My first ever RESULTS conference call as a volunteer was in May 2008. I still remember the excitement that I felt in finding such an engaging and empowering way to get involved in fighting global poverty. The call was about the co-epidemics of TB and HIV, and the need to integrate treatment services so that patients suffering from both diseases can get their treatment in the same place and avoid the (then common) need to travel for many hours to separate clinics. It was a revelation to me to find a source of such excellent, detailed information on the issues, as well as support to take effective action. I joined the Oxford group, and a few months later became the group leader when the previous leader Sally-Ann went on maternity leave.
It’s been five years since my first involvement, and I’ve gone from volunteer to intern to staff member. It’s been an incredible experience, giving me the opportunity to spend my working life tackling issues, such as the exclusion of disabled children from education in low-income countries, that I am truly passionate about. Coming from the grassroots, I’m very aware of the importance of RESULTS’ unique model of advocacy to our success – the staff in the office can do what they do because of the ordinary people throughout the country who give up their free time to take action, bringing on board their local MPs, media and communities. It’s this personal interaction that will really make the difference on international development issues, as we convince our peers that development is not a luxury – it is a vital issue of social justice and absolutely essential to creating the kind of world that the majority of people want to live in.
I’m leaving the RESULTS staff at the end of the week to go back to university, and I’m delighted to be handing over to the very talented Dan Jones, our new Campaigns Manager. Before I go, I want to say a huge thank you to all RESULTS grassroots volunteers. It’s been such a pleasure working with you over the last five years, and I know you’ll continue to go from strength to strength as you work to build the public and political will to tackle extreme poverty.