Advocacy: ONE voice can change the world


Each year the Advocacy team selects an area of focus from among the four members' deepest cares and concerns. This year, the Advocacy team is focusing on ending extreme poverty worldwide. Our Advocacy point of contact for this issue is Rev. Ashley Randall who has done extensive work on the issue with the ONE Campaign. Over the next year we will share about how we can engage with this issue from various perspectives. If you have any questions or would like to join us in this work, please contact Rev. Ashley Randall.

By Rev. Ashley Randall

For many people, their first personal experience of extreme poverty comes when they travel as a part of a mission team. In many places around the world people do not have access to clean water, adequate food supplies, or basic medical services. Witnessing these conditions firsthand can be particularly disturbing. On the other hand, many people recognize that the problems in many of these communities could be improved, if not resolved, if those with the resources and the authority made the necessary commitments. 

When people return home they often feel called to tell their family, friends, and fellow church members about their experience. They are moved to respond to do something to improve the conditions in the area they have visited. As they share their story, people often wonder what they can do to help. Some of them may sign up for the next mission trip. Others are glad to write a check. Many are left to wonder, “What can one person do?”

About 20 years ago a young man who grew up going to church with his mother and brother in suburban Dublin, Ireland travelled to Ethiopia with his wife to work in a World Vision feeding camp. After working there for about a month, he began to wonder how much more might be able to be accomplished to improve the lives of the people he met in the camps.

After he returned from Africa, Paul David Hewson—known by his stage name, Bono—began conversations with political leaders, as well as members of the Christian mission community. He also reached out to a number of major philanthropists.

In 2004, 11 non-profit humanitarian and advocacy organizations (Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan USA, Save the Children U.S., World Concern, and World Vision), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, came together to found the ONE campaign.

ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than nine million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. One of its core principles is that the fight against poverty isn’t about charity, but about justice and equality

The name ONE was inspired by the belief that one voice, coming together with many others— the political left and right, business leaders, activists, faith leaders, and students—can change the world for the better.

Whether lobbying political leaders in world capitals or running cutting-edge grassroots campaigns, ONE pressures governments to do more to fight AIDS and other preventable, treatable diseases in the poorest places on the planet, to empower small-holder farmers, to expand access to energy, and to combat corruption so governments are accountable to their citizens. ONE is strictly nonpartisan.

ONE’s nine million members are critical to this work. They come from every walk of life and from across the political spectrum. They’re artists and activists, faith and business leaders, students and scientists. They take action day in, day out—organizing, mobilizing, educating, and advocating so that people will have the chance not just to survive, but to thrive.

ONE teams in Washington, D.C., New York, London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Ottawa, and Abuja educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives—and which every year are under threat from cuts and other priorities.

ONE is not a grant-making organization and they do not solicit funding from the public or receive government funds. ONE is funded almost entirely by foundations, individual philanthropists, and corporations.

Currently ONE is engaged is an effort to improve the access to education for girls around the world. Using the hashtag “#GirlsCount,” ONE is doing all it can to raise awareness of the 130 million girls around the world who are not in school. That’s 130 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs, and political leaders the world is missing out on. Education is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against extreme poverty—so it’s an outrage that so many girls are still denied the chance to learn.

In the next few weeks, we’ve got an incredible opportunity to change this. Global leaders are being asked to crowdfund one of the biggest education funders in the world’s poorest countries—the Global Partnership for Education. If they all chip in enough, it would mean millions more girls will have the chance to complete a full 12 years of school.
You may never have the opportunity to participate in a mission team, but you can write a letter or make a call that could make a difference. Go to and learn more about ending extreme poverty worldwide. It costs nothing for you to join and they will never ask you for a contribution. Instead, they’ll ask you to write a letter or make a call to your member of Congress. When you do that, you will be helping shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives.

Rev. Ashley Randall has attended ONE’s Summit in Washington, D.C. for the past two years and lobbied members of Congress. He would welcome the opportunity to visit your congregation and speak about the ONE campaign and how you can join in the effort.

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