>>Authored by Sabina Rogers, Communications and Relationships Manager, Microcredit Summit Campaign
In a 2013 article, New York Times opinion writer, David Bornstein, wrote that RESULTS “remains one of the best-kept secrets in development.” RESULTS (and RESULTS Educational Fund, from which the Microcredit Summit came and into which the Microcredit Summit Campaign operations have been merged) is a grassroots advocacy organization founded in 1980. It has international affiliates in the UK, Canada, Australia, France (and Belgium), Japan, Korea, and Mexico; and the RESULTS family coordinates advocacy efforts to remarkable effect.
Never heard of RESULTS? Recall the poverty measurement legislation in the mid-2000s that requires USAID to direct at least 50 percent of their microenterprise funds to those living on less than $1 a day? Legislation that also prompted the creation of USAID’s Poverty Assessment Tool? That was RESULTS and allies.
The U.N. International Year of Microcredit in 2005 and the Nobel Peace Prize for Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank? That was RESULTS volunteers and the Microcredit Summit Campaign lobbying year after year for consideration. (FYI: The Year of Microcredit was established by the UN in 1998, the year after the 1997 Microcredit Summit, through the efforts of the Bangladesh Ambassador to the U.N., in recognition of the Summit’s 2005 deadline.)
Maternal and child legislation that would put the U.S. on track to help end preventable maternal and child deaths globally and ensure key reforms so every dollar we invest has greater impact? RESULTS has lobbied for maternal and child health funding year in and year out for 32 years, and child death rates have plummeted from 40,000 a day in 1984 to 16,000 a day today. More recently, RESULTS helped craft the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015.
Pressuring Congress to preserve the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), which are our country’s most successful anti-poverty programs for children? That was RESULTS.
Bornstein reported that World Bank President Jim Kim said, “RESULTS has such a lean and efficient model that nobody knows about them. 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.”
RESULTS (the 501(c)(4), non tax-deductible arm) and RESULTS Educational Fund (the 501(c)(3), tax-deductible arm) work hand-in-hand to produce cutting edge research to back up policy demands, which RESULTS volunteers take to Congress and other countries’ national parliaments, the World Bank, and bilateral donor agencies such as USAID to influence policy.
RESULTS takes on issues that are on the leading edge of policy and advocacy and brings them into the main stream.
Last year, RESULTS volunteers pushed Congress hard during the appropriations process and succeeded in reversing a total of $495 million in proposed cuts to global poverty focused programs and instead increased funding for these programs by $70 million. This in a political climate where partisanship is reaching its zenith and Congress is widely regarded as broken.
Citizens in the U.S. and all over the world have had a hand in making change through the RESULTS model for 35 years. RESULTS will soon be launching a new five-year strategic plan, and it will continue to advance an advocacy agenda in the financial inclusion space, helping to accelerate toward the end of extreme poverty by 2030.
As Larry Reed and Joanne Carter explained in their April 29th letter, “Financial inclusion and pathways out of poverty are a central part of this [strategic] plan and a critical part of reaching the 2030 goal. The powerful holistic financial inclusion model that the Campaign has been developing and driving with partners will become a centerpiece of RESULTS’ advocacy agenda on economic opportunity.”
In his acceptance speech for the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014, Muhammad Yunus credited RESULTS with having been “the most critical partner for microcredit,” as Bornstein put it. And, they were a critical partner because of the power of a 1000 volunteers raising their voice together to advocate for important policy changes. Yunus recounted a story from his early days as a PhD student in the U.S., walking the halls of Congress and recognizing the importance of citizens standing up for what they believe in.
Let’s close with this look back at a keynote address by Muhammad Yunus at the 2010 Regional Microcredit Summit in Nairobi. He tells the assembled delegates “This is the age of making ‘impossibles’ possible. It is us who decide,” he said, and it is us — citizens — who need to contribute to making change possible. Yunus exhorted us “that we can all work together rather than complaining about lousy government, saying they can’t deliver. There’s no way they can deliver — no matter what — unless we as citizens come together and do it as individuals, together.”
This is the credo upon which RESULTS is founded. RESULTS is making a difference in the world by influencing political decisions — both in the halls of your government as well as in implementing organizations — that will bring an end to poverty.