A key priority for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is polio eradication. First, some facts: we’re really close. We are more than
99% of the way toward ending polio forever, and levels of polio are at an all-time low, with the fewest number of new cases this year than ever before. We can’t stop now. You don’t see Olympic gold medalist
Usain Bolt pulling up right before he finishes a race, do you?
Point being, we need to finish the job, and there are a few different ways we’re working to do this. Underpinning our work is partnering with great organizations such as Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, CDC and the UN Foundation (links here).
Globally there are many inspirational advocates for the global eradication effort including United Nations
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and
thousands of Rotarians around the world.
Raising public awareness is also part of the equation. Two recent pieces in
Science Magazine, for example, are worth the read. They not only underscore the urgency of the situation but they also highlight the importance of organizations like the
Global Polio Eradication Initiative to address persistent challenges to-date and the success they’re having in overcoming those challenges. Also in
Science you’ll find another great piece about the commitment and effort, even in the face of challenging circumstances, underway in Pakistan, one of only three countries left in the
world where polio transmission has never been stopped.
All of these efforts only help us build the case that we are indeed on the verge of ending polio. But that’s not enough. The reality is we are all responsible for creating a polio-free world while we still can. So what can you do to play your part in helping
One answer is: go listen to some amazing bands in Central Park, New York. That’s right.
At the end of September, around the same time as the annual
UN General Assembly, where world leaders will address and take action against some of the world’s most pressing issues, the
Global Poverty Project is hosting the
Global Festival, a fantastic opportunity for you to get involved and take action in helping to end extreme poverty by reaching the goal of polio eradication.
The Global Festival will take place in Central Park on September 29 and features an impressive musical lineup including The Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, K’Naan, Neil Young, and Band of Horses. Although this isn’t your typical charity concert – in order
to win tickets you need to take action at globalfestival.com by becoming a “Global Citizen”. By using this unique platform through a mobile app or website, points can be
earned by simple acts like sharing information about the global polio effort and other efforts to end extreme poverty on social networks, donating money, advocating for a cause, and other basic activities.
As a recent article in the
UN Dispatch notes, “By bringing together thousands of people to take action, this generation can make history and help the world over the finish line with polio. Ensuring success is a critical step toward protecting children from preventable diseases.”
Note: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a supporter of the Global Citizen platform.