More Media Advocacy!
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.
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