Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Getting Exactly What You Want..for GAVI

Image from www.one.org
Can I have a pony? No.
Can I have an iPhone? No.
Can I have ice cream before dinner? No.
Can I have a billion dollars? Yes!

Let's face it. There aren't too many times when kids get exactly what they ask for - especially if it's a billion dollars. But that's what happened this morning! Today, the U.S. made a commitment of $1 BILLION dollars over four years for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, to get immunizations to children in poverty who desperately need them. This is the pledge my girls and I have been writing letters and making lobby visits to members of Congress about. We joined tens of thousands of people tweeting, writing, publishing, and visiting to create a movement of demand for global vaccines. Our favorite advocacy organizations - RESULTS, Shot@Life, and ONE - were united in the request for the same amount of money to fight diseases like polio, measles, and rotovirus...so deadly and easy to prevent!

Mothers in Uganda bringing their infants to an
outdoor health clinic for vaccinations
This historic pledge to GAVI is the largest ever of its kind from the U.S. It is important because it showed our leadership and commitment to ending preventable child deaths in a generation. The $1 billion U.S. pledge combined with the total promised from all the other countries led to a whopping $7.359 billion that exceeded the goal of the GAVI pledging conference which took place in Germany this morning. According to Seth Berkely, CEO of GAVI, with this significant replenishment, GAVI can now commit to immunizing over 300 million additional children and prevent 7 million future deaths from 2016-2020.

I awoke this morning at 5AM unable to sleep...maybe I felt a rumbling in the "Force" coming from Berlin where the GAVI replenishment session was underway? I turned on my laptop and discovered the meeting was being live streamed. I watched as country after country stepped up with their promises. When it came time to get the kids up for school, I woke them with the news that this morning the U.S. was going to make the promise we asked for. "Is it happening now?" Yes, it is. "Can we watch it during breakfast?" You want to watch a pledging conference? Sure, why not?
On live web-cast, Canada promises $500M
Watching the live webcast with kids brought up some great observations and conclusions from them that were both insightful and funny to me. Here are the notes I took from our conversation:
  • Qatar is a new donor to GAVI. It has no "u" in its name even though it seems like it should. It's located in the Middle East. Despite what we see on American TV news, some very, very good things come from the middle east.
  • China made it's first ever pledge to GAVI. It used to be a recipient of GAVI money, now it gives back. It is possible to move out of poverty and contribute to others.
  • Japan said nice words, but did not make a pledge. Sometimes grown-ups don't get their act together and get their homework done even when it's super-important. That's embarrassing.
  • The UK is the biggest donor to GAVI. The U.S. is not always #1.
  • Bill Gates pledged $1.5B Wow, Bill Gates is a famous person who is still alive! Some individuals are able to contribute more than some countries.
  • Together, all the countries reached over the goal to a total of $7.539 billion. It takes everybody working together to solve a global problem.
  • The U.S. pledged exactly what we asked for. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
What a way to start the day and head off to school! The girls walked out the door with a sense that they had personally accomplished something major in the world...and indeed they had. Congratulations to all who worked so hard on gathering this momentum and commitment from the world's government. I hope you're walking around with some of the swagger that we are today!
Celebration selfie before heading off to school!


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this - makes me feel like I was able to follow along too. Amazing day!

MelodyRN said...

Great post with such an amazing message. When we work hard together we can accomplish great things, like helping every child have a shot at life.

Eriko said...

Excellent post! Now why didn't Japan pledge this time?

CCYL said...

I'm not sure why Japan didn't pledge. The rep said something about not having the authority or something like that, which made it sound sort of like they just didn't get the assignment done on time. They indicated that GAVI was a good program and that they would donate, so I'm very curious how much they will in the end now that they have the knowledge that GAVI's needs are fully funded without their contribution. Thanks for reading!