Securing a piece of the pie to fight global poverty: Advocacy teamwork on Capitol Hill
“I would love to be your tuberculosis champion.”
Cat, a RESULTS volunteer advocate from Alaska, heard those words from her member of Congress and was a little surprised. She had come all the way from her home state to Washington, DC to meet face-to-face with her representative, and she had just said the words Cat had been hoping to hear.
The representative and her staff had heard from Pat and Roger, two other members of Cat’s group, just days earlier at local events in Alaska. They had given powerful pitches on why this year represents a critical opportunity for tuberculosis (TB) treatment and prevention. When Cat showed up in Washington, DC for her meeting, the representative had already been informed and primed for Cat’s questions and ideas. She not only committed on the spot to being a leader in Congress, but also to finding other members who could become leaders in supporting robust funding for TB. “It was great teamwork with the other group members,” said Cat.
That wasn’t the only fruitful conversation with a member of Congress that day. Cat was on Capitol Hill for an advocacy event in early March, on International Women’s Day, around Congress’ global poverty budget and appropriations. She was joined by 11 other advocates from all over the country from California to Florida. Each had their own backgrounds, strengths, and passionate reasons for being there, but they all shared the goal of securing a substantial piece of the budget “pie” for fighting global poverty.
We caught up with some of these advocates and heard their stories as they zig-zagged from meeting to meeting on Capitol Hill.
“From the time I was a teenager in Haiti, I was moved by the disparities between people. Several years ago, one of my colleagues told me about RESULTS, and what they were doing for global health, education, and more, and I joined right away. Advocacy is a very effective way to help people and create change.
The meeting we had with our Florida representative’s office went very well. We talked about our issues and asked for their support. The staff member was very receptive and engaged, taking notes and listening. I was really happy with how it went.”
“I’m a college student, and I’ve been involved in a lot of public health causes and learning. Food insecurity is also a big issue where I grew up. I heard about how RESULTS works on a national and international scale to fight poverty, and I was really interested in getting involved. Now I’m a RESULTS Fellow, and I’m here representing Alabama.
It’s awesome to have the opportunity to speak to members of Congress and make change by building relationships. My first meeting went really well. I met with legislative staff and they were very receptive to our discussions on TB, maternal and child health, and education. We need support from Congress in the budget for 2024 appropriations, and I’m so happy for the opportunity to come here in person and speak with them face-to-face.”
“I’m from Mali. There are a lot of poverty issues there, especially for women. But look around. Here in the U.S. many people are struggling, too. I didn’t know anything about RESULTS a few years ago. I got involved in advocacy for a simple reason. I thought, ‘If you could do something to make a difference, why wouldn’t you?’ So I went for it!
I had three meetings today. I met with several different aides and they were great listeners. I gave lots of examples of people I know experiencing the issues we were talking about, like TB and maternal and child health. I asked them what their motivation was for their work and discovered we had a lot in common. I’m excited to continue on this journey and see the fruit of this labor!”
As the advocates trickled back from their completed meetings, there was a sense of celebration. Advocates had worked for months in their local RESULTS groups and with staff to prepare for this marathon of Congressional meetings. They attended both in person and remotely, and it was satisfying to see their work pay off in the positive reception from members of Congress and their staff. Now, advocates will follow up with members of Congress to strengthen relationships and reinforce the call to fund the fight against global poverty.