Editor's note: This article was originally published in August 2021, and has been updated to reflect our latest impact.
“I felt personally compelled to take action on menstrual health education because I felt that it was something that we needed as a country," Palesa Mokoenanyone, from Johannesburg, South Africa, told Global Citizen in 2018. "I couldn’t believe that someone else out there didn’t have the resources to take care of themselves."
When Mokoenanyone, then 28 years old, took action on the Global Citizen platform, she changed the lives of millions of girls from South Africa, helping to put an end to period poverty for low-income students.
Global Citizen, and Global Citizens everywhere, have been working to eliminate extreme poverty for more than a decade. That means that across education, environment, gender equality, food and hunger, and health, more than 33.5 million actions have transformed the lives of those living through hardship since 2009.
And every action taken by Global Citizens counts.
Mokoenanyone is just one of the millions of Global Citizens who have contributed to more than a decade of actions that, coupled with Global Citizen's high-profile advocacy work, have helped to deliver financial commitments to organizations at the forefront of defeating poverty throughout the world.
That’s hundreds of individual commitments thanks to the millions of tweets, petitions, and actions taken by Global Citizens over the years. Now, years of funding that Global Citizens helped mobilize are helping communities fight back against the impacts of poverty.
“In 2014, I signed a petition to give millions of children access to life-saving vaccinations,” said then-31-year-old Canadian action taker Kareen Awadalla. “I really admire Global Citizen's platform because it’s cultivating a generation of changemakers and it utilizes social media and a lot of the way we communicate today.”
Awadalla was another Global Citizen who used her voice to create change, signing the petition as part of a 2014 campaign to help Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, deliver life-saving vaccines to children around the world.
The impact? Actions as part of this campaign resulted in a CA$500 million commitment from Canada in partnership with local partners such as Results Canada, helping the organization to deliver vaccines to 300 million children and preventing 5 to 6 million deaths.
Today, Gavi is supporting the world by co-leading the vaccine pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, or COVAX, to ramp up vaccine manufacturing and ensure their equitable distribution around the world to protect the world's most vulnerable from COVID-19.
Global Citizens Have a Lot to Be Proud of — But the Work Continues
Impacting a life is no small feat. Global Citizens take action every day to make a difference in the lives of the 780 million people — 11% of the world's population — who live in extreme poverty on less than $2.15 per day.
But change does happen.
Students like Wongani Nyirenda in Malawi received education funding and young girls like 11-year-old Jee and her family received life-saving food parcels in Thailand. In Mexico's Guerrero State, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was able to help Indigenous populations and communities increase access to maternal and newborn health care, and right now, royalties from the 2020 remake of "Color Esperanza" are helping to assist the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to provide lifesaving COVID-19 support to Latin America and the Caribbean.
In addition to financial commitments, a decade of policy pledges made on the Global Citizen stage have also prioritized human rights, while actively contributing to global frameworks and national policies that drive success toward the United Nations' Global Goals.
In the Indian city of Shimla, Dr. Raj Vats was able to successfully treat a jaundice outbreak; 14-year-old Amilcar and his sister Alzira from Mozambique accessed school on TV amid the COVID-19 pandemic; and in 2016, Equality Now, Chime for Change, and more than 24,000 Global Citizens petitioned the Pakistani government to close the loophole in the country's honor killings law.
“This is in all of our interest … There is no safety without equity,” said Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen, during the February launch of Global Citizen's Recovery Plan for the World campaign.
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, Global Citizens called on world leadersalongsidepartners to take rapid and bold measures to combat the pandemic, mobilizing urgent funding to support urgent medical care, COVID-19 screenings and treatments, and vaccines for communities in need.
In 2021, Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World in May helped mobilize $302 million in funding and over 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to provide equitable vaccine access to the world’s most marginalized communities and health care workers in critical need of global support.
Protecting Lives From Extreme Poverty Through Intervention
Eliminating extreme poverty, ending hunger, and achieving true equality for all — these are the beliefs at the heart of Global Citizen’s mission, and the driving force behind every campaign and action.
But what does it mean to impact a life? It means that actions taken by Global Citizens have resulted in many many interventions that have taken place in people’s lives that will help them lift themselves out of poverty.
An "intervention" can be the delivery of vaccines to a remote community, or a new school, a law, or simply a meal that benefits someone who would otherwise go without. A Global Citizen action will most likely lead to more than one intervention, since an intervention represents how many people will benefit, and multiple interventions are necessary to end extreme poverty. This number is calculated using a variety of trusted, publicly available sources as well as working with our partners on a stringent methodology.
We Have a Chance to Make History
Now, more than ever, the voices of Global Citizens matter. Eradicating extreme poverty requires international cooperation, solidarity, and a shared understanding in order to overcome the systems and beliefs that create it.
“I commend Global Citizen for raising awareness on these issues and playing an important role in promoting global solidarity to counter the pandemic,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said in February.
You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.