Monthly Archives: April 2014

Grassroots advocacy: Congressional meetings and calling for more resources

Through PIH | Engage, we’ve been excited to dive head-first into working with our community organizing teams across the country to begin to have meetings with Representatives and Senators, calling on them to increase the resources available for nutrition and maternal and child program funding through USAID. Collectively, along with our partners at RESULTS, we are calling Congress to appropriate $200 million for Nutrition and $800 million for Maternal and Child Health in the FY15 federal budget. These are only modest increases from last year and are backed by a coalition of NGO’s working on health and development.

Some more background on the asks and why it matters: 2014 03 14 Advocacy Leave Behind vF

In order to contribute to this campaign and build power around these asks, we devised a three phase process:

  1. We worked through email campaigns and social media to promote an online letter-writing action. View the online tool and take the action here:
  2. We’ve worked to train our network of PIH | Engage teams across the country to schedule and participate in direct in-person meetings with their Representatives and Senators, asking them to urge their colleagues on the Foreign Operations Committee to allocate the requested funds to nutrition and MCH.
  3. We will be working this May to get Letters to the Editor published in newspapers across the country that discuss the importance of this funding to save the lives of moms and babies around the world.

Our training consisted of a large number of personal coaching calls with Sheena and the Community Coordinators as well as a series of three webinars hosted on a great platform called BigMarker.

Take a look at our webinars below:

Webinar #1: Campaign Overview

Webinar #2: Understanding the Talking Points

Webinar #3: Practicing Face to Face Meetings

In all, this campaign has been successful already – both in terms of the outputs we’ve been able to produce and in terms of learning how to do this grassroots advocacy ever more effectively. So far, we have:

  • Written a total of 6,300+ unique letters to U.S. House Representatives and Senators
  • Hosted three training webinars with more than 75 people attending / watching in total
  • Had 2 meetings with Representatives so far; have 10 meetings scheduled for the coming weeks

By the end of the campaign, I hope that we can:

  • Write 10,000+ letters
  • Participate in 15 direct in-person meetings with legislators
  • Have 15 letters to the editor published in newspapers

Again, this is all modest and pretty basic stuff when it comes to advocacy. Our hope though is that we can start to build a base of individuals and teams, aligned with PIH’s mission to advance the right to health, who are also competent and motivated to engage in direct advocacy and the political process. This base can hopefully continue to grow in the coming years, providing a powerful platform that can argue for far greater resources invested in public health systems globally.