A Message From ACTION’s New Director Kolleen Bouchane

Kolleen Bouchane — May 11, 2011 – 11:42 am

I am really excited to have come on board as director of ACTION.  As I move from London, one of the greatest cities in the world, I do it without regrets as I know I am working with one of the most strategic and effective teams of allies in the world!

Some in the RESULTS network may remember me from four years ago when I worked on the RESULTS legislative team and as Global Education Manager.  I left that role to complete a graduate degree in conflict, security,  and development at Kings College London and later managed the advocacy and learning of Freshwater Action Network,  a global network of CSOs who work to influence water and sanitation policy and practice around the world. In this role I had the opportunity to lobby at the U.N. Human Rights Council working with a small group of allies to get water and sanitation recognized as human rights and supported the advocacy strategy of several partners across Central America, India and Africa.

As part of my efforts to quickly get up to speed on ACTION, I spent some time last week with a few of our partners. At RESULTS UK, staff were all living on less than £1 a day as part of the live below the line campaign. I was also able to spend some time with our partners in France,  who tolerated my terrible language skills while reminding me again of the incredible power of solidarity and strategic advocacy across borders. It reminded me how unique this work is — a rare opportunity to connect regular citizens and seasoned activists alike from all corners of the planet to work towards a more just world — a world without poverty.

I have been inspired by each partner’s commitment and continuously humbled by how much ACTION as a whole has achieved in the last four years!  ACTION has helped to secure over $1 billion in new funding for AIDS, TB, and malaria from donor governments around the world, was instrumental in shaping the Canadian government’s $1.1 billion Muskoka initiative to save children’s lives, catalyzed $64 million in new World Bank funding to build and strengthen public health laboratories in East Africa, and has accomplished many other victories -  proving time and time again to be an indispensible actor in the global health advocacy arena. There is more brainpower, energy, and commitment than ever, and I have been delighted to reconnect with allies,  advocates, and friends and to meet all the fabulous ‘new’ people on the ever-growing staff.

Along with my team, I plan to keep you posted on ACTION and our goals to mobilize significant new resources for TB and continue to press the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank, and others to prioritize funding and policy to respond to tuberculosis.

Unfortunately, this work has become more urgent, not less. It would be foolish not to be daunted by all that we need to achieve — but as Nelson Mandela said, “Vision without action achieves nothing, action without vision just passes time, vision with action can change the world.”

So then, we already have everything we need.