RESULTS lecture calls for individual action to end hunger, disease

Julie Paulson

The keyword “advocacy” was used throughout Ken Patterson’s RESULTS lecture.

Patterson spoke to students Thursday night about RESULTS, an organization that strives to “create political will to end hunger and poverty” and “to empower individuals to exercise personal and political power.” He also discussed global poverty and disease prevention.

RESULTS was started in 1980 with the goals of ending poverty and death from preventable causes, providing education for all children, giving all people basic health care and economic opportunity, and helping people take responsibility in achieving these goals.

“All solutions to poverty already exist,” Patterson said. “We can end poverty by 2030.”

Patterson became an advocate after being a Peace Corps volunteer and encountering a situation where a child died without the chance of saving the child.

“She didn’t even have a chance to survive,” Patterson said. “One of 25,000 babies die of preventable causes. … I didn’t know what to do … and the answer was absolutely nothing.”

Patterson said that currently, 1.3 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day, and 2.4 billion live on less than $2 per day. Nearly 4 million people die annually from AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. 3.1 million children die of starvation and 165 million children are developmentally stunted from lack of nutrition. Despite the large number of people in need, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted every year worldwide.

As the economy slowly recovers and the country remains saddled with debt, Congress is actively looking for any corners to cut financially. 

The House of Representatives has proposed a $40 billon cut to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program during the next 10 years, which would cut benefits for 3.8 million people.

“Can we change that if we wanted to?” Patterson asked.

Patterson called for students to join RESULTS and take action. RESULTS takes action by calling and visiting congressmen and generating media attention.

So far, RESULTS has managed to get House Resolution 254 introduced to provide aid to children dying of malnutrition, advocated for President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to end AIDS worldwide and most recently, to get the Obama administration to pledge $5 billion to help prevent AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“You are potentially powerful,” Patterson said. “Relationship is the No. 1 strategy we have.”

He then encouraged students to call their congressmen and -women and ask them to budget for aid to world poverty, ending preventable deaths and educating children.

According to a survey taken by RESULTS of Congressional Aids, congressmen and -women are more likely to listen to constituents who either meet with them in person or call them to talk about issues.

An estimated 100 students attended the event, many of whom signed up to join RESULTS before and after the lecture.

There is currently no RESULTS chapter in Iowa, though there are hopes of starting one on the ISU campus.

“We’re always trying to get more people involved,” said Shelby Feldman, global nutrition organizer from RESULTS. “[And make RESULTS] more of a name brand.

“We’re very optimistic. The great thing is, there doesn’t need to be 10, 20, 30 people. … There can be five.”