One Campaign

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ONE Campaign
FormationMay 16, 2004
TypeDevelopment advocacy
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
    • United States
    • United Kingdom
    • France
    • Germany
    • Belgium
    • South Africa
    • Canada
    • Nigeria
    • Senegal
Official language
English, French, German, Dutch
LeaderGayle Smith, President and CEO since 2017
Key people
Bono (co-founder); Bobby Shriver (co-founder)

ONE Campaign (styled ONE) is an international, non-partisan, 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 save lives and improve futures.[1]

ONE was founded in 2004 by Bobby Shriver and Bono along with a coalition of 11 non-profit humanitarian and advocacy organizations; including DATA, Care, World Vision, Oxfam America, and Bread for the World. Funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2007, ONE announced it would be merging with DATA.


ONE advocates for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and for policies benefiting those who live in conditions of extreme poverty around the globe.[2] 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 international affairs budgets.[3]

Current members of ONE's board of directors include former Prime British Minister David Cameron, Lawrence Summers, and Sheryl Sandberg.[4]

One Campaign
One Campaign

In addition to ONE's long-term relationship with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the campaign is funded through donations from partner organizations including Apple, Bank of America, Bloomberg L.P., Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cargill, the Caterpillar Foundation, Coca-Cola, Ford Foundation, Google, Merck, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, Salesforce, Skoll Foundation, and Open Society Foundations.[4][5]


ONE was founded by Irish musician Bono and American attorney Bobby Shriver,[6][7] along with 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.[8]

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.[8]


The official ONE 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).[9][better source needed]

In December 2004, ONE announced a $3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[10] Mark McKinnon, an adviser to United States President Bush, and Mike McCurry, an adviser to the presidential campaign of John Kerry, appeared on CNN's Inside Politics with Judy Woodruff in 2004 in support of ONE.[11]

In 2008, ONE merged with DATA. The merged entity was run by CEO David J. Lane[12] until his departure in early 2011 to join the Obama administration.[13] 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.[14]

During the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the organization launched a campaign called ONE Vote '08. The campaign was co-chaired by former U.S. Senate majority leaders Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Bill Frist (R-TN).[15] Since 2009, ONE has run a series of ONE Vote campaigns around national elections, including ONE VOTE 2010[16] in the United Kingdom, ONE Vote 2012 in both France,[17] and ONE Vote 2012 and ONE Vote '16 in the United States.[18]

In 2010, the Gates Foundation's Living Proof Project became part of ONE.[19]


ONE protestors at a GAVI conference in 2011

ONE has a focus on ‘Factivism' (fact-based activism), as referenced in Bono's 2013 TED talk.[20]

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.[21] 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"[22]—a set of measures that would help promote transparency and reduce money flowing outwards as a result of corrupt activity.[citation needed]


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.[23] 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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] It was nominated for "Best African Collaboration" in the All Africa Music Awards.[26]

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.[25]

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.[27]

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.[28]

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.[29] 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.[30] On International Women's Day 2017, ONE released a report that stated 130 million girls are currently out of school.[31] It claims the number of girls missing out on receiving an education amounts to a crisis that must be urgently addressed.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34]

In March 2017, Gayle Smith was named president and CEO of the ONE Campaign.[35]


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."[36]

ONE works with volunteer campaigners in 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.[37] 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.[38]


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.[39] ONE Campaign said that "this legislation is a bold vision for U.S. engagement in the energy sector in Africa."[40]

On February 8, 2016, the Electrify Africa Act was signed into law by President Obama. ONE Campaign 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.[41] Senator Chris Coons thanked ONE members for their support in helping raise the profile of the bill.[42]

ONE has worked with Publish What You Pay and a coalition of other non-government organisations[43] around the Cardin-Lugar Amendment and the passing of extractives transparency laws in the United States and Europe.[44]

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.[45]


ONE has been criticized[46] 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,[47] 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".[48] In June 2009, 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."[49]


  1. ^ Buston, Olly. "Bono's ONE Campaign - we do not waste money". The Week.
  2. ^ "Historic Launch Press Release". Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data. Archived from the original on November 1, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  3. ^ "Bono Urges Western Governments To Fight Poverty, AIDS, Debt in Africa During Speech at University of Pennsylvania". Kaiser Health News. May 18, 2004. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Annual Review 2020" (PDF). One Campaign. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 29, 2022. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  5. ^ "Financials". The ONE Campaign. 2022. Archived from the original on June 30, 2022. Retrieved June 30, 2022.
  6. ^ Legaspi, Althea (December 7, 2018). "Bono Wants His Charity to Be 'the NRA For the World's Poor'". Rolling Stone.
  7. ^ "Bono Wants 'One' Charity To Be The "NRA For The World's Poor" | X101 Always Classic".
  8. ^ a b "Bono's war on poverty and AIDS". CBS News.
  9. ^ "Saworship". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ " - Transcripts".
  12. ^ "ONE Campaign and DATA to Merge" Press release from,[clarification needed] October 27, 2007.
  13. ^ Kamen, Al (February 26, 2011). "The Obama staff shuffle kicks into high gear". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ Luscombe, Belinda. "Former Editor of TIME International Michael Elliott Dies at 65". Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  15. ^ "ONE Launches ONE Vote '08". ONE. June 11, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  16. ^ "Advocacy group One launches online election campaign on global poverty | Katine". London: April 14, 2010. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "Guillaume Grosso: Notre deuxième test: François Hollande". March 20, 2012. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  18. ^ "Bernie Sanders Responds To ONE Vote '16". February 9, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  19. ^ "Foundation Transitions the Living Proof Project to ONE". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. August 2010. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  20. ^ Bono (March 14, 2013), The good news on poverty (Yes, there's good news), retrieved September 22, 2016
  21. ^ "Trillion Dollar Scandal - the biggest heist you've never heard of | Left Foot Forward". September 26, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  22. ^ "Leading economists lobby world leaders over 'inequality' of tax havens -". Belfasttelegraph. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  23. ^ a b Tracy McVeigh (March 7, 2015). "Poverty is sexist: leading women sign up for global equality | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  24. ^ "For Women Empowerment, Omotola Teams Up With ONE Campaign". April 25, 2015. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Female African musicians unite in 'Poverty is Sexist' campaign". Reuters. May 13, 2015. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  26. ^ AFRIMA. "AFRIMA Out With Final 2015 Nominees List; Sarkodie, VVIP, Wiyaala, Others Nominated". Modern Ghana. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  27. ^ Leeds, Sarene (December 2, 2015). "Bono, Miley Cyrus, Trevor Noah Honor World AIDS Day at Carnegie Hall". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  28. ^ "Freuds heads agencies launching UN's Global Goals campaign today | PR Week". Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  29. ^ "Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler and Elton John pen letter to world leaders to 'end gender inequality'". The Telegraph. March 8, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  30. ^ "Poverty is sexist: where life is toughest for girls". Financial Times. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  31. ^ "Leaving no one behind: How far on the way to universal primary and secondary education?" (PDF).
  32. ^ "ONE Campaign launches #GirlsCount to shed light on girls' education crisis". Global News. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  33. ^ "Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey Among Long List of Hollywood Heavyweights to Sign Open Letter Calling for Gender Equality". Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  34. ^ "Poverty is sexist ONE Campaign open letter". Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  35. ^ "Gayle Smith named president and CEO of The ONE Campaign | InsideNGO". Archived from the original on March 31, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  36. ^ "ONEbyONE". ONE. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  37. ^ "Youth Ambassadors call on world leaders to fight for their future". May 30, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  38. ^ "ONE Campus Challenge Puts Students at Center of Poverty-Fighting Movement". Archived from the original on September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  39. ^ "H.R. 2548 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  40. ^ "Electrifying Africa". ONE. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  41. ^ "Congress Passes Corker's Bipartisan Bill To Expand Access To Electricity Across Sub-Saharan Africa". February 2, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  42. ^ "Cardin, Senators Applaud Electrify Africa Bill Becoming Law". Afro. February 8, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  43. ^ "New transparency laws could help millions, says Publish What You Pay - Global Witness".
  44. ^ "Landmark Extractive Industry Transparency Law Passed in United States Congress | EarthRights International". EarthRights. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  45. ^ Anderson, Mark (March 9, 2015). "UK passes bill to honour pledge of 0.7% foreign aid target". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
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  47. ^ "Dead Aid - Dambisa Moyo - Penguin Books". Archived from the original on August 25, 2009. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  48. ^ "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.
  49. ^ "Africa with Dambisa Moyo" Archived October 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Peter Robinson. Hoover Institute. June 12, 2009. Timestamp: 33:35-34:15.

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