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The Action Thread Part Two

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There is finally an approved Ebola vaccine

14 November 2019 4:50PM UTC | By: ANNE PAISLEY


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There’s big news this week in the fight against infectious disease: the world now has an approved Ebola vaccine.

It is the first vaccine of its kind to be approved for quality, safety, and effectiveness by the World Health Organization, paving the way for it to be made available wherever Ebola is a threat.


WHO prequalifies #Ebola vaccine, paving the way for its use in high-risk countries. #VaccinesWork

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The vaccine, known as Ervebo, has already been used to protect more than 250,000 people in trials and has proved effective after a single dose. Now that it has WHO approval, it can it be used more widely to control outbreaks and can be given to those who have come in contact with Ebola, which has a death rate of up to 90%.

Why this vaccine is so important

This vaccine has major implications for efforts to fight Ebola, which is highly contagious and very deadly. An Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has cost more than 2,000 lives since 2018.

Prior to the current outbreak in the DRC, the last major outbreak of Ebola occurred from March 2014 to June 2016, starting in Guinea and ultimately spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone. That outbreak infected more than 28,600 people and killed more than 11,000.

The Ervebo vaccine will help prevent this dramatic spread of disease and experts hope it could make outbreaks of Ebola a thing of the past. The vaccine can be used in the middle of an outbreak to protect those who have come in contact directly or indirectly with Ebola — including health workers on the frontlines of fighting this outbreak and saving lives.

What’s next

Prequalification of the vaccine paves the way for it to be produced and distributed in at-risk countries. And thanks to institutions like Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the vaccine will be made available to the people who need it most right now.

Gavi — a partnership that has supported the immunisation of 700 million children and saved more than 10 million lives since its founding in 2000 — has been helping to distribute and stockpile the vaccine since 2016. Following the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, Gavi made a commitment to buy doses of the vaccine when it became licensed — which is exactly what happened this week.

That stockpile of doses is already being used in DRC and neighbouring countries in trials and has proven highly effective at preventing infection. Its use will now be expanded, saving thousands of lives and supporting health workers in their efforts to contain this outbreak.

In 2020 we’ll be campaigning to make sure Gavi can continue bringing vaccines to the people who need them most. Be part of the campaign by joining us as a ONE Member now.

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We must insist on concrete action to end gender-based violence

We must insist on concrete action to end gender-based violence

13 November 2019 10:15PM UTC | By: EILEEN SMITH


Stop sexual violence in Senegal

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Eileen Smith is a gender activist and a motivational speaker working in South Africa. Eileen is a survivor of gender-based violence and advocates against it and helps survivors transition from victim to victor. Here’s her story. This article discusses domestic violence.

I had no idea how serious gender-based violence (GBV) was until I fell under the statistics. Daily, I work with survivors of GBV and the severity differs, but the residual effects don’t. Trauma is trauma.

Words spoken become words lived. “You are nothing, you are useless, you are weak.” These “you ares” are bound to become “I ams” at some point, right?

It’s important that we do not just look at GBV as a crime against the victim, but also as a crime to society and our economy.

Every economy depends on the productivity of the people. But when there is a disease in the system — and yes gender-based violence is a disease — the system will become infected and suffer.

For a woman who lives in an abusive home, what happens at home will affect her attention span, self-esteem and her productivity. As a victim in her home, she will be the victim in the world. Correction becomes criticism because all self-esteem is lost, concentration is scattered because there’s a problem awaiting her at home. She will create the illusion of feeling stuck due to words spoken to her. If you are “stuck” how do you progress? Produce? Plan? Create? Grow?

Every economy depends on the productivity of the people — men and women. Everyone plays a role in the growth of the economy. But when there is a disease in the system — and yes gender-based violence is a disease — the system will become infected and suffer.

I wish that when I was her, I knew that there was a way out and that what he said wasn’t who I was. Fear is not a desirable state to remain in. It’s a constant fight or flight mode because you have accepted that as the norm. The feeling of never being good enough affected my work ethic and caused me to feel like the victim all the time.

GBV is not just a personal issue

GBV is not only a personal issue — it’s an issue for us all because we all form part of the chain.

It took years to rebuild my self-esteem. I recall a time when a simple typo in a document gave me anxiety and my boss’s thoughtful expression caused me panic, even when it had nothing to do with me.

Starting over again was not easy. I carried the words with me. When people made fast hand gestures, my heart would race. When I was rejected from a job, I would remember the words that put me down. I had to unpack my trauma and keep going.

But many women don’t know how to unpack their trauma. I try to use my experience to help survivors transition from victim to victor. I run workshops and host a women’s networking event called The Emotional Baggage Depot to assist women, to rebuild, recreate and deal with the emotional baggage and residual effects of life’s events.

I recently joined the Kuhluka Movement as the community moderator. I counsel and coach women and then we equip them to be pillars of support for other women in surrounding communities with counselling and life coaching tools to help address the residual effects of trauma.

We must insist on concrete action to end GBV. ONE’s petition to stop sexual violence in Senegal is one such effort.

As I counsel these women, I realize even more that GBV is really on the rise, and causes such as ONE’s petition in Senegal is truly amazing.

We must insist on concrete action to end GBV. ONE’s petition to stop sexual violence in Senegal is one such effort to put an end to gender-based violence. The petition is telling the government it’s time to step up.

If something doesn’t change, our societies and economies will continue to be impacted. Creating a war, rage, fear, violence cannot bring about a positive outcome and cannot grow the country.

Stop sexual violence in Senegal

Dear Malick Sall, Minister of Justice of Senegal; Dear Ndèye Sali Diop Dieng, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Family Affairs and Gender of Senegal,

We call on you to make every effort to enact and implement as soon as possible a new law that recognises rape as a serious crime in Senegal. In the face of renewed violence against women, it is time to act decisively to protect women and girls.

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Here’s how ONE activists helped the Global Fund break records

11 October 2019 4:27PM UTC | By: ONE


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The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has secured US$14 billion in pledges for its life-saving work over the next three years — the largest replenishment of a multilateral health organisation in history.

We’ve been campaigning in support of the Global Fund over the past year to make sure world leaders were committed to stepping up the fight ahead of the 2019 replenishment in Lyon. And thanks to these efforts, every market where we campaigned reached — or exceeded — their target pledges. Like every ONE campaign, we rely on our staff, volunteers and members, and every win we achieve is the result of a team effort among our activists.

Here’s a look at our global efforts over the past year to secure US$14 billion to tackle three of the world’s deadliest diseases.


In replenishment host country France, our activists worked hard right up to the moment the US$14 billion was announced. Starting over the summer, our Youth Ambassadors raised awareness at five summer festivals, urging festival-goers to take our quiz to raise awareness for the three diseases, sign the petition, and write postcards to French President Emmanuel Macron. In the lead up to the replenishment in Lyon, French Youth Ambassadors attended three events in different French cities, where other NGOs also made their voices heard with a clear objective: gather as many petition signatures as possible.

French Youth Ambassadors and ONE Champions from Nigeria and Mali took their voices to the streets of Lyon ahead of the replenishment conference. They visited (RED) street murals, and met (RED) ambassador and activist Connie Mudenda, who shared her inspiring fight against AIDS and her story of how she raised her healthy daughter, with needed treatments, thanks to the Global Fund. Our activists gathered dozens people to form a giant human red ribbon, and they ran a booth with our superhero quiz in the Palais des Congrès, the location of the replenishment.

The day before the replenishment, they attended a dinner where big companies were encouraged to increase their pledges for the Global Fund. And they led discussions with our co-founder Bono, philanthropist Bill Gates and President Macron to ask them to be ambitious in the fight against these three deadly diseases. Youth Ambassadors made their voices heard until the last minute in Lyon, handing in our global petition to the French Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn. And they were there to celebrate when our goal of raising US$14 billion was realised.

— Anaïs Martinon, France Campaigns Coordinator


We kicked off campaigning earlier this year with postcards to Minister Maryam Monsef. Our members stepped up and sent THOUSANDS of postcards — followed with hundreds of emails to the minister, over 1,000 Canada Day emails to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hundreds of tweets and dozens of letters to their local newspaper. We worked closely with Loyce Maturu from the Global Fund Advocates Network, whose op-ed in The Globe and Mail turned up the heat. ONE members in London, Abuja and Dakar all visited Canadian embassies to encourage Canada to step up the fight. The campaign reached a high point at Pride Montréal, where we worked with HIV/AIDS organizations from Québec to share the message that any investment less than CA$925 million was not enough. ONE volunteers from Montréal took advantage of Prime Minister Trudeau attending the parade to share thousands of rainbow-coloured stickers with a clear message that Canada can help end AIDS by 2030.

Finally, after eight months of constant pressure, and less than a week after our activities in Montréal, Minister Monsef announced CA$930 million during an event in Toronto. In response, our members thanked Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Monsef, and we continued the celebration at the pride parade in Ottawa.

— Paul Galipeau, Canada Campaigns Manager


Ireland delivered an early pledge, before our global campaign officially kicked off, and ONE Youth Ambassadors were quick to congratulate the government on Twitter. After hearing the good news, we reached out to our members and Youth Ambassadors to gather messages for a thank you card that was hand delivered to the government representative and Minister for Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone at the Youth Ambassador launch in Dublin.

— Jasmine Wakeel, U.K. Campaigns Coordinator


Our campaign to support the Global Fund replenishment kick-started with the World Health Assembly in Geneva. We sent letters to the African health ministers chairing the Africa group to encourage them to discuss the global fund and make a statement of support to the replenishment. Following Nelson Mandela Day, we reached out to ONE members in Africa who had signed our petition and asked them to share the petition across Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Our supporters across Africa tweeted at their respective health ministers, calling on them to make bold commitments to the Global Fund. Ahead of the African Union health ministers meeting, we lobbied the AU intensively to include the Global Fund replenishment on the agenda and mobilised our Africa members to take action by again tweeting at their health ministers, highlighting just how serious they were about their governments making formal commitments to the Global Fund replenishment.

As a result, the ministers adopted a decision which urged Member States and partners to honour the commitments for the replenishment of the Global Fund in accordance with the AU Assembly Declaration of February 2019.

— Edwin Ikhuoria, Africa Executive Director (interim)

United Kingdom

Following dedicated months of campaigning, we were delighted to receive a bold pledge from the U.K. government that will help save up to 2 million lives. We had so many exciting campaign activities from kick off until the pledge announcement, including handing our petition to No.10 Downing Street, a health heroes event in the House of Commons, lobby days in Parliament and community action. We even had support from a famous face: actor and advocate Michael Sheen helped us get even more crucial MP supporters on board with our Global Fund campaigning.

— Jasmine Wakeel, U.K. Campaigns Coordinator


In the run-up to the G7 Summit in France, where Germany’s Global Fund pledge was officially announced, we started a petition to convince German politicians to engage in the fight against AIDS. To back up this action, our supporters wrote letters to German Minister for Development Gerd Müller. Our amazing Youth Ambassadors even went to his constituency to deliver the letter personally and to talk to locals about the action. Our Youth Ambassador Janice met Mr. Müller to hand over the petition and discuss the importance of the Global Fund. After hearing the good news about Germany’s commitment to the Global Fund, we are sending thank you messages to Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who made the announcement in Biarritz.

— ONE’s team in Germany

United States

U.S. volunteers spent the past year campaigning to secure a strong pledge to meet the United States’ historic one-third commitment to the Global Fund. Volunteers started by gathering 4,800 postcards to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last fall to try to influence the Trump administration’s budget request. Then in February, volunteers traveled to Capitol Hill for more than 200 meetings with Congress, urging them to step up the fight. U.S. volunteers spent the rest of 2019 rallying their communities — everywhere from small gatherings in coffee shops and churches, to huge music festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. They got creative with (RED), taking action with a Truff hot sauce challenge twist, got mindful and limber with some Yoga activism at Wanderlust festivals, and helped paint the world (RED) through street art to draw attention to the fight against AIDS. U.S. volunteers even became human billboards in support of the Global Fund at the Congressional Softball and Baseball games in Washington, DC.

After tens of thousands of advocacy actions — including handwritten letters, tweets, emails, media published in local papers, and local engagements with congressional members — we saw over half of the U.S. Congress (285 representatives and senators) go on the record publicly in support of the Global Fund, sending a strong signal to the rest of the world ahead of the replenishment conference in Lyon.

— Charlie Harris, Associate Director, Membership Mobilization


Despite a government crisis in Italy, our Italian Youth Ambassadors and members continued the fight to secure a pledge for the Global Fund. We mass-tweeted at Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte while he was on his way to the G7 Summit with a simple message: Italy’s leadership in the fight against three of the deadliest diseases is key. And those efforts were crucial to securing a pledge from Italy. Prime Minister Conte received hundreds of emails and tweets, Youth Ambassadors delivered 400+ handwritten postcards to the international development minister, and there were over 100 media mentions of the Youth Ambassadors’ awareness-raising activities in their communities.

— Caterina Scuderi, Italy Campaigns Coordinator


We also worked hard to make sure the European Union was committed to the Global Fund. Félicitas, a medical student and German Youth Ambassador in Belgium, wrote a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with other YAs in Europe also co-signing the letter. Félicitas attended the Friends of Global Fund Meeting and pushed European Commissioner for Development Neven Mimica to make an early commitment to the fund. Youth Ambassadors then took to Twitter to ask Juncker to take Felicita’s letter into account, and our members urged Juncker to act against AIDS. To put some final pressure during the summer, our YAs sent handwritten postcards to Mr. Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk about the importance of investing €580 million to the Global Fund. During the G7 Summit, they also dressed up as superheroes and sent several tweets and messages urging them to make concrete commitments.

— Guadalupe de la Casas, Media Manager

A Global Success

The new funding will help to save 16 million lives and move forward the fight to end the AIDS, TB and malaria epidemics by 2030. This record-breaking replenishment saw the biggest ever investment from private sector donors and renewed pledges from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, the EU and Italy — which all increased their commitment by over 15% — and from France, which increased its contribution by more than 20%.

Want to take part in our campaigns fighting to change the world? Join us and become a ONE Member now.

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"It's Christmas. It's Christmas time again."
Have you heard the news?❄️
There is a new top Christmas Charity Single in town to support Mencap!
Watch Mikey Cobban, our kind ambassador, in his new band 'The Snowflakes.'
Full video available: http://youtu.be/czUhAVo5Euo
Thank you so much Mikey.



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No matter if you're a dog 🐶 or human 😃, whatever your interest 🎨 or skill, you can give the gift of your time  this Christmas 🎄 by volunteering ❤️.

Find out how to support people with a #LearningDisability: www.mencap.org.uk/volunteer



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Fantastic to see BBC's pledge to promote inclusiveness across the organisation and improve portrayal of disability on screen. Accessibility and media representation are so crucial to changing attitudes. Looking forward to working with them on coverage of Virgin Money London Marathon 2020 – putting learning disability front and centre on race day 🙌 #HereIAm https://bbc.in/2RlXC8W

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