Ahead of the iNNOCENCE+eXPERIENCE Tour arriving in Stockholm, we reached out to Saira O’Mallie, Campaigns and Membership Manager at the ONE Campaign.
Since the start of the European leg, she’s been out on the road with volunteers of #ONEonTour informing about the organisation that aims to end extreme poverty. If they succeed, she says, ”I hope to be out of a job in 2030”.
Read our full interview below to learn how you can help make poverty history by joining the ONE Campaign in Stockholm next week!
u2.se: The ONE Campaign is on tour with U2 at the moment and look to recruit more members while in Stockholm. What can new members expect from ONE?
Saira O’ Mallie: It’s simple really – the opportunity to take action, make a difference and affect real change. We never ask people for money, but for their voice; and we have impact too. We’ve protected levels of development spending across the globe and changed laws at European and national levels, fighting corruption and securing investments for health and agriculture.
But more than that, you get to be part of a community of dedicated, informed and passionate people. I am really lucky to spend much of my time with our members, in the UK and while on tour with U2. I might be biased, but I think they’re the best people in the world!
You can be as active as you like, by signing a petition or sharing our actions. You could write to or meet your local representative, attend or organise an event or contact your local paper. However active you want to be, we’re here to support you!
u2.se: There have been indications that ONE may expand its presence in Sweden, what could you tell us about that?
O’ Mallie: ONE is always growing; we’re at almost 7 million members worldwide, which is incredible! But that means we have to get better at offering targeted actions that really count. In the last two years we’ve expanded our Youth Ambassador programme to 7 European countries with great success and stepped up our activities in Italy and the Netherlands. I would love to see us do more in Sweden. When we do, I will make sure you’re the first to know.
u2.se: How has the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) for 2015 influenced the agenda at ONE this year?
O’ Mallie: When we were planning for 2015 everyone knew that it would be a big year for international development, but I had no idea what that actually meant until we hit the ground running in January. And we haven’t stopped!
The MDGs have been a huge focus for us since our first days, but the launch of the SDGs – the Sustainable Development Goals – in September mark the beginning of the final leg of the journey towards the end of extreme poverty. A delegation of our Youth Ambassadors will be in New York for the launch, and will represent our members from all over the world. We want to make as much noise around this moment as possible, but it won’t end there. We have to keep up the pressure over the next 15 years. I hope to be out of a job in 2030 – if not before!
u2.se: Stockholm will ”Wave White” to celebrate Sweden’s position at the top of the ”0.7% Club” according to a recent ONE Campaign report. What challenges and opportunities come with this accomplishment?
O’ Mallie: It is FANTASTIC that Sweden is the top development donor, and I hope you are all rightly proud of the difference that investment makes to the lives of the world’s poorest people. But being a great leader comes with great responsibility. Your government – and you – should encourage others to show the same level of commitment. We’ll help you however we can!
This is my first time in Sweden and I am sure it will live up to my expectations. I cannot wait to meet everyone at the U2 concerts in Stockholm and see the Wave White with my own eyes. What an incredible idea and a real indication of how creative, passionate and dedicated you all are. If only I could sign everyone at the concert up as a ONE member – we would end extreme poverty in no time!
u2.se: Lastly, if you could have a coffee/tea and casual chat (”fika”) with a member of U2, who would you invite and why?
O’ Mallie: I couldn’t single out a member of the band, I would insist they all come for afternoon tea (or a glass of wine) and we could sit and put the world to rights! I would love to know how they find the energy to be as active and engaged as they were at the very beginning. I would ask what other issues they are interested in, who their heroes are and what they want the world to look like in 2030; and what more we can do – fans and ONE members alike – to make that vision a reality.
We would like to take this oppotunity to thank Saira for generously taking time out of her busy schedule on tour with the ONE Campaign and U2 to answer our questions. For more information about the ONE Campaign please visit the official website ONE.org.