Advocacy Year-in-Review: Our Top Ten
By Jonathan Pearson on Monday, January 7th, 2013
Happy New Year! With the holiday season in the rearview mirror and plans for 2013 underway, we take one last look back at 2012 and the National Peace Corps Association’s (NPCA’s) Advocacy program. Here’s our top ten advocacy highlights for the year:
- A Record Breaking and Special National Day of Action: 2012 marked the 8th consecutive year the NPCA organized a National Day of Action in Support of the Peace Corps on or about March 1st, to correspond with Peace Corps Week. Our message to our community is that if you don’t take any other Peace Corps related action during the year, this is the day to make that phone call, send that electronic message to your lawmakers in Washington. Our 2012 activity hit some high-water marks: The largest number of Capitol Hill advocates for a Day of Action, and the highest number of congressional signatures on letters urging strong Peace Corps funding. Check out this great video documenting the day for one advocacy team and read more highlights and reflections on the day. Then…make plans to participate in the 2013 Day of Action!
- Peace Corps Commemorative Passes the Senate: The Peace Corps community took a major
step forward in the effort to establish a modest space near the National Mall to commemorate the historical significance of the founding of the Peace Corps when the United States Senate gave unanimous approval to the proposal. We weren’t successful in securing final passage in the House, but we are beginning to discuss next steps as we begin 2013.
- A Growing List of Volunteer Advocacy Coordinators: Organizing local advocacy gatherings for the Peace Corps community. Meeting with lawmakers. Forwarding advocacy updates and mobilizing advocates. We are very proud of the 18 state/regional advocacy coordinators we recruited or connected with in 2012. They have already helped extend our outreach and impact, and we look forward to building this leadership group further in 2013.
- Launching Find the 250K: 2012 marked the beginning of a multi-year initiative to build a fully-connected Peace Corps community. The goal is lofty…try and find all 250,000 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and former Peace Corps staff over the next five years. As 2012 came to a close, we were on target to reach our year one goal of identifying 10,000 additional individuals. Lots more to come in 2013.
- August District Advocacy Meetings: The second year of promoting district advocacy meetings yielded a modest increase in activity. Advocates organized more than 30 meetings all around the country. One major step forward was that a significant number of these meetings were with key lawmakers, including and especially members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees.
- Survey Says: In the aftermath of the well-received 50th anniversary survey of more than 11,000 individuals, we continued to seek out the views and the voice of the Peace Corps community. Of most significance, we supported the newly formed group Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteersin circulating a survey to further assess the difficulties faced by RPCVs who became seriously injured or ill during service. As 2012 came to a close, we began to prepare for advocacy by asking all members of the community to share their thoughts on why the Peace Corps is important to our
nation. If you have not shared your comments yet, please take action now.
- Advocacy Training Workshops: A well attended advocacy training session at NPCA’s Annual Gathering in Minneapolis was one the 2012 efforts to reach out to the Peace Corps community. Advocacy workshops were also held in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and an NPCA Advocacy powerpoint training template was developed for community use. We hope to further extend our training opportunities in 2013.
- Reconnecting on Global Issues: During the 50th anniversary year, NPCA advocacy was “all Peace Corps issues, all the time.” But during 2012, we began to return to our modest, supportive and impactful efforts to educate our community on key issues of global concern and provide opportunities to take action. Some of our efforts in 2012 include information and action related to U.S. funding for international affairs, global poverty, international food assistance, climate change and international elections monitoring.
- Volunteer and Intern Contributions: We are so fortunate to have a number of advocacy interns who assist our advocacy program each year, providing insight and enthusiasm to our workplace. That’s not all. We have some amazing members of our community who regularly volunteer to the benefit of our advocacy program. Among these selfless individuals in 2012 were members of our Advocacy Committee, including Joby Taylor, David Magnani, Darryl Johnson, Gary Schulze, Kristina Owens, Christie Appelhanz, Wendy Lee, Ravi Shah and Mark Schneider. We also benefited greatly from the generous contributions of regular office volunteers including Harriet Lipowitz, Natalie Hall, Richard MacIntyre and Pat Wand.
Taken together, these individuals (and others) provided well over 2,000 hours of service to the NPCA…the equivalent of one full-time staff person!
- Last, but not least…YOU! All the phone calls and all the emails. All the workshops and all the meetings. All the blogposts and all the videos. All the steps to legislative victories and progress on Peace Corps and other global issues. It all comes back to the individual. It all comes back to you.