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There's so much to say about the importance of advocating for women and girls around the world who don't have the power to speak up for themselves. There's so much to be said for hundreds of people who, despite a rampant economic crisis, set aside time and money to travel and stand up on behalf of those girls and their communities. But what you don't expect from attending this conference is the impact it will have on you, as an advocate.
On the way home from DC I realized that I had actually made a difference in someone's life whom I will never meet, a village that I will never visit and the impact of those 3 or 4 conversations with policy makers would have effects that I may never fully realize but are extremely valuable in the grand scheme of things.
One of the aides we spoke with on Tuesday said that one of the reasons his office wasn't in total support of the Child Marriage Prevention Act is because it didn't really do anything to prevent child marriage. I tried to convey to him that although the act doesn't seek to punish anyone or set aside any large amounts of money for this particular fight, it most certainly sends a message and sets us on a course to end this damaging practice. It's a start. I don't know if he got it. We'll see after the vote.
But advocacy works the same way. We may not win the battle on every visit and sign everybody up to join our movement at every meeting, but we definitely add one more log to the fire of change when we show up 600 strong to share stories and push agendas toward ending poverty. My little voice is important in the choir.