Our Annual Report is a time for reflection; for looking back at the progress we've made and setting resolutions for the future.
So... let's cast our minds back. In 2004, Bono, Jamie Drummond, Bobby Shriver, and Lucy Matthew launched an effort that joined with other partner activists around a simple, but audacious idea: Where you are born shouldn't dictate whether you live or die.
Today, more than seven million ONE members on every continent around the world carry that idea forward through hard-nosed government advocacy and campaigning for smart aid and policy change to benefit the world's poor.
Fifteen years ago, there were just 700,000 people in the world who had access to lifesaving AIDS medications. There are now 15 million people on treatment. New HIV infections and AIDS related deaths are both down to historic lows.
There are still more than 900 million people facing extreme poverty globally on a daily basis... But we are more than halfway toward our goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.
That's amazing progress. One of the themes of 2015 for us was celebrating how far we've come, looking at the Millennium Development Goals which did so much to focus attention on what really mattered. And we celebrated our own birthday with friends, partners and some of our heroes in an event at Carnegie Hall that we will never forget. (Great pictures in this report).
But 2015 was also about what comes next. It's important to remember and celebrate, but we can't get complacent. This is exactly the time to step up and do more.
Last year, we supported the launch of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development: the world's 15-year action plan for eradicating poverty and fighting inequality. It's the biggest promise the world has ever made to itself. If we rise to the challenge, in 15 years' time, no one will have to face life below the extreme poverty line.
In 2016, ONE will urge world leaders to commit to replenishing the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. We'll continue to support women and girls through our Poverty is Sexist campaign. We'll link arms with partners and work toward a more connected world for everyone. And we'll raise a banner for nutrition, asking the world to fight for the 162 million children under five who suffer from stunting as a result of undernutrition.
Clearly, we are as ambitious now as we were back in 2004. There is still so much to do in our fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease — let's roll up our sleeves and make 2016 a remarkable year, together.
These are exciting times for ONE in Africa. Our advocacy is as strong as ever: and increasingly, it's supported by a deep, strong network of very committed members and partners across the continent, whom we hope will lead the organization in making governments deliver on their promises.
Over the past two years, our membership in Africa has grown exponentially. To truly understand the increase: Africa membership grew from 300,000 in mid-2013 to 2.8 million today.
ONE now has more members in Africa than on any other continent, and Nigeria is now our second-largest country in terms of membership — behind only the United States.
The primary way we engage with our Africa members? Mobile. It's amazing that such a small device can reach such a large audience — and we tapped into that potential again last year for the Ebola campaign. More than 280,000 people signed the mobile petition in Africa before it was hand-delivered to leaders around the world.
In 2016, we'll look to further our engagement with our members in Africa, both through our global campaigns and through national actions. We know there is a growing desire for offline activities, and we're excited to see ONE launch the ONE Champions program in Nigeria this year. Champions are volunteers who engaged consistently and expertly in our advocacy work. In September last year, we joined with our partners from Action/2015 in Nigeria and South Africa to take part in a Global Day of Action. Hundreds of people converged at South Africa's iconic Constitutional Hill, which was previously a white prison where Nelson Mandela was held, and at the University of Lagos in Nigeria.
But the campaign that truly mobilized our members in Africa in 2015 was Poverty is Sexist. The Strong Girl song and video that we made in South Africa played across the continent. It was a powerful message about women and development expressed through great creative products that really stirred the imagination.
More than 700,000 people in Africa signed the Poverty is Sexist petition, including more than 600,000 new members. ONE presented the petition to five African Union Heads of State at the AU summit in Johannesburg, who later adopted a set of policy decisions to empower Africa women. ONE's African members were truly the force behind this campaign.
Bono said it best when promoting the "Strong Girl" remix: "ONE has more members in Africa now than in Europe. In truth, we should have called ourselves HALF because only now are we becoming truly ONE."