Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

6 posts from April 2009

Movement on foreign aid reform

There is exciting news to report from Capitol Hill.  Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA-28), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL-10), introduced a bill last night, April 28, that is a good first step in making U.S. foreign assistance more effective, efficient and transparent in reducing hunger and poverty and fostering broad-based economic development.

The “Initiating the Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009”, H. R. 2139, requires President Obama to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy for global development, improve evaluation of development programs, and increase the transparency of U.S. foreign assistance to developing countries.

Take Action

Call 1-800-826-3688 and ask YOUR representative to cosponsor the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 2139).  Unsure of your rep? Click here.

This bill will make our efforts to end global poverty more effective.

When you call, here are some great points to make:

1) This is a great first step in making our foreign assistance more effective. I want you to cosponsor this bill.

2) This bill would require President Obama to develop and implement a strategy for global development.

3) In tough times, it is very important that we make our foreign assistance more effective and streamlined - this bill makes assistance more transparent so we know how our money is being spent.

THIS CANNOT HAPPEN WITHOUT YOUR CALL. Call 1-800-826-3688 by the end of the day on Monday, May 18th and ask YOUR representative to cosponsor the Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 2139).

Tell us how your call went! We want to hear about your efforts to advocate for foreign aid reform! Contact your regional office.

P.S. Don't know who your representative is? Well, click on this link so you know who to ask for when you call 1-800-826-3688.

Bread for the World's Gathering 2009

Anti-hunger advocates from across the country will come together this June for The Gathering 2009: Rejoice! Hope! Act! This is an incredible opportunity to connect with people passionate about ending hunger, lobby your members of Congress and deepen your engagement with hunger advocacy.

The Gathering 2009 begins on Sunday June 14 with interactive workshops, worship and a plenary session on the global food crisis.  The event concludes on Tuesday, June 16 with Lobby Day.  Our facilities can only accommodate 350 participants, so register early. View a full schedule of the event here.

Register today!

"To The Light"

Check out this YouTube video by Elise Young, former Bread organizer.  She wrote and performed the song in the video.   

More Media Advocacy!

Randy Chang, Bread member from San Francisco, had a letter to the editor published in both the Oakland Tribune and the Tri-Valley Herald.  Way to go, Randy!

Reform foreign aid

IN LINE with my Christian faith, I agree with the necessity of reforming the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 ("Clergy join fight against world poverty," April 2).

I believe that God intends that everyone in His creation should be able to experience prosperity and well-being, not just a few, nor should prosperity and well-being be achieved at the expense of others.

U.S. foreign aid programs currently provide significant benefits to poor and hungry people around the world: enabling millions of children to receive an education, reducing infant mortality through immunizations, empowering women heads of households through provision of job skills and micro enterprise loans, providing improved seeds and farming techniques for farmers, and increasing life expectancy for HIV/AIDS patients from antiretroviral medicines. Funding for these poverty-focused development programs must be continued and even increased.

Beyond this, reform of the Foreign Assistance Act must align U.S. aid, trade, migration, energy and environmental policies to promote sustainable development that reduces global poverty. Current aid policies that are exacerbating poverty in developing nations must be reformed.

To the maximum extent possible, emergency food assistance should promote regional purchase and distribution of food, rather than shipping U.S. grown commodity crops which can undermine indigenous food production capacity and increase dependency.

That the U.S. economy is in turmoil, and that we face the prospect of large budget deficits makes it imperative that foreign assistance be reformed to be truly effective, but not used as reasons for pulling back.

Randall Chang

San Francisco

Foreign Assistance Reform Media Advocacy

The San Mateo County Times published an article on April 2 about a coalition of clergy working on foreign assistance reform and the Millennium Development Goals.  You can read the full article here

In response to the article, Elizabeth Henry, Bread board member, wrote an excellent letter to the editor.  It was published today.  Way to go, Elizabeth!

Foreign assistance

THANKS TO The Tribune for highlighting the call of faith leaders to improve U.S. foreign assistance ("Clergy join fight against world poverty," April 2).

Our nation's foreign aid programs have dramatically improved the lives of millions, from increasing school enrollment for girls in Zambia to agricultural training for farmers in Nicaragua.

Though successful, these programs lack a consistent objective and are scattered across dozens of government offices. By streamlining our efforts and eliminating bureaucratic inefficiencies, we can do more to help people in the long term.

Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein wholeheartedly signaled their support for foreign assistance programs by co-sponsoring an amendment that restored funding for them in the Senate budget. They deserve our public thanks and recognition.

We must do more and better to make progress against extreme poverty.

Reps. Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey can champion foreign aid reform as members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Speaker Nancy Pelosi can lead us to adopt a better foreign assistance system — with better coordination, better accountability and better clarity — so that the resources we already have do the most good.

Elizabeth Henry

Member, board of directors, Bread for the World

Thank you! Your calls made a difference

Thanks to your efforts, the voices of poor and hungry people were heard in Congress yesterday!

The Senate passed an amendment adding $4 billion for International Affairs back into their budget resolution. Read more.

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