Activists from across the United States were on Capitol Hill this week to lobby their lawmakers to tackle global health and poverty challenges. After three days of advocacy training, 160 activists were at the Capitol on Tuesday February 25 for ONE’s annual Power Summit.
This year, we advocated for funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and for senators to pass a bill to help stop global corruption and money laundering.
— Christal Seitz (@Nazwok) February 25, 2020
ONE’s message on Capitol Hill
This year, our activists had two crucial asks (and one big thank you), all with big implications for eradicating global poverty:
Thank you @GaryPeters for meeting with us about @Gavi and the ILLICIT CASH Act (S. 2563). Looking forward to continue working with you on these exciting pieces of legislation. #ONE4Gavi @ONEinAmerica pic.twitter.com/rFUCeO80ij
— Sarah DeFlon (@sarahdeflon) February 25, 2020
Invest in life-saving vaccines
This year, our main ask was for a pledge of $290 million annually in support of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi is a partnership that aims to improve access to vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable children. Since its founding in 2000, it has helped immunize 760 million children and saved more than 13 million lives. Gavi currently helps vaccinate almost half of the world’s children.
This June, Gavi’s third replenishment will take place in London, with an ambitious goal of reaching at least $7.4 billion in additional funding. This funding will allow Gavi and its partners to vaccinate 300 million more children and save up to 8 million more lives. Gavi will also invest some of this money into strengthening health systems to improve overall healthcare.
Securing this funding is a vital step towards making vaccines available for everyone, everywhere — which has wide-reaching implications for global poverty eradication.
Crack down on global corruption
While our activists were at the Senate, they also asked for support for the ILLICIT CASH Act, which aims to crack down on corruption and money laundering.
Every year, an estimated $1 trillion is taken out of developing countries through a web of corrupt activity — that’s money that could be used to fight extreme poverty, tackle health crises, and improve people’s well-being.
This corrupt activity often involves anonymous shell companies, which are secretive entities that allow the people who own them to keep their identities hidden. They are one of the most commonly used methods of the criminal and corrupt to move and hide money. Currently they’re absurdly easy to set up (in fact, we create a quick cheat sheet to show you just how easy).
There’s a simple fix: requiring the disclosure of the true identities of secret company owners will help stop corruption and the flow of money away from those who need it most — which is what the ILLICIT CASH Act would do.
Activists also took time to thank members of Congress for their support in 2019 for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Students Elan and Annalise stopped by @AOC’s office today to give her an award for going On the Record in support of the @GlobalFund to fight HIV/AIDS! Thanks AOC for stepping up the fight against AIDS! #ONEPowerSummit pic.twitter.com/vWuyai0Ios
— Maddy Vonhoff (@MaddyVonhoff) February 25, 2020
Thanks to the efforts of ONE activists around the world, the Global Fund secured $14 billion in pledges for its life-saving work over the next three years — the largest replenishment of a multilateral health organization in history.
The summit brings together a range of activists — students from Nebraska to religious leaders from Georgia. Some volunteers have come to the Power Summit for years, while others are first time college students participating for the first time.
Mia Thomas, a college student from Nebraska, told her local paper: “It’s just a great opportunity to have one-on-one to say, ‘I’m a constituent, this is what I care about. I care about Gavi and I care about childhood vaccines, and as your constituent, I hope that you care about those, as well.’”
Good to know people can agree on just ONE thing… https://t.co/Q2al2nDaCm
— Gayle Smith (@GayleSmith) February 20, 2020
It’s also a great bipartisan moment, points out Kyle Matous, ONE’s Director of Government Relations:
“Members of Congress are constantly barraged by the hot issues of the day, which are almost always partisan by nature. The great thing about ONE’s Power Summit is that it provides members of Congress and their staff the opportunity to pause and remember how we can come together to solve some of the world’s biggest problems,” Matous explains.
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