This National Volunteers Week, we’re delighted to showcase the remarkable advocacy work of volunteer campaigners and their contribution to overcoming global poverty. In this guest blog post, Ricci and Karen, co-leaders of the Macclesfield RESULTS Group, share their personal motivations for the voluntary work they do, as well as some of their achievements.
Ricci and Karen also made this great video summarising their blog post!
We are Ricci and Karen from the beautiful town of Macclesfield, near the Peak District. We are both Christians and we think it is Jesus that has led us to care for the world’s poor. We have been volunteer preachers with Tearfund, a Christian relief and development organisation, for many years. Obviously though, this passion for justice, tackling poverty and inequality is not just a church thing, and we are keen to work with everybody and anybody who shares this vision.
Karen has long been a fair trade rep. We have a justice-based Bible study group in our church. We’re involved with Global Justice Now, and of course RESULTS; and we generally try to speak up for justice and poverty reduction in whatever ways we can.
We have recently taken over the role of Group Leader for the RESULTS group in Macclesfield. Jay and Sanjay, who have nurtured the group for decades, are still very much involved, as is our friend Jenny. We would love to grow the group more, but think that will be a long term goal. In the meantime, we attend the monthly conference calls, and do the campaign actions to the best of our abilities. We think that RESULTS does the hard work of political science on our behalf, ensuring that the actions we take are well targeted and effective. Here are three recent successes:
Last year’s Global Fund replenishment
On 11 June 2019, RESULTS asked its volunteers to move fast. We wrote to the Secretary of State for International Development requesting a speedy and generous pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This fund is a major plank of the world’s provision of health in the poorest countries. We had to act quickly, as there was only a three-week window of opportunity between the Secretary of State’s appointment and a Global Fund replenishment meeting. We asked for £1.4 billion for the Global Fund, and at the end of June, that is exactly the sum the Government pledged – a full 15% more than the UK’s previous contributions to the Global Fund (since 2016). As hoped, the UK’s stance fed into an overall commitment by donors in October of US $14 billion dollars at the Global Fund Replenishment Conference. We believe that many of the letters that influenced Secretary of State Rory Stewart and Prime Minister Theresa May in making this decision were from RESULTS group members.
Replenishment of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
On 12 February this year, RESULTS teamed up with the ONE Campaign and other organisations on an advocacy day in the House of Commons. Together with Jay, we travelled to London. After a morning of training and practice, we met our MP, David Rutley, and asked him to ask the Government to throw its full support behind Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance in June this year. He was supportive of the campaign, and he subsequently wrote a letter to the Department for International Development. We had a group photograph taken, and I (Ricci) then wrote an article about our exploits for the Macclesfield Express.
What happened next was quite funny! The Macclesfield Express got back to me, saying they would be pleased to publish the article, but could we provide a picture not including David Rutley, as they had too many pictures of our local MP already! Sanjay took the accompanying picture of Jay, Karen and me.
Advocacy during COVID-19
The RESULTS action in May was to write to local print or social media about the effects of COVID-19 on health programmes in poor countries. Here, we are surrounded by rainbows drawn by children during the lock-down. Karen picked up on this theme, and used her recently-developed skills in ‘craftivism' to produce the cross-stitched pictured here.
She then wrote to the Macclesfield Express with a picture of her work. We can say that Macclesfield’s contribution to these global funds alone saves thousands of lives, not only from COVID-19, but also from polio, malaria, TB, HIV and even malnutrition. Her article was in the paper last week.
A massive ‘thank you’ to Ricci, Karen, Jay, Sanjay and to everyone who volunteers their time to campaign with RESULTS! You can follow what RESULTS advocates around the world are up to here: