By Chris Dendys
As we enter month 18 of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be part of the Results Canada community of advocates who have spoken out with power and conviction in support of global solidarity to #EndCovidEverywhere.
Results volunteers were early and vocal on the need to focus beyond our borders in our pandemic response. Early and sustained calls-to-action helped leverage more than CAD$1 billion for vaccines, tests, treatments, and health systems that have been so critical to assist in easing suffering and saving lives. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far but recognize that there’s so much more to do.
In the first five months of 2021, more COVID-19 cases were reported than in all of 2020. And as we debate the merit of booster shots in Canada to fight the virus, many of the world’s at-risk populations still haven’t received their first shot. Just 1% of vaccines have found their way to low-income countries. Moreover, COVID-19’s collateral impacts continue to be felt most by those who were living in poverty before the pandemic. It has meant fewer kids in school, a surge in the ‘old’ epidemics like tuberculosis, the re-emergence of preventable childhood illnesses, increasing malnutrition, income insecurity, and the list goes on. Results’ work to fight inequity and injustice is more relevant than ever.
Ramping up our advocacy efforts
We will continue to find opportunities to act boldly on our mission of a world free of extreme poverty. This means:
All of these efforts will be enhanced when we hit the ground post-election day (September 20) with a strategy to meet, influence, and recruit newly elected MPs as anti-poverty champions.
Grow our advocacy network
We get ‘results’ because of our volunteers, donors, members, and partners. The wins that Results helps secure for the world are thanks to their commitment to lean in, to learn, and to be brave and bold in their advocacy.
That’s why I’m thrilled that, despite challenging times over the last year, we’ve seen impressive increases in the number of volunteers who have joined Results. As of August 2021, we have nearly 500 active volunteers in 33 groups across the country. This fall, we plan to keep that momentum going – while encouraging our volunteers to stay well themselves. (It’s important to remember even as we grow that we support one another and preserve our own wellness. Please make time to check in with yourself and others using our tips for self-care.)
Stay tuned for an awareness raising and fundraising initiative we’re launching to coincide with International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) on October 17.
Look for the open spaces and aspire to rebuild our world for the better
Years ago, my daughter played competitive soccer. As a supportive mom, I cheered her on at games and would sit in on some of her practices. One practice has always stood out to me. It was the day that the coach called on the girls to work on their penalty kicks. As each girl lined up to kick the ball into the net, many of them proceeded to kick the ball directly into the goalie’s arms. Finally, the coach pointed out their mistake. They were so focused on the goalie –the obstacle – that they weren’t seeing the ‘open space’ around her. That open space might seem empty, but in fact that’s where the opportunity lies.
While we will continue to focus on COVID-19, we will also begin to look for new and ‘open spaces’ for impact and progress. We will explore ways that Results can contribute to new frameworks, policies and investments that support a world that can take on future pandemics effectively and with a greater sense of global solidarity and equity. We will take stock and try to learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and work toward rebuilding our world for the better.
Let’s not repair our world to its existing and persistent state of inequity. Together, we can aspire to the world we need: a healthier, equitable, and more resilient world for all.