Change through social activism was something close to Fred’s heart. He was well known for never taking no for an answer, and would keep fighting for his beliefs until he got his way. Today, our advocacy work is still going strong, and is as vital to our mission as it was in Fred’s time.
Advocacy and The Foundation
Our advocacy work is all about achieving social change, which can be done in a number of ways. Sometimes it’s through lobbying governments to commit budget to eye health, shifting public attitude through education or amending policies and laws. No matter the approach, we’re always driven by the same goal – to end avoidable blindness.
The key to advocacy is making sure our messages are clear and reach the people who have the power to make change, like policy makers and other key decision makers.
What issues do we focus on?
- Strengthen national health systems with a focus on eye health
- Encourage in-country government support for better resources
- Empower local workers to implement effective, safe and quality eye interventions
- Create financial systems that ensure services are affordable and available to everyone – from cities to remote villages
How do we campaign for change?
- Work with partners to increase awareness both in-country and globally
- Use our research to help communicate results and create messages about avoidable blindness
- Train a workforce who will drive sustainable and improved eye health services from within affected countries
- Collaborate to be even more effective – with communities, other organisations, individuals or governments.
Our advocacy work: #endtrachomanow
The problem we identified
There were threats to continued funding for the vital trachoma work we do in remote Australia. This funding remains critical to eliminating trachoma in Australia by 2020.
How we rallied change
We rallied the public to sign our petition against any cut to trachoma funding and 5,000 people signed up including 36 from MPs and senators.
With this, and other lobbying and campaigning efforts from partners, $16.5 million in funding was committed by the Government. While this is an extremely positive outcome, there is still so much work to do to eliminate trachoma in Indigenous communities in Australia. We need to ensure funding for this work continues.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. The work of The Foundation, and the eye health and development sectors more broadly, will impact on and be impacted by the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Drawing primarily on programmatic data from 2018 and some key initiatives from 2017 and 2018, we’ve produced a ‘Contribution Report’ reflecting The Foundation’s pledge to better understand its role within the SDGs, and to lead by example through publicly committing to further strengthening our engagement.
It describes our core contribution to specific SDG targets across The Foundation, illustrates how we are impacting the lives of real people on the ground, and provides public accountability for stepping up action in the coming years.
The following explores some of the themes found in that report - but if you’d like to take a deep-dive, download the full Contribution Report here (and the accessible version here).