Editor's note: This article was originally published in July 2022, and is updated regularly.
As a Global Citizen, you’re changing lives every day.
When you take action, you're standing up for millions of people around the world who still don't have access to the most basic needs, like food, education, civil rights, and more. We’re campaigning to end extreme poverty by making sure that commitments made on the Global Citizen stage during our festivals are delivered to organizations on the front lines, ensuring protection, equality, and equity for the world’s most vulnerable communities. This means that each day the Global Citizen Impact team is following up by holding commitment-makers accountable and checking in with beneficiaries to see progress on every single pledge.
In addition to our regularly published impact stories, each month we'll be bringing you a monthly recap of the latest impact updates provided by our global partners, who are busy making the world a better place.
In Kano State, Nigeria, Global Citizen Explores the Impact of Polio Eradication Over a Decade
In 2020, Africa was certified free of wild poliovirus, four years after Nigeria — the last polio-endemic country on the continent — recorded its final case of wild polio. As a disease threatening some of the most marginalized communities in the world, polio has long been at the top of the Global Citizen agenda since 2011. Even now, progress to eradicate polio once and for all takes still requires ongoing collaboration with impacted communities, global institutions, and world leaders to help deliver vaccines to the world's hardest-to-reach populations. When it comes to polio, failure isn’t an option.
In August, Global Citizen traveled to Kano State, Nigeria, to meet Hafsat Ibrahim, WHO polio core trainer, and Dr. Mayana Sanusi Abubakar, state coordinator of the WHO polio eradication effort for the region. In Nigeria, where vaccine hesitancy is common and often magnified by community leaders, both Ibrahim and Abubakar have played key roles in helping to eradicate polio and change communities' attitudes toward vaccination. “I worked with WHO to make sure every child is immunized [and] all my five children have got the vaccine … I'm very happy because their immune system [has] increased and also they are healthier,” Ibrahim told Global Citizen in August.
Thanks to partnerships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Rotary International, Global Citizens have taken millions of actions over multiple campaigns to help eradicate the deadly disease and calling on governments and the private sector to support polio vaccine delivery to communities at risk of an outbreak. A decade of action on the issue has helped to deliver $2.6 billion in commitments to partners like the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO) that have helped prevent millions of deaths with dedicated vaccine campaigns.
This Fund Is Delivering Urgent Legal Aid to 49 Grassroots Activist Groups
Almost 5 billion people across the world lack access to justice — that’s two-thirds of the global population at risk of discrimination, unable to exercise their rights and have their voices heard.
The Legal Empowerment Fund (LEF), operated by The Fund for Global Human Rights, was officially announced at Global Citizen LIVE in New York City in September 2021, thanks to financial contributions from Namati, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which collectively committed US$20 million as seed funding. Improving the justice system's efficiency in cases of environmental justice, human rights protection, and civic space in defense of the world’s activists and organizations on the front lines of change is at the heart of the LEF’s mission.
Growing up in Uganda, Leticia knew that she was different. But when she came out to her family as transgender, they forced her into the streets. Now she's an activist for the LGBTQ community.— The Fund for Global Human Rights (@FundHumanRights) October 28, 2022
This her story. Watch now ➡️ https://t.co/ScK8I2xBvXpic.twitter.com/x8INNt2iwW
In addition to providing core funding to grassroots activists and organizations working to address systemic injustice and advocate for increased law protection, LEF recently announced $2 million in funding to 49 grassroots activist groups advocating for issues ranging from gender rights to environmental injustice, located across 31 countries globally. Grantees and activists who will receive the critical funding include Uganda-based LGBTQ+ advocates with the organization Her Internet; Tunisian clean water access nonprofit Association Nomad08, Brazil-based anti-gender discrimination advocacy group Themis, and many more. All 49 grantees share a common goal to empower their communities and fight systemic injustices through legal empowerment strategies, in regions where marginalized communities are unable to access help and, in some cases, excluded from justice systems entirely.
Global Citizen Festival in New York and Accra Culminates in $2.4 Billion to End Extreme Poverty
On Sep. 24, Global Citizen held the annual Global Citizen Festival, live from New York City and Accra, Ghana, calling for urgent global action to end extreme poverty NOW while also celebrating its 10th anniversary in Central Park.
Livestreamed globally, and featuring incredible performances from Mariah Carey, Usher, Stormzy, Metallica, Rosalía, and many more, more than 2 million actions were taken by Global Citizens in the lead-up to the event, more than doubling the 1 million campaign goal. Over the course of this year’s campaign, celebrities joined Global Citizens, activists, and organizations to call on world leaders to urgently address the world's most pressing issues across gender equity, climate change, and civic justice.
The event culminated in US$2.4 billion to end extreme poverty, with more than US$440 million earmarked exclusively for initiatives to end extreme poverty in Africa. More than $800 million was announced to end extreme poverty NOW and $1.6 billion was announced by the European Commission and Canada as part of the seventh replenishment of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria on Sept. 21, in addition to the announcement of five companies signing on to the UN-led Race to Zero initiative to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
As part of a celebration of 10 years of Global Citizen impact, the 2022 Global Citizen Festival honored five stories and partner-led campaigns that demonstrated the power of action and impact from across the world.
Global Citizen worked with partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Education Cannot Wait, the Global Partnership for Education, Save the Children Colombia, Yuva Unstoppable, Global Citizen International Festival Curator Chris Martin of Coldplay, La Casa de Don Pedro, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and IFAD Goodwill Ambassador and Global Citizen Advocate Sabrina Dhowre Elba.
The world's leaders honored and recognized the calls for action by millions of Global Citizens by announcing impressive commitments, via video message and on stage, in support of the United Nations’ Global Goals from Accra and New York. Pledges were made by Canada, Belgium, Denmark, the European Commission, Germany, Ghana, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, United Nations, and the United States. Financial and policy announcements were also made by many corporate, philanthropic, and NGO partners including Accenture, Cisco, Citi, Delta, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, Ford Foundation, Gavi and Girl Effect, the Global Menstrual Equity Hygiene Accelerator, Lego Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Rotary International, Verizon, WWT, YouTube, and Google.org.
“We have a limited window of opportunity to act decisively to lift millions of people out of poverty, promote inclusiveness and equality, and safeguard the health of our planet,” said His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, president of Ghana, from the Global Citizen Festival: Accra stage. “Each one of us has a sacred and moral obligation to bequeath to the next generation a healthy planet, free from poverty, conflict, discrimination, hunger, and disease.”
Global Citizens Called 'Code Red' on Climate in the US, and It Worked
On Aug. 16, US President Joe Biden signed into law the much anticipated Inflation Reduction Act, a bill that will devote $374 billion to climate and energy measures and sustainability in the US over the next 10 years. In 2021, Global Citizen joined partners from around the world to declare a “Code Red for Humanity,” urging the United States Congress to address the climate crisis and support President Biden’s 2021 Build Back Better Act.
More than 30,000 Global Citizens took action alongside Jennifer Lopez, Rachel Brosnahan, Damian Marley, and many more to call on the United States Congress to pass strong climate legislation in the lead-up to our 24-hour global event Global Citizen Live on Sep. 25, 2021.
“After 40 years of talking about the dangers of climate change, the US government has acted — passing its most consequential climate legislation in history,” said Julia Frifield, Strategic Adviser for Global Citizen and former supervisor and Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at the US Department of State.
Global Giving Delivers Urgent Funding to Ukrainian Communities in Need
In April, Global Citizen’s Stand Up for Ukraine social media rally and an in-person pledging event held in Warsaw, Poland brought together hundreds of thousands of Global Citizens with activists, artists, and global leaders in support of the humanitarian effort in Ukraine.
Hosted by Global Citizen in partnership with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the pledging event mobilized $10.1 billion in commitments to support refugees and internally displaced people impacted by the war — which this week entered its sixth month.
Global Giving — a nonprofit that connects donors with grassroots projects around the world — joined the campaign in March as a partner to help mobilize individual contributions to frontline organizations working throughout the region to support communities impacted by war. As of today, over $916,000 in individual contributions have helped refugees and people at risk in the region with food, financial support, and emergency relief thanks to individual donations made to the nonprofit. Among those organizations receiving funding are Ukraine-based children’s shelter, Fundacja Centrum Praw Kobie (Bright Kids Charity), and Fundacja Koalicja Dla Mlodych youth foundation, providing medical care, psychosocial support, shelter, and more as the crisis continues.
1.5 million donors have given on @GlobalGiving. That astounds me every day. But today I noticed in someone's obit that she had requested that in lieu of flowers, people consider giving to the Ukraine Relief Fund on GlobalGiving: https://t.co/2nFGmyCnj5— Mari Kuraishi (@mashenka) July 3, 2022
Safe Households and Social Housing for the Citizens of Paris
Commitments tackling urban poverty and social welfare announced at Global Citizen Live in 2021 by The City Of Paris are now reported to be progressing according to plan. During her speech from the Eiffel Tower, Paris Mayor Anna Hidalgo promised to provide more than 5,000 social housing units every year to the city's 2.1 million inhabitants, as well as resources dedicated to combating the daily and seasonal effects of climate change, like extreme heat and fuel poverty.
Paris became the first city in the world to declare its metropolitan area as carbon neutral in 2018, yet climate change continues to damage critical infrastructure like water reserves, energy, and transportation. These commitments come at a time amid growing concerns that the health and well-being of the world’s cities, and their people, face increased risk of urban inequality due to climate change.
In Namibia, Ending Violence and Harassment on the Job Are a Priority
Namibia pledged at the Global Citizen Festival 2019 in New York, to ratify the International Labor Organization’s Violence and Harassment Convention — making the African nation only one of 12 countries to have ratified the convention.
By 2020, Namibia had followed through with the ratification, launching a nationwide campaign to ensure the workplace stays violence and harassment free, and follow guidance that prioritizes gender equality. In February that year, Namibia’s Minister Erkki Nghimtina of Labor, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation addressed a high level briefing workshop, assuring attendees that Namibia was committed to the pledge.
“Ministry and the Social Partners have begun the long process of implementation of the Convention and Recommendation,” Nghimtina said, adding that “violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence, are threats to human rights, to equality and nondiscrimination, and to the health and well-being of workers.”
As COVID-19 Continues, Canada and Sweden Deliver & Governments Prioritize Global Health Care
The Canadian government continues to make global health care a top priority ahead of the Global Citizen Festival this year, following the completion of three commitments made during Global Citizen’s 2020 event Global Goal: Unite for Our Future, and 2021 event, VAX LIVE. More than $456 in combined pledges will go towards key agencies on the front lines of COVID-19, including Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, The Global Fund, UNICEF, Unitaid, and FIND, and further assist community-based health care facilities with the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, and the global emergency health care response.
A €46 million commitment to the World Health Organization, by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, at Global Citizen’s Global Goal: Unite for Our Future in 2020, is also now delivered in full, helping the organization deliver COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics to vulnerable communities most at risk from the pandemic.
Gavi and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative continue to play an essential role in providing access to immunization around the world, especially to the world's most vulnerable communities. Many of the pledges made on the Global Citizen stage by countries such as Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK continue to be disbursed, helping millions of people around the world stay protected and healthy.
In Damaturu, north-east Nigeria, a vulnerable child receives the oral polio vaccine.— UNICEF Nigeria (@UNICEF_Nigeria) September 1, 2022
From house-to-house, UNICEF-supported health workers are knocking on doors to vaccinate children in the ongoing polio response campaign.
Thanks to @gavi and the @gatesfoundation for support. pic.twitter.com/pZidepa4wu
725 Rural Nigerian Households Receive Emergency Flood Assistance
International Rescue Committee(IRC) has continued its emergency disaster work around the world thanks in part to pledges made by Google, Zendesk, and Duolingo at Global Citizen Live in 2021. With Duolingo support, 5,000 individuals continue language learning amid crisis; Google and the IRC provided pre-shock cash transfers to 725 households in communities in Nigeria; and Signpost expanded to support people affected by the crisis in Ukraine with a digital platform powered by Zendesk.
Global Goal: Unite for Our Future in 2020, Spain disbursed €5 million to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) as part of a commitment made by President Pedro Sánchez. Originally delayed for budgetary and administrative reasons, this commitment is seeing progress helping vulnerable communities to sustain agribusiness and food systems amid crises like war and famine.
After delays linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marriott International has also begun delivery of its commitment to spend $100 million to prioritize women-owned businesses — 51% of which in developing countries — as part of its membership with WEConnect International. The pledge was made in 2019 as part of an event co-hosted by Global Citizen and the Government of Ireland, on the sidelines of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women. Today, more than $27.5 million has been disbursed to women-owned businesses outside of the US as part of the international supplier diversity program.
‘Girls Not Brides’ Expands Protections to Latin America and the Caribbean
Global Citizen launched the #SheIsEqual campaign in 2018, at an event Global Citizen co-hosted alongside the European Development Days held in Brussels. The country of Luxembourg pledged $400,000 to the organization Girls Not Brides, a global coalition of civil society organizations committed to ending child marriage and enabling girls to reach their full potential.
This month, Global Citizen can report that this pledge from Luxembourg has helped Girls Not Brides to expand its membership in Latin America and the Caribbean. This initiative is also helping protect children's rights around the world, including within the country of Tanzania, to end child marriage and female genital mutilation. The organization also launched the Child Marriage Research to Action Network (CRANK) with the UNFPA-UNICEF Global Program to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage, to help communicate global evidence on the issues and international strategies via shared learning.
In Kenya and Tanzania, radio is a powerful tool to communicate the consequences of #ChildMarriage and #FGMC.— Girls Not Brides (@GirlsNotBrides) July 25, 2022
Our partners @MsichanaKuria and @cdftz use radio to change mindsets and challenge social norms. With thanks to players of @PostcodeLotterypic.twitter.com/qtwFTpNn1j
Criminal Justice Reform Sees Progress Across the United States
$2.1 million commitment to equity and racial justice initiatives, pledged during Global Citizen’s 2020 broadcast event Global Goal: Unite for Our Future. This supported a range of partners, including Acumen, Pyxera, Jobs for the Future, and the Equal Justice Initiative.
These partnerships also supported initiatives such as the Skill Immersion Lab, the Acumen Emergency Fund responding to COVID-19 around the world, and the Pro Bono for Economic Equity program, which supports Black-owned businesses with actionable pro bono consulting and prepares SAP’s employees to be diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) ambassadors and inclusive leaders.
Global Citizens Take Action to Protect Small Atlantic Island
Ascension Island is the second most populated green turtle breeding ground in the Atlantic Ocean, but overfishing, climate change, and ocean pollution are just some of the factors threatening the endangered green sea turtle along its journey to this remote sanctuary.
This World Oceans Day, on June 8, Global Citizen celebrated the success of a UK and Blue Marine Foundation 2016 commitment to support the Great British Oceans Coalition’s campaign to help preserve Ascension Island's waters and 6.8 million square kilometers of territorial waters.
precious sea life.
Sanitation and Health Care for Millions of Students Across India
Yuva Unstoppable is a non-profit organization in India that leveraged corporate funding to commit on the Global Citizen Festival stage that it would reach 400,000 more students with improved hygiene and sanitation facilities in schools across the country. Since then, Yuva Unstoppable has also adapted to COVID-19 to support students through initiatives that support health, nutrition, and vaccination campaigns.
We are truly happy and proud to complete 17 years on 4th July 2020. And We Promise to be UNSTOPPABLE till we Transform 10,000 Schools and Impact lives of 10 Million Children.— YUVA Unstoppable (@UnstoppableYUVA) July 5, 2022
Yuva Unstoppable have managed to transform 3000 Schools for more than 600000 underprivileged children. pic.twitter.com/Qv3VqD1Fko
Mexico Continues to Work to Eradicate Gender-Based Violence
At Global Citizen Festival 2019 in New York City, artist and activist Becky G joined Mexican Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights Martha Delgado Peralta to announce the country’s new feminist foreign policy program linked to Global Citizen’s #SheIsEqual campaign. While the government acknowledges the challenges Mexico faces regarding gender equality, progress on this commitment is underway in the three years since the festival.
In 2021, Mexico co-hosted the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico City to urgently call for action and accountability on gender equality, spotlighting the power of women's rights activism, feminist solidarity, and youth leadership to achieve transformative change.
Mexico also campaigned and was present at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021, calling for action on climate change, women’s rights, and more.
Mexico is also facilitating the elaboration of a Gender Action Plan in the current negotiations of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs fostered the signature of two agreements to eradicate gender-based violence.
The second of these was signed, in May 2021, between the 10 Consulates of Mexico in California and the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls of California, which will help strengthen the consular services to eradicate gender-based violence.
We continue to hold world leaders accountable for the pledges made by millions of Global Citizens worldwide. But in order to end extreme poverty NOW, more needs to be done to achieve the United Nations Global Goals. Every action counts, and by signing up on our website or by downloading the Global Citizen app, you can join us and millions of others to speak up for the most vulnerable people around the world — now.