How we worked hard to make 2021 a turning point for good

By: Laura Published: 01/12/2021

By Dr. Robyn Waite, Director, Policy and Advocacy

I suspect that 2021 will be one of the most memorable years of our lives. Regardless of where on the planet you lived, you saw and felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. No two experiences were the same, but the experience was a shared one, nonetheless. Some of us lost jobs and loved ones; everyone missed out on special moments; and many of us suffered physical and psychological challenges. As staff and volunteers working with Results Canada, we knew that people living in poverty would be the hardest hit. We also knew that the only way to find hope and solutions would be to take urgent and unprecedented action to tackle the unfolding global health, social, and economic crises head-on.

The essential meaning of crisis is a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention. And crises often result in decisive change. They are turning points in individual or societal histories. Throughout 2021 Results Canada witnessed firsthand just how many people are willing to lean into making the pandemic a turning point for good.

We took a stand for health equity (like nutrition), quality education, and economic opportunity for all and people across Canada joined us. We saw a 120% increase in volunteer recruitment and the largest growth of impactful and strategic actions in years. Volunteers doubled the letters to the editor they submitted to newspapers compared to 2020, of which 280 pieces of media (and counting) were published. In March 2021, we saw a 500% increase in the number of landmarks lit up for World Tuberculosis Day. So far, our volunteers engaged parliamentarians in 170% more meetings and phone calls this year on top of mobilizing during a federal election!

People did not just join us to take action, they made impact – impact that can be measured in lives saved and well-being secured. Our advocacy has led to successes for many of our calls-to-action:

  • #EndCovidEverywhere: Canada met and became one of the first and only G20 nations to invest its fair share in a globally coordinated response to the pandemic with more than CAD$1.3 billion for implementing partners delivering on the mandate of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.
  • #StopTheDeadlyDivide: Canada made an initial CAD$100 million investment over five years in the Global Financing Facility to protect the health of women, children, and adolescents. This investment will contribute to expanding access to essential services in low- and middle-income countries – for example, it will contribute to more than 56 million additional women accessing skilled birth attendants by 2025 to ensure they deliver safely.
  • #RaiseYourHand: Canada invested CAD$300 million over five years in the Global Partnership for Education and signed the Girls' Education Declaration, which includes two time-bound targets to ensure 20 million girls are in school and that 20 million more girls can read by age 10 (or the end of primary school) in low- and lower-middle-income countries, both by 2026.
  • #EndCovidEverywhere: Most recently, Canada committed to channeling CAD$3.7 billion, or 20%, of its newly allocated International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to support low-income and other vulnerable countries. These resources will support countries to purchase critical products like vaccines, personal protective equipment, and emergency food supplies at virtually no cost to Canada. Learn more about SDRs in our “Share the bounty, boost the global economy” blog.

And these are only highlights of the year. Together we also made strides in seeing Canada donate excess COVID-19 vaccines, getting the Global Fund to re-think spending across the three dominant epidemics, and ensuring an ambitious people-first plan is developed alongside the 20th replenishment process of the International Development Association (IDA). We also hope to see Canada respond to our calls for ambitious action in response to the growing global malnutrition crisis at the Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) kicking off December 7.  

a year of firsts

2021 will also be remembered as the inaugural year of both the Results Canada Fellowship Program and the #EndPoverty Challenge. Fellows provided extra support to maximize our impact on tuberculosis, the IDA replenishment, the N4G Summit and more. And thanks to the generous supporters of our #EndPoverty Challenge we raised over CAD$17,000, to scale up our advocacy on economic opportunity. 2021 likewise marks the first year Results Canada hosted Stop TB Canada with a steering committee and annual work plan in place. Motivated by your powerful actions, Results Canada staff worked hard behind the scenes to create new opportunities to build momentum and take strategic action to end extreme poverty.

Some might say 2021 was the year of the pandemic. Looking at what we accomplished together despite the uncertainty and challenge of the time, we have decided to call it the year of commitment. The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated and put the spotlight on many deadly divides, yet those working to realize a better world gained a renewed sense of commitment to the cause and fueled a fierce determination to force decisive change grounded in justice. We are ready for you 2022 – challenges, new government, and all – we will make it a year of people power, action, and impact!

As this year comes to a close, make sure to take time to practice self-care when and if you can. Be sure to reflect on what you have learned the past year too and share with us your favourite advocacy moment - let us #CelebrateResults together.

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