When Leo Young joined RESULTS 10 years ago, 40,000 people a day died of poverty worldwide.
“Today, 20,000 people a day die of poverty and we know that we are fixing the problem,” said Young, who has organized a Vernon chapter of RESULTS, an international organization whose goal is to create a world free of poverty and needless suffering.
“When I first joined, we were told the problem was too big to solve. A friend told me about RESULTS and I said, ‘I’m going to write letters.’
“Now it is my turn to tell you. I am inviting you to show up for the poorest of the poor and write one letter a month at our education and action meeting.”
Young calls RESULTS democracy in action, with the grassroots organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty through the commitment of passionate and engaged citizens.
“We focus on solutions, not obstacles, and pinpoint opportunities where cost-effective, tangible investments can have the most impact for the world’s poor,” said Young. “We measure success in lives saved, in more children entering school and in less suffering from needless, preventable disease and illness.”
Two hours, once a month, can make a huge difference in the lives of the people who need it the most, said Young, who calls RESULTS one of the most powerful groups you’ve never heard of.
“We are now the mouse that roared. We have moved literally billions of dollars from things politicians want to spend it on to things that matter.”
RESULTS began about 25 years ago in the United States, and now has chapters across Canada, in Mexico, Japan, Australia, South Korea and the U.K., anywhere with a democratic government. The Vernon chapter is the first new RESULTS group for Canada in 10 years.
Through the use of media outreach, advocacy, and community engagement, RESULTS volunteers and staff convey to government that Canadians across the country are demanding that action be taken on reducing poverty around the world.
“This is about using the tools of democracy the way they are supposed to be used.
“I run into a lot of fatigue and ennui, hopelessness and despair and I want to convey that 10 years ago I had a sense of despondency and now I feel empowered.”
The difference, said Young, is that RESULTS goes directly to the people who need help. It does not financially contribute to community projects in developing countries. Instead, its contribution is creating the political will to mobilize resources that reduce poverty on both micro and macro levels of the developing world.
Its work is based on education and action and a belief that for change to occur and citizens to become mobilized, they need to be sufficiently educated and inspired about a particular issue and this education must be directed towards concrete and effective action.
With its goal to ending worldwide poverty, RESULTS focuses on child and maternal health; education, particularly for girls; and eradicating TB/malaria/AIDS.
“One of the things that influences where the money goes is public opinion and that’s what we do — we generate the will to end poverty.
“Come to the education and action meeting, discover how you can save the lives of millions of people and significantly increase the standard of living for tens of millions. All you need is a willingness to act, the ability to write a letter and to show up for two hours a month.”
RESULTS Vernon’s first meeting runs today from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the People Place, 3402-27th Ave., and all are welcome. For more information, call Young at 250-938-4621 or see http://results-resultats.ca/index_eng.asp