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The ONE Campaign is an international, nonpartisan, non-profit, advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support policies and programs that are saving lives and improving futures.[1]

ONE Campaign
ONE Campaign.svg
MottoActions. Speak. Louder.
FormationMay 16, 2004
TypeDevelopment advocacy
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
  • United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, Canada, Nigeria
Over 9 million
Official language
English, French, German, Dutch
LeaderGayle Smith, President and CEO since 2017
Key people
Bono (co-founder, spokesperson)

ONE was founded in 2004 by a coalition of 11 non-profit humanitarian and advocacy organizations, including DATA, CARE, World Vision, Oxfam America, and Bread for the World, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2007, ONE announced that it would be merging with DATA.

It is a membership organization of more than 9 million people worldwide.[2]



ONE mobilizes and organizes its supporters into a lobbying force that pressures world leaders to implement policies that support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and benefit those who live in conditions of extreme poverty around the globe.[3]

ONE supports a broad variety of international development issues, including the fight against treatable and preventable diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis; access to clean water and expanded access to energy; lessening corruption and improving transparency standards and government accountability to citizens; making trade fairer; providing basic education for all; and increasing the international affairs budgets.[4]


ONE was founded by 11 organizations: Bread for the World, CARE, DATA, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan USA, Save the Children U.S., World Concern, and World Vision.

The name ONE was inspired by the belief that one voice, coming together with many others — the political left and right, business leaders, activists, faith leaders and students — can change the world for the better.[5]


The official launch rally was held on May 16, 2004, at Liberty Mall in Philadelphia, United States. Approximately 2,000 people attended, including Bono, Dikembe Mutombo, Michael W. Smith, Richard Stearns (president of World Vision), and David Beckmann (president of Bread for the World).[6]

In December 2004, ONE announced a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[7] Corresponding with this announcement, Mark McKinnon, an adviser to United States President Bush, and Mike McCurry, an adviser to the Kerry Campaign, appeared in CNN's Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff in support of ONE.[8]

In 2008, ONE merged with DATA. The merged entity was run by CEO David J. Lane[9] until his departure in early 2011 to join the Obama administration.[10] Former editor of Time magazine, CEO Michael Elliott, led ONE from 2011 until early 2016, and was ONE's Senior Strategic Advisor until his passing in July 2016.[11] Members of ONE's Board of Directors include[when?] Bono, Sheryl Sandberg, Aliko Dangote, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, and Heleyne Gayle.[citation needed] Members of ONE's Africa Policy Advisory Board include[when?] Angélique Kidjo, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, John Githongo, Paul Collier, and Amadou Mahtar Ba.[citation needed]

During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the organization launched a campaign, called ONE Vote '08, which was co-chaired by former U.S. Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Bill Frist (R-TN).[citation needed] Since 2009, ONE has run a series of ONE Vote campaigns around national elections, including ONE VOTE 2010 [12] in the United Kingdom, ONE Vote 2012 in both France,[13] and ONE Vote 2012 and ONE Vote 16' in the United States.[14]

In 2010, the Gates Foundation's Living Proof Project became part of ONE.[15]


In 2011, ONE and (RED) partnered for World AIDS Day and brought together U.S. President Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Tanzanian President Kikwete, and others at an event in Washington, D.C. In 2012 ONE acquired (RED) as a division of ONE.

ONE has a focus on ‘Factivism’ (fact-based activism), as referenced in Bono’s 2013 TED talk.[16] As such much of their attention is currently placed on the bad-data at the heart of development, which makes progress difficult to track.

In 2014, ONE's "Trillion Dollar Scandal" report was released. It suggested that $1 trillion leaves developing countries each year through various forms of corrupt activity.[17] Since the release of the report, more than 50,000 people have signed a petition asking world leaders to sign up to the "Fair Play Standard"[18] - a set of measures that would help promote transparency and reduce money flowing outwards as a result of corrupt activity.


In 2015, ONE collected signatures for an open letter addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa, respectively, in order to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that would establish new development goals for the generation.[19] The following people signed the open letter: Ali Hewson, Angelique Kidjo, Beyoncé, Charlize Theron, Christy Turlington, Danai Gurira, Helene Gayle, Lady Gaga, Lauren Bush, Mabel van Oranje, Dr. Maria Furtwangler, Meryl Streep, Michele Sullivan (president of the Caterpillar Foundation, director of Corporate Social Innovation), Naisula Lesuuda (senator, Kenya), Rita Wilson, Rosamund Pike, Sarah Silverman, Sheryl Sandberg, and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.[19]

In March 2015, ONE launched a report titled "Poverty is Sexist", which details the ways in which women and girls are most seriously affected by poverty.[20] The promotion of this report included the release of the song and accompanying video ‘Strong Girl’ which featured leading female musicians from seven African countries including Kenya's Victoria Kimani, South Africa's Judith Sephuma and Mozambique's Gambela, alongside Nigerian actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde.[21] It was nominated for ‘Best African Collaboration’ in the All Africa Music Awards.[22]

The "Poverty is Sexist" campaign also encouraged women around the world to pose for a '#Strengthie' – a selfie in the pose of Rosie the Riveter, face of the famous "We Can Do It!" poster – and post it online in support of girls and women. Teenage activist and ONE campaign associate Malala Yousafzai posted a #strengthie from the Malala Campaign Twitter to show her support.[21]

On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2015, ONE and (RED) hosted a night of music at Carnegie Hall in New York to celebrate the 15 million people on life-saving anti-retroviral drugs compared to 700,000 in 2000, and to encourage the world to keep its focus on eradicating HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases by 2030 as one of the Sustainable Development Goals. The event, which also marked ONE’s 10 year anniversary, was hosted by The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah and featured performances from Miley Cyrus, Hozier, Jessie J, Bono and The Edge.[23]

During 2015, ONE worked with partners at Action/2015 and Project Everyone to promote the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development around the world so citizens can hold leaders to account in delivering them by 2030.[24]

On International Women’s Day 2016, ONE relaunched their Poverty is Sexist campaign, featuring an updated report including new figures, such as the fact that in 2016 half a billion women still cannot read and that girls account for 74% of all new HIV infections among adolescents across Africa.[25] It also lists the 20 worst countries to be a girl, based on a number of factors including the number of years a girl attends school, the proportion of women who have a paid job relative to men and the likelihood of a woman dying during childbirth.[26] On International Women's Day 2017, ONE released a report that stated 130 million girls are currently out of school.[27] It claims the number of girls missing out on receiving an education amounts to a crisis that must be urgently addressed.[28]

The campaign involved an open letter signed by several high-profile celebrity activists; including Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Elton John, Colin Farrell, Mary J. Blige and Shonda Rhimes.[29] The letter was addressed to world leaders, asking them to put women and girls at the top of the development agenda in order to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 as per the Sustainable Development Goals. It also asks for better data on females across the globe, to make sure the world can track the improvements being delivered to them.[30]

In March 2017, Gayle Smith was named president and CEO of the ONE Campaign.[31]


Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaking about ONE in a prerecorded video shown before a U2 performance of "One" during the group's U2 360° Tour in 2009.
An invitation to join ONE, shown at the end of the same show.

ONE uses a number of highly visible methods to reach out to the general public, promote its message, and encourage advocacy actions. ONE does not ask for public donations, stating: "We're not asking for your money. We're asking for your voice."[32]

Celebrity spokespeople are used to speak to the media and undertake trips abroad televised visits to areas suffering from poverty in order to illustrate the issues ONE is attempting to solve. ONE also uses its celebrity supporters for video ads that are released on YouTube.

ONE is a largely Internet-based campaign and therefore has multiple online communities. In addition to using Facebook, ONE has a significant presence on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

ONE works with volunteer campaigners in its different markets to raise awareness and lobby governments to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease. ONE Youth Ambassadors are selected yearly from Ireland, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy to support its grassroots mobilization and advocacy goals across Europe.[33] ONE Champions work to advance ONE's goals in Africa through lobby meetings, campaigning, and awareness raising. In the United States and Canada, ONE field organizers coordinate campaigning efforts, lobby members of Congress and Parliament, and host community awareness events. On college campuses across the U.S., ONE Campus chapters are run by students who mobilize their peers to participate in ONE's advocacy campaigns. ONE Campus chapters aim to teach students about extreme poverty and encourages members to campaign for lifesaving investments and US development policies.[34]

Legislation[better source needed]Edit

In the United States, ONE announced its support for the Electrify Africa Act of 2013 (H.R. 2548; 113th Congress), a bill that would direct the President to establish a multiyear strategy to assist countries in sub-Saharan Africa develop an appropriate mix of power solutions to provide sufficient electricity access to people living in rural and urban areas in order to alleviate poverty and drive economic growth.[35] ONE said that "this legislation is a bold vision for U.S. engagement in the energy sector in Africa."[36]

On February 8, 2016, the Electrify Africa Act was signed into law by President Obama. ONE members helped achieve this result by hosting events, signing and delivering petitions (360,000 names collected and delivered across all US states) and tweeting their support to politicians.[37] Senator Chris Coons thanked ONE members for their support in helping raise the profile of the bill.[38]

ONE has worked with Publish What You Pay and a coalition of other non-government organisations[39] around the Cardin-Lugar Amendment and the passing of extractives transparency laws in the United States and Europe.[40]

In 2014, over 22,000 UK-based ONE members wrote to their MPs in support of investing 0.7 of Gross National Income to international aid. In June, Liberal Democrat MP Michael Moore used his Private Member’s Bill to enshrine the law, making the UK the first G7 country to meet the UN spending target.[41]


ONE has been criticized[42] for its response to a book by African economist Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa,[43] which was published in January 2009. Moyo accused ONE of mischaracterizing her views. She says that she is against only government aid, not "their kind of aid".[44] In June 2009 Dambisa Moyo told former U.S. presidential Republican speech writer Peter Robinson during a Hoover Institute sponsored Uncommon Knowledge interview that "the harshest thing that has happened [in terms of responses to her 2009 book Dead Aid], Bono's and Bob Geldof's organization, called One, who I had tried to have a number of meetings with before the book came out, about what the theses of the book were, launched a very vitriolic attack against me. To the point that they were calling organizations ahead of my meetings and media appointments and sent a letter to African NGOs claiming, basically, painting me as a genocidal maniac trying to kill African babies. In other words, trying to get Africans to be against me. To me, that was not really fostering dialogue."[45]

In September 2010, it was reported that ONE used only 1.2% of their funds for charitable causes. In response, ONE pointed out that this is not its purpose; it does not provide programs on the ground but instead is an advocacy campaign for their funding. The organization was not fundraising or accepting donations, and was receiving most of its funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[46]


  1. ^ Buston, Olly. "Bono's ONE Campaign - we do not waste money". The Week.
  2. ^ "Bono: I Will Follow". Retrieved 2016-03-24.
  3. ^ "Historic Launch Press Release". Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  4. ^ "Bono Urges Western Governments To Fight Poverty, AIDS, Debt in Africa During Speech at University of Pennsylvania". Kaiser Health News. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  5. ^ "Bono's war on poverty and AIDS". CBS News.
  6. ^ "Saworship". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  7. ^ "ONE Campaign Announces National Effort To Mobilize Americans in Support of Helping Fight Global AIDS and Poverty", the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
  8. ^ " - Transcripts".
  9. ^ "ONE Campaign and DATA to Merge" Press release from,[clarification needed] October 27, 2007.
  10. ^ Kamen, Al (February 26, 2011). "The Obama staff shuffle kicks into high gear". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ Luscombe, Belinda. "Former Editor of TIME International Michael Elliott Dies at 65". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  12. ^ "Advocacy group One launches online election campaign on global poverty | Katine". London: April 14, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  13. ^ "Guillaume Grosso: Notre deuxième test: François Hollande". Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  14. ^ "Bernie Sanders Responds To ONE Vote '16". 2016-02-09. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  15. ^ "Foundation Transitions the Living Proof Project to ONE". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. August 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  16. ^ Bono, The good news on poverty (Yes, there's good news), retrieved 2016-09-22
  17. ^ "Trillion Dollar Scandal - the biggest heist you've never heard of | Left Foot Forward". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  18. ^ "Leading economists lobby world leaders over 'inequality' of tax havens -". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  19. ^ a b Tracy McVeigh. "Poverty is sexist: leading women sign up for global equality | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  20. ^ "For Women Empowerment, Omotola Teams Up With ONE Campaign". Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  21. ^ a b "Female African musicians unite in 'Poverty is Sexist' campaign". Reuters. 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  22. ^ AFRIMA. "AFRIMA Out With Final 2015 Nominees List; Sarkodie, VVIP, Wiyaala, Others Nominated". Modern Ghana. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  23. ^ Leeds, Sarene. "Bono, Miley Cyrus, Trevor Noah Honor World AIDS Day at Carnegie Hall". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  24. ^ "Freuds heads agencies launching UN's Global Goals campaign today | PR Week". Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  25. ^ "Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler and Elton John pen letter to world leaders to 'end gender inequality'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  26. ^ "Poverty is sexist: where life is toughest for girls". Financial Times. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  27. ^ "Leaving no one behind: How far on the way to universal primary and secondary education?" (PDF).
  28. ^ "ONE Campaign launches #GirlsCount to shed light on girls' education crisis". Global News. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  29. ^ "Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey Among Long List of Hollywood Heavyweights to Sign Open Letter Calling for Gender Equality". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  30. ^ "Poverty is sexist One Campaign open letter". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  31. ^ "Gayle Smith named president and CEO of The ONE Campaign | InsideNGO". Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  32. ^ "Join the fight against extreme poverty". ONE. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  33. ^ "Youth Ambassadors call on world leaders to fight for their future". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  34. ^ "ONE Campus Challenge Puts Students at Center of Poverty-Fighting Movement". Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  35. ^ "H.R. 2548 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  36. ^ "Electrifying Africa". ONE. Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  37. ^ "Congress Passes Corker's Bipartisan Bill To Expand Access To Electricity Across Sub-Saharan Africa". Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  38. ^ "Cardin, Senators Applaud Electrify Africa Bill Becoming Law". Afro. 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2016-03-17.
  39. ^ "New transparency laws could help millions, says Publish What You Pay - Global Witness".
  40. ^ "Landmark Extractive Industry Transparency Law Passed in United States Congress | EarthRights International". EarthRights. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  41. ^ Anderson, Mark (2015-03-09). "UK passes bill to honour pledge of 0.7% foreign aid target". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  42. ^ "Dead Aid, Live Debate by Kevin Williamson on National Review Online". April 13, 2009. Archived from the original on June 8, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  43. ^ "Dead Aid - Dambisa Moyo - Penguin Books". Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  44. ^ "Bono, Beware: Dambisa Moyo on Aid, Microfinance, and the Problem of Celebs in Africa | The Inquisition | Fast Company". Fast Company<!. April 1, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  45. ^ "Africa with Dambisa Moyo" Archived October 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. Peter Robinson. Hoover Institute. June 12, 2009. Timestamp: 33:35-34:15.
  46. ^ "Bono's ONE foundation under fire for giving little over 1% of funds to charity". Daily Mail. London. September 23, 2010.

External linksEdit