The Fight to Replenish the GAVI Alliance for Vaccine Fund

Shouldn’t a child be given the same shot of life no matter where he or she is born? I believe that children everywhere deserve the chance to live and reach their full potential. The availability of life-saving vaccines for every child is critical.


For those of you who have followed my blog for years, you know that besides blogging I am also an active advocate and activist for a number of important causes. I advocate for the ONE Campaign to eradicate global poverty, ONE Women and Girls to help elevate the status and well-being of women and girls around the world, RESULTS (another advocacy group that works to advocate with our members of Congress to affect policy on ending poverty) and the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign, a grassroots organization aimed at providing global vaccines to the developing world. All of these causes are truly important to me and I am amazed how much I’ve personally grown by being a part of each organization and using my voice to effect positive change.

As an advocate for global vaccines, I’ve worked hard as a Shot@Life Champion since the campaign launched almost three years ago. Working with Shot@Life has taught me many things about the value of vaccines and the importance of their availability around the world in saving lives. Before I joined Shot@Life, I had no idea that every twenty seconds a child dies from a vaccine-preventable death. Every twenty seconds!

The tragic statistics combined with the reality that this is a fixable, solvable problem that truly does not cost much, invigorated me to join the cause and fight for funding of global vaccines.

Young girls in Mozambique show off their newly updated vaccination card.  All photos : Shot@Life--UN Foundation, Mozambique, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

Young girls in Mozambique show off their newly updated vaccination card.
Shot@Life–UN Foundation, Mozambique, Wednesday, June 1, 2011 (Photo/Stuart Ramson)

This January, world leaders are meeting to discuss the replenishment of the GAVI global fund for vaccines. This meeting comes at a critical moment in time. A time where we have seen amazing progress in the reduction of under age five deaths thanks to the provision of global vaccines.

At the meeting,  global leaders and private donors will make commitments for the next five-year plan of GAVI’s funding (years 2016-2020). The goal is to achieve 7.5 billion, and the United States, one of the top four funders of the GAVI Alliance, is being asked to commit to 1 billion dollars. It is an ambitious and reasonable goal. (In case you are wondering, the top donor last year was the UK, followed by the Gates Foundation and Norway. The US came in fourth).

We have made significant progress in combatting preventable deaths in children under age 5 by providing access to vaccines.

We have made significant progress in combatting preventable deaths in children under age 5 by providing access to vaccines. Photo credit: Gavi Alliance

Before I dive into GAVI and their great work, I’d like to tell a story. In early September I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Namala Patrick Mkopi, the Secretary General of Tanzania’s Pediatric Association. I met Dr. Mkopi for lunch and he shared firsthand stories about what he has seen as a pediatrician in Africa. The two leading killers of children under age five are diarrhea and pneumonia. Together they kill one in every four children in the world, and both are preventable by vaccines.

Me meeting Dr. Mkopi in Minneapolis.

Me meeting Dr. Mkopi in Minneapolis.

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ONE Campaign and Heifer launch #GiveaGoat for the holidays

It is that time of year again. The holidays are coming! And with the onset of the biggest consumer spending of the year comes the reminder that many people around the world are not so fortunate when it comes to lavishing themselves with gifts. That is why for the next several weeks I will be highlighting unique ways to purchase gifts that give back and help someone else in need.


On October 24th, ONE partnered with Heifer International to launch an amazing, exciting campaign just in time for the holidays: #GiveaGoat to end extreme poverty.

The ONE Campaign works to end extreme poverty particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa while Heifer International specializes in bringing sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty, and have programs throughout the world. Both non-profit organizations are fabulous and by working together will be able to create even a greater impact on fighting extreme poverty around the world.

I have worked a bit with ONE already as a ONE Mom and Community Partner yet this is my first time learning more about Heifer’s work. While ONE is primarily an advocacy group with over 3 million supporters, Heifer provides the framework on the ground by working with smallholder farmers to promote economic self-sustainability and good health. Like ONE, Heifer believes strongly in empowering people especially women and girls who are the majority of the small farmer holders throughout Africa.

What makes Heifer’s work so amazing is that they don’t simply stop by helping one family. Heifer utilizes a program called “Passing on the Gift” which assures that each participant in the program—the person who receives the initial gift of an animal—becomes a donor by giving the animal’s offspring to another family in need. This concept helps build community and participation in each project. The families continually give to others, ensuring greater self-sufficiency and human dignity, one family at a time.

Although Heifer provides a variety of livestock ranging from chicks, rabbits, pigs, and sheep to goats, llamas, water buffalos, and heifers, for this campaign Heifer and ONE are focusing exclusively on the value of providing a goat.

So why a goat? Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about the benefits of having a goat.

  • 1 goat can produce 1 ton of milk/ year. That’s enough to pull 1 family out of poverty
  • A gift of livestock has up to 9x the impact, as families pass on the gift to others.
  • One goat can produce 15 liters, or nearly 4 gallons, of milk a day!
  • Goats were first herded by humans 10,000 years ago in what’s now Iran. Man’s most helpful friend for 10 millennia

Why goats are awesome?


Let’s meet Stella, ONE and Heifer’s mascot. Stella is quite popular and even has her own Twitter and Pinterest Account!

How #GiveAGoat works:  Now through December 31, you can buy or give a goat for $120 or a share of a goat in various increments.

Each goat can provide up to 1 ton of milk a year, enough to provide 1 family with enough income for shelter, education, health care and more.

Get a goat here:

What you can also do to learn more:
  • Follow Stella the Goat who is the mascot for the campaign and will be guest curating content on ONE’s Pinterest and Instagram accounts:

Instagram: @onecampaign

Related Posts:

Give A Goat to a FAmily in Extreme Poverty via ONE

More about the Limited Edition ONE Goat

Read how goats have changed people’s lives in Africa: ONE will be reposting success stories from farmers who have received a Heifer goat. Check each week for a new story.

In the first 24 hours since the campaign was launched, more than 280 goats were sent to families in need in Africa. These goats can help pull families out of extreme poverty by giving them milk to sell at the markets, providing a much-needed source of income.

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