ONE Launches Thrive: Campaigners Across the World Will Sow the Seeds of Change

(ONE members and staff in Washington D.C)

The Thrive campaign which launched across the Globe on April 10th, 2012, in cities including Paris, Berlin and Washington, D.C.  Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef/Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives & Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement–joined me and fellow ONE staff members/volunteers to launched One’s new campaign: Thrive in Washington D.C. At this event, we hand out sweet potato and hibiscus seedlings to potential new members and postcards.

Campaigners in France, Germany, the UK and the US will mark the launch of Thrive by staging “seed sowing” events at famous landmarks that highlight the need for investment in agriculture. In Washington DC, activists will gather at the pedestrian walkway in front of the White House and hand out seedlings asking people to participate in the campaign. They will also encourage passers-by to send a plantable seed-paper postcard to the White House urging the President to support effective, sustainable programs that save lives.

ONE and our supporters are calling on African leaders, donor governments and the private sector to focus on 30 of the poorest countries that already have smart agriculture and nutrition plans that are tested and affordable. Investing in these plans will help smallholder farmers produce more food, generate bigger incomes and pull themselves out of poverty. They will also give children a better chance to survive and thrive. Focusing on these 30 plans will pave the way for similar progress in other countries.


However, ONE‘s analysis highlights a significant funding gap, as just 50% of the total funds required to implement the agriculture investment plans has been identified. This leaves a gap of around $27 billion that needs to be filled by donors, the private sector and developing countries themselves between now and 2015.

“The Thrive campaign asks each of us to help break the cycle of hunger and poverty by calling on world leaders to support these country-owned plans and fill the funding gaps,” said Ben Leo, Global Policy Director at ONE. “ONE’s new analysis shows that sustained investment in small-scale farming, together with a focus on ensuring children have enough nourishing food to eat, will have a huge impact on tens of millions of people around the world living in extreme poverty.”

ONE is asking governments to agree to a new compact on food security and nutrition in 2012, which should include:


·  A new initiative at the G8 level to build on the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative that is results-driven, and that includes clear goals to lift 50 million people out of poverty and save 15 million children from stunting through investment in country-owned plans in 30 low-income countries;

·  A renewal of the commitment made by African governments in 2003 to invest 10% of their national budgets in agriculture and rural development, while setting out new and improved goals with greater transparency and accountability;

·  A new push to galvanise private sector investment in agriculture; and

·  Measures to tackle volatility in global food markets, which have a disproportionate impact on the world’s poorest people.


Speaking at a ONE event to highlight the importance of agriculture in Dar es Salaam last month, President Kikwete of Tanzania said, “While agriculture employs at least 70% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, its potential is underutilized. Agricultural investment is no longer an option but a priority that calls for more resources to boost food productivity, to end hunger and generate more income through exports.”


About the Report:

The report identifies 30 low-income countries that already have internationally endorsed agriculture investment plans. Together, these countries are home to around 26% of the world’s 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty, and 90% of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa. If fully-funded, these plans could lift an estimated 50 million people out of poverty within the coming decade. Of these 30 countries, 18 are also aligned with the UN’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement which aims to support national plans to substantially reduce undernutrition. The plans are ready to be implemented by governments, but need support and additional resources. The 18 SUN countries are home to 24% of the world’s stunted children. With sufficient resources to deliver the plans, alongside investment in agriculture, ONE estimates that 100 million young children could be less malnourished, and 15 million children under 5 could be saved from stunting.


About ONE:

ONE is a grassroots organization backed by 3 million people who fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, by raising public awareness and pressuring political leaders to support smart and effective policies and programs that save lives, help put kids in school, and improve futures. For more information, visit


For more info on ONE’s new THRIVE campaign, visit

To SIGN the PETITION, visit here

-Christine Shepherd

Photos via