
At the all-day ACTION partner meeting on July 13, the opening session, “How We Work Together,” examined the challenges of collaboration. For example, the group weighed the costs and benefits of working together and combining experiences and expertise for greater impact, versus the efficiencies of working alone as well as how best to balance personalities and expectations. In other words, “How to come to the table in an honest way, so all feel like equal partners.”
Other highlights include a session on “Before, During and After the HLM: Accountability for Ambitious TB Commitments” led by Aaron Oxley, executive director of RESULTS UK.
Xochitl Sanchez (ACTION Secretariat), Joyce Nganga (WACI Health), and Lightness Charles (HDT) led an informative session on World Bank advocacy and the Global Financing Facility (GFF). Sanchez, who is ACTION’s senior advisor for development finance, says there will be more information on the GFF’s performance following case studies by ACTION partners — KANCO, WACI Health and HDT.
Kristiana Bruneau (RESULTS Canada) and Mark Rice (RESULTS Australia), under the theme “Beyond Polio Eradication: Ensuring Lasting Impacts,” explored the challenges of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative transition and how it relates to broader advocacy on immunization and health financing.
The RESULTS International Conference brings together hundreds of grassroot advocates from the U.S. and around the world every year to celebrate their successes and inspire them to continue their work to end poverty and its consequences, including hunger and preventable diseases.
Photo captions: (top) Youth advocates trained by ACTION and allies at the RESULTS IC pose with Honorable Princess Kasune Zulu, a Member of Parliament in Zambia; (bottom) Staff of ACTION partner organizations speak on a panel at the IC.