The #PowerOfAdvocacy: taking action this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

In 1992, the UN General Assembly declared October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (IDEP), calling on countries to undertake concrete activities towards eradicating poverty. This is what Results Canada, our dedicated volunteers, and many of you do every day. IDEP is our sector’s time to build momentum and ramp up efforts to achieve our mission. 

We know we can end extreme poverty because we have the world’s most valuable resource: people who care. Results trains dedicated and passionate volunteer advocates across the country to take powerful actions. That’s the #PowerofAdvocacy: it’s democracy in action.

Throughout October, advocates across the country are honouring the power of advocacy by taking the #17ActionsForIDEP challenge, a campaign inspired by IDEP on October 17 and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We focus on advocacy because we know smart, strategic advocacy campaigns have game-changing, high-impact results. Advocacy often starts with putting key issues on the radar of those in power, and keeping the pressure on, with concrete and actionable asks. This is how individuals achieve big things.

With heart and hard work, Results volunteers have contributed to some of the world’s biggest wins in the fight to end extreme poverty – from cutting child deaths in half and lifting more families out of poverty to ensuring millions more kids have access to education.

Photo credit: Jennifer Barnard

In 2022, ahead of the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment pledging conference, Results volunteers sent countless letters to Members of Parliament, published hundreds of letters and op-eds, and organized high-impact meetings with government decision makers. The results? At the conference, Canada increased its investment in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 30%, from $930.4 million to $1.21 billion. This represents the single largest investment Canada has made towards any international financing institution for health. An investment that will contribute to millions of lives saved. 

But changing the world is not the only benefit. Advocacy also changes the advocate. We see it all the time – a new volunteer writes their first letter to the editor and soon their voice becomes loud, their actions become bold, and they support others to join the chorus for change. Building a movement of effective advocates fosters a strong society that has the confidence and skills to speak truth to power. 

Here are some of the Results Canada volunteers who’ve been transformed by their advocacy work:

  • When she first joined Results, Dena was “eager to begin my advocacy journey… but was unsure about my abilities.” With the support from Results staff, Dena found her unique voice and has published letters to the editor in the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Hill Times, and more!
  • For Sadia, “Collaborating with Results Canada on eradicating TB was an honour.” Sadia now feels she can “create lasting change & continue advocating passionately… I’m now empowered “
  • Tiffany puts it beautifully: “Because of Results I am reminded of the power of a collective. I am not a lone voice. I am encouraged to keep advocating…Our future seems hopeful. This fuels me to keep writing, keep asking, and keep talking.”

That’s how transformative change happens. 

We need transformational advocates like these now more than ever. 

Since Results Canada began over 35 years ago, we’ve seen global poverty reduced to half in part because of the incredible power of advocacy to generate the political will for those holding the levers of power to take action. However, COVID-19 changed everything. According to the World Bank’s most recent report, poverty reductions have stalled since COVID-19 and children 17 years and younger are the ones most impacted.

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is our moment to challenge ourselves, understand the causes and consequences of poverty, and engage in deeper actions to end extreme poverty. 

We know a world free of extreme poverty is possible. We dream big at Results.

Dream with us.

Denise MacDonald is passionate about the power of words to create change. She has 15 years of experience in non-profit communications and is currently the Communications Manager at Results Canada – her first job in the international development sector. She’s learning a lot! Click here to connect with Denise on LinkedIn.


October 12, 2023


Denise MacDonald, Results Canada