When I tell people I manage the relationships with ActionAid’s celebrity supporters, they sometimes ask how valuable celebrities are to a charity. My response is always that there are, of course, lots of crucial things to consider when a celebrity supports a charity but ultimately a celebrity is in the position of being able to communicate the values and messages of a charity to a huge audience, which helps raise vital funds, increase awareness of a cause and ultimately bring about change.
It’s not about the best films this year and doesn’t include any pictures of royals or the Olympics, this round up of 2012 is about how campaigning together we’ve achieved real, concrete change to tackle poverty.
Earlier this month we were overjoyed to hear that we’ve won the five year campaign to get a supermarket watchdog, and not only that, it’ll have teeth - the power to fine from day one. 60,000 of us took action over the course of the campaign and it could mean massive changes for the women who grow, pick and pack the products that line our supermarket shelves, and be a vital tool in stopping supermarkets abuse their market power.
This wouldn’t have been achieved without thousands of us taking action, emailing, mailing and tweeting MPs, turning up outside government departments and keeping up the pressure.
Our tax justice campaign has gone from strength to strength. It’s now becoming totally unacceptable for the likes of Starbucks, Google and Amazon to keep dodging their taxes. Earlier this year you helped to ensure that a key committee of MPs spoke out against a new tax loophole. And our campaign against tax dodging beer giant SABMiller has brought together 21 African country governments to sign a treaty so they can better fight the tax dodgers.
We’ve also taken massive steps forward in our campaign to stop land being taken to grow biofuels. This November, following years of campaigning, a new proposal on biofuels was released by the European Commission. Crucially, for the first time they admitted that the rush that the rush for biofuels is driving hunger through food price rises and land grabbing.
So a massive well done – all the emails, letters, meetings with your MPs and making our voice heard is helping to create real change to tackle poverty and injustice.
Have a great break and we’re looking forward to making even bigger changes in 2013!
Purna Kala Sha has been a midwife for 26 years. She works at the Deudakala Health Post providing free medicine and care to mothers and children. Purna believes strongly in the importance of education and feels that she would not be alive today had she and her sister not been sponsored when she was 12 at the Mahendra Bhawan School.
“[My sponsor] opened my eyes. Because of them I was also able to open the eyes of my children,” she says.
Purna has two daughters. The eldest, Babura Sha, is an auxillary nurse while the younger, Pratima Sha, is still studying and wants to continue to do an M.D.