Martin Rendón is the Vice President for Public Policy & Advocacy at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Sam Daley-Harris is proof that one person can make a difference. For several decades, he has been a tireless advocate for variety of humanitarian causes, including global child survival.
Sam and I met shortly after he had founded RESULTS and was challenging Congressional aides like me to do more to address issues like world hunger, poverty, and preventable child deaths. Under Sam’s leadership, RESULTS became one of the most successful citizen advocacy organizations and helped to secure increased government funding and support for maternal and child health and UNICEF. RESULTS partners across the country helped to raise awareness of the 1990 World Summit for Children and educated both legislators and their constituents about the power they had to save and improve children’s lives. Jim Grant, the late UNICEF Executive Director, wrote to Sam: “I thank you in my mind at least weekly, if not more often, for what you and your colleagues are accomplishing—but I thought I should do it at least once this year in writing.” Sam was keen to share what he had learned about citizen advocacy, so he authored Reclaiming Our Democracy: Healing the Break Between People and Government. The 20th anniversary edition of this “how-to” advocacy guide now is available. While the technological tools to advocate may have changed over the years, the lessons Sam shares remain timely and applicable. Today, “the break between people and government” can make many citizens feel powerless to get involved. Sam’s mission is to help everyone overcome whatever hesitation they may feel to get in the game and make a difference. In his book, he shows readers how to acquire the tools they need to approach Congressional offices and opinion-shapers to take the actions needed to achieve measurable results for their causes. More details can be found at reclaimingourdemocracy.com. We at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF know that we need to empower our supporters to become advocates for Zero. The decision-makers must be made aware that we are relentless in our efforts to save children from preventable deaths. Sam’s book offers both the encouragement and the methods we need to “be the change we wish to see.” You can be an advocate right now by signing our petition to the President to ask him to fulfill the commitment he made to ending preventable child deaths by proposing increases in his budget for fiscal year 2015 for maternal and child health and UNICEF. Please join us!