The RESULTS international conference in Washington, DC is extra special this year. 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of RESULTS which was founded back in 1980 by Sam Daley-Harris in the USA.
For three decades, RESULTS partners from around the world have been shining a light on critical, effective solutions to poverty and through our collective efforts have created shifts in development priorities and spending, which have had a major impact on the lives of the poor.
Following two days of plenaries and workshops, participants at the International Conference – who include Aparna, Julia and Louise from the UK – are now holding meetings with World Bank officials and US policymakers on Capitol Hill to galvanise support for effective interventions that deliver better health, education and livelihoods for the world’s poorest people.
The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Celebrating the past; shaping the future’. Throughout the conference we have been reflecting on the successes that RESULTS has helped to bring about in the world as well as key challenges and opportunities that will shape the future of our advocacy work.
Here are just two of the successes that we have been celebrating:
When RESULTS began back in the early 1980s, 40,000 children died every day from largely preventable causes. This rate has now dropped by almost half to 24,000. RESULTS played a key role in advocating for increased investment in cost-effective interventions such as immunisations and food supplements as well as ensuring that key programmes run by organisations such as Unicef and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) received support. RESULTS was also behind the largest ever gathering of heads of states to address the travesty of childhood deaths – the UN World Summit for Children in 1990. Out of this summit, leaders committed to achieve a number of targets to reduce child deaths. These targets were the precursors to the Millennium Development Goals that the International Community works towards today.
When RESULTS introduced Muhammad Yunus to politicians and the media in 1987, few people had heard of his idea of extending small loans and other financial services to poor people to help them work their way out of poverty. Through our grassroots advocacy and the creation of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, RESULTS has played a crucial role in catalysing a microfinance movement around the world. Thanks in part to our efforts, over 100 million people now have access to microcredit loans.
Depsite these major strides forward, there is still so much to do. For example, whilst maternal and child deaths, and deaths from preventable diseases such as TB and malaria are on the decline, progress is not happening quick enough. Often it is the most marginalised and poorest groups of people who are being left behind and at this conference we have been discussing how to ensure that ‘the bottom quintile’ are prioritised in development programmes.
On of the things that we have found most amazing about our participation in the conference is the sheer length of time that so many people have been involved. After 30 years of activism, RESULTS activists have shown that they are still passionate, determined and committed to achieving our mission of a world free from poverty. Inspired by our successes, and each other, RESULTS will continue to be a force for change over the coming 30 years as well!