I was surprised to read the June 20 op-ed by Matt Patterson “U2: Great music in the service of a dubious charity,” which contained misinformation about ONE, the anti-poverty, advocacy group cofounded by U2 lead singer Bono, with whom I have worked closely on critical development initiatives for the world’s poor.
Rather than Mr. Patterson’s suggestion that ONE is somehow a failed charity, they are, in fact, a global advocacy organization fighting poverty in Africa by moving government officials to better use development assistance funding to reach the largest amount of people. ONE works to educate people about the crisis of extreme poverty and concrete solutions. They work with leaders and activists in Africa to find out which issues are actually affecting them and then press political leaders in the U.S., Europe and other countries around the world to pass smart policies and programs that help lift people out of poverty. I can personally attest to efficacy of their work.
Last year, Sen. Dick Lugar and I were able to include language in the Wall Street Reform Bill that requires the disclosure of payments made by oil, mineral and gas companies to governments around the world, increasing transparency and accountability of those funds for the citizens living in these countries, which are rich in resources, yet often mired in poverty. Corruption can result in just as many deaths as those caused by diseases, therefore, this new policy was a large step forward in making government officials responsible for what they do and do not provide for their own citizens, potentially transforming good governance in these countries. We would not have been successful in creating this new policy without the tireless advocacy and educational efforts of Bono and his team at ONE.