The RESULTS International Conference (20-21 June) was a gathering unique in the organisation’s history. As well as celebrating the 40th anniversary of RESULTS, it was our first virtual conference, and our largest ever gathering, with some 800 attendees from over 20 countries, with grassroots advocates and people with lived experience of poverty and oppression from both the US and around the world.
The conference came at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement rightly reinforces how racism and poverty are intertwined. Hearing RESULTS US Executive Director Joanne Carter address this unequivocally, I felt proud to be part of an organisation that is willing to face up to the implications for our advocacy of centuries of oppression, and to challenge the social attitudes and structures that create and perpetuate poverty and inequality, whether it be in New Jersey or Nairobi.
Right from the first session I attended, I felt a powerful sense of global interconnectedness, as I sat in Zoom meetings with RESULTS advocates from right around the world. Each square on my computer screen held a person who is part of the same mission as the one I am on: to create a fairer world, free from poverty, in which no one is left behind.
Powerful speakers such as Rosemary Mburu, Professor Muhammad Yunus and WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reminded us of the great power of a global cohort of advocates who share this goal. At this time, when the COVID-19 pandemic is creating even greater inequality, as the most marginalised communities face the worst of its consequences, we must not only advocate for access to vaccines and treatments, but also speak out against the structural inequalities in access to healthcare generally, and to education, social protection and economic resilience. COVID has disrupted global society and threatens to shake international solidarity; yet each of us in the RESULTS global family knows that solidarity, hope and resilience are essential.
Our part in the global fight is not just to gain resources for public goods such as health systems, essential though they are, but to help to build a new, more equal world, based on the common values we share. It won’t be enough just to ‘return to normal’ only to find ourselves back in the same old unequal world we were in before.
Following the conference, the RESULTS Advocacy Week (22-25 June) will see advocates take action around the world, for example, with virtual meetings with congressional representatives, Members of Parliament and the World Bank.
This Twitter Wall collects all the actions that RESULTS advocates are taking with unity of purpose this week using #Voices4RESULTS, and I’m excited to see what is shared as grassroots advocates collectively challenge the forces of oppression and inequality (and you can find social media tips on how to share your actions here).