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New York Times columnist David Bornstein wrote a profile this Wednesday on Microcredit Summit Campaign co-founder Sam Daley-Harris and two other organizations he has founded or coached. Sam is currently heading up the Center for Citizen Empowerment and Transformation, which he founded in 2012.
Read the article to learn more about how he has worked to create the political will through citizen lobbying to end poverty. And please share it with your network.
An excerpt from “Lobbying for the Greater Good” by David Bornstein:
Earlier this month, scientists reported that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had reached 400 parts per million. It’s an alarming milestone, to be sure, but, alas, there is no shortage of dire warnings about global warming. What is lacking is the political will to address the problem. The big question is, what useful steps can citizens take to build that will?
If you pose that question to the leading climate scientist James E. Hansen, he’ll tell you to connect with the Citizens Climate Lobby (C.C.L.). “They have the potential to be extremely effective,” he said. “That’s why I [leading climate scientist James E. Hansen] recommend them in my speeches. They’re doubling in size each year. And they’re pursuing the right policy.”
To understand C.C.L., it’s necessary to understand Results, which remains one of the best-kept secrets in development. Since the 1980s, Results has played a unique role in helping to direct billions of dollars of government funding toward child survival, microfinance, education and health. It has done it with an army of volunteers and almost no fanfare. “Results has such a lean and efficient model that nobody knows about them,” explained Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank. “They’re incredibly dedicated and very knowledgeable about the issues. It’s remarkable how much they’ve done and how few people have any idea about it.”
He saw two big problems to overcome:
First, citizens didn’t believe they could directly influence public opinion or policies. It never occurred to most people that they could initiate a meeting with a member of Congress or a newspaper’s editorial board and shape the outcome.
Second, citizens needed a structure to be effective. Results developed a platform to embolden volunteers, providing them with information, coaching, role-playing, action plans and practical feedback. “It’s not about staff in Washington or celebrities,” explained Joanne Carter, the group’s executive director. “It’s about individuals in their communities who are supported and have educated themselves to a point where they can be triggers to make policy happen.”
David Bornstein is the author of “How to Change the World,” which has been published in 20 languages, and “The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank,” and is co-author of “Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know.” He is a co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which supports rigorous reporting about responses to social problems.