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How We Know That 280M Lives Have Already Been Impacted Since Global Citizen Festival India 2016

If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll have noticed that commitments and announcements are a major part of the Global Citizen movement. It’s no surprise, really. Commitments and announcements are the promises that business and political leaders make towards issues such as gender equality, quality education, clean water and sanitation, and more. In India alone, the commitments that have been made are valued at more than USD $6.38 billion (INR 43,416 crore). And in terms of their impact, they are collectively set to affect 516 million (51.6 crore) lives.

These are serious numbers. So once a commitment is made on a Global Citizen stage, we take the task of monitoring and holding commitment-makers (and ourselves) accountable just as seriously.

Need a refresher crash course? You’re in the right place. This is what commitments and their accountability are all about:

First, a commitment is made on stage (or in the public domain): at Global Citizen Festival India 2016, there were 26 commitments and 7 announcements.

You called for change: you took lakhs of actions to call on faith leaders, chief ministers, corporate leaders, and more, asking for them to implement policy or programmatic initiatives to address major issues — and changes were promised. The IFC Banking on Women Group committed an investment of USD $2 billion to promote women’s entrepreneurship by 2020; the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) committed to inspire 2 million people to Reckitt Benckiser, USAID, and EY committed to changing lives through a Hygiene Index, a comprehensive monitoring tool to measure the health hygiene initiatives of Indian cities; the mayor of Kanpur committed to making the city open defecation-free by 2017; and there were many more.

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These commitments were recorded based on the lives set to be affected and the amount of funds to be disbursed (usually, in this case, in rupees with their equivalent in dollars). They each had a set deadline by which to complete this.

Then, we monitor these commitments.

On a regular basis, we receive updates from commitment-makers on how they are progressing with their initiative or programme. We look at how they are doing against their original targets and track their progress over time.

Sometimes, we get the chance to visit and see for ourselves how things are going! This has often given us the chance to speak to the beneficiaries of a commitment and observe its impact for ourselves, which is a special opportunity to experience the qualitative changes that are taking place in real people’s lives as well as the more high-level numbers.

Picture1.pngCommitment status in India

Another way for us to get a fuller picture at this stage is to read what else is being written and said about the commitments. There might be great accounts or reports by other parties on how a programme is being carried out, and it’s exciting for us to hear about this as well. For example, we found out recently through this article that HP’s commitment to providing mobile classrooms to allow 15 million people in rural India to access quality education and technology seems to be progressing!

Basically, across all our monitoring efforts, what we’re really trying to do is to understand how commitments are doing and why.

And finally, the last piece of the equation… we want to tell you all about it!

All this tracking and monitoring allows us to piece together our collective impact as a platform. This is how we know that as of November last year, over 281.62 million (28.162 crore) lives had been impacted, allowing us to say that we have collectively achieved 54.52% of our targets set in Mumbai in November 2016.

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We report on these findings on a regular basis. You can find our latest GCFI 2016 Accountability Report here, and we have our next report scheduled to be published in May 2018, marking 1.5 years since the commitments were first made.

In our next report, we are excited to be sharing with you the completion of several major commitments under the umbrella of Open Defecation Free India, as well as some encouraging progress on other commitments as well.

We share this information with you, Global Citizens, this fantastic community of individuals, supporters, sponsors, and partners. This helps us to stay accountable to ourselves and to each other! (Please note that this article refers to the accountability processes for commitments made on the Global Citizen Festival India stage. For an overview of all commitments, announcements, and actions from all around the world, you can read about Global Citizen’s total impact to date here.)