170 posts categorized "Foreign Aid"
By Jason Fileta
We are officially in the heat of the election. Secret videos, name calling, and robocalls are all queued up. I feel saturated with promises, discouraged at the disunity in our nation, and tempted to just ignore it all. Here is what keeps my attention: Though millions of people around the world living in extreme poverty will be affected by our next president's decisions, neither candidate has said how they will tackle the issue. Recently, in addressing the Circle of Protection, both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney focused on domestic poverty and hunger, but there was a massive hole in their speeches: global poverty.
What happens in the White House affects everyone’s house—even in a rural village halfway around the world. President George W. Bush showed us the impact that a U.S. president can have on the global poor—last year alone, 3.9 million people with HIV/AIDS received life-saving antiretroviral therapy because of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). There are 3.9 million people alive today because of poverty-focused development aid, and they must continue to receive support. The recipients of this assistance cannot vote in our election to ensure that they continue receiving life-saving support—that's where you come in!
“Micah’s Challenge to Our Next President” is a national grassroots effort of Christ followers lending their voices to people in extreme poverty. We are proclaiming our Christ-centered concern for people in extreme poverty, and urging our next President to share that concern. Add your voice at: http://www.micahchallengeusa.org/lend-your-voice
A weekly legislative update from Bread for the World's government relations team.
The House and Senate are both in session beginning Wednesday of this week due to the Jewish holidays. They won’t stay in session long, though. It’s an election year, and members of Congress are eager to get home to campaign.
Programs that help people who are hungry and poor have been consistently under threat of devastating cuts during budget negotiations—whether that be the annual budget for the next year or a comprehensive deficit reduction bill that budgets for the next 10 years. New developments affecting those negotiations include a continuing resolution passed in the House, a new report from the administration outlining the effects of across-the-board budget cuts scheduled to begin in January, and the bipartisan negations being conducted by the Gang of Eight in the Senate.
Last week, the House passed a six-month continuing resolution (CR, temporarily funding government operations until a budget is passed) to fund federal discretionary programs at roughly current levels, plus a 0.6 percent increase for the first part of the 2013 fiscal year. The Senate is expected to vote on (and pass) the CR this week.
The farm bill—a bill which governs federal farm and food policy—is set to expire on September 30, 2012, and programs for two of Bread for the World's mini-campaigns, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and International Food Aid, are authorized through the legislation. The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill last June. However, with seemingly no chance of leadership allowing floor time for the House Committee on Agriculture farm bill, Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley filed what is called a discharge petition. If signed by a majority of the House (218 members), it would force the House to vote on the bill. The petition had 27 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
Congress could still pass a farm bill extension before September 30 or they could let the bill expire and deal with an extension or re-authorization in the lame duck session in November/December once the outcome of the elections is clear.
On Friday, the administration released its sequestration report ($1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts that are scheduled to begin in January and last nine years), detailing how automatic cuts would be implemented. The report, well over 300 pages, provides an estimate of the percentages and dollar amounts that would be cut from every discretionary and mandatory spending account at the program, project, and activity levels, as well as a list of accounts that are exempt from cuts. The negotiated CR does not alter the path of sequestration.
The bipartisan group of Senators called the Gang of Eight continues to meet, trying to develop a comprehensive, bipartisan deficit reduction agreement that would replace the sequester with a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction, including additional tax revenues and further spending cuts. If successful in reaching a deal that Congress enacts, their proposal could determine the available funding for programs for hungry and poor people for the next 10 years. Those involved in the Gang of Eight include Senators Warner (D-VA), Durbin (D-IL) , Conrad (D-ND), Bennet (D-CO), Chambliss (R-GA), Crapo (R-ID), Coburn (R-OK), and Johanns (R-NE).
A market in Liberia. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)
by Kristen Archer.
Liberia is about the same size as Virginia, but its poverty rate is nearly quadruple that of African-Americans in that state.
“Hunger and poverty among African-Americans mirror the unjust circumstances many people in African nations endure,” said Rev. Derrick Boykin, associate for African-American leadership outreach at Bread for the World. “However, hunger and poverty impacts many African nations more severely, often resulting in disease or even death.”
Haitians build a USAID-funded irrigation canal. A rice field is at right. From the Bread for the World Institute 2011 Hunger Report. (Photo courtesy USAID)
In a New York Times opinion piece yesterday, Rev. David Beckmann wrote about how our fate is tied to poor people around the world. He describes why Americans should care about U.S. foreign assistance and why it's a great return on investment. You can read the full story below.
Our Fate Is Linked to Helping Others
by Rev. David Beckmann
This is not the time to cut back on international development assistance. For every dollar our government spends, only less than one cent (0.6 cents) is spent on foreign aid. The return on our small foreign aid investment can be measured in the millions of people we are helping throughout the world, and in our country’s economic well-being and national security.
by Keaton Andreas.
It is critical that we raise our collective voice on behalf of poor and hungry people as Congress debates funding for anti-poverty programs, which is exactly what a Bread for the World Covenant Church did this past Saturday.
Hunger was the topic of discussion this weekend at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Warr Acres, Okla. The Covenant Church hosted the forum “Fighting Hunger in Oklahoma.”
Oklahoma is the fifth hungriest state in the United States, with 47,871 families living in extreme poverty (less than $11,057 a year for a family of four) and a poverty rate for children under five of nearly 28 percent.
Fabric for sale at a Tanzania marketplace. (Racine Tucker-Hamilton/Bread for the World)
by Rev. David Beckmann
Great news for African development today! Bread for the World applauds members of Congress for their support for the renewal of the Third Country Fabric provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). AGOA seeks to increase mutually beneficial trade ties between the United States and Africa and promises to lift millions of Africans out of poverty.
Several months ago, African ambassadors met with the chairs and ranking members of the Congressional subcommittees on Africa to discuss the urgency of renewing this provision. It has come at a critical time, as declines in apparel orders (due to the uncertainty of this provision’s renewal) were already leading to job losses in several African countries.
Faustine Wabwire (left) interviewed by VOA-TV about the global impact of the U.S. drought.
by Racine Tucker-Hamilton
Wheat, corn, and soybean prices have risen more than 30 percent since mid June.
Not a big deal, you think? Well, for some families in the developing world it could mean the difference between life and death. Poor people spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food, and when there is the slightest increase in price it could mean the difference between eating and going hungry.
The current U.S. drought could have a devastating impact not only in this country but around the world. This afternoon, Faustine Wabwire—a senior foreign assistance policy analyst with Bread for the World Institute—discussed the issue with Voice of American correspondent Ndimyake Mwakalyelye. The interview will air next week on the VOA television program "In Focus."
To learn more about how the drought in the American Midwest will be felt around the world, read Wabwires's blog post “Is Another Food Crisis Brewing?”
Racine Tucker-Hamilton is media relations manager at Bread for the World.
The new Food Resource Bank T-shirt inspires Dulce Gamboa, who had an opportunity to thank many farmers at the FRB annual meeting.
by Dulce Gamboa
Well, I hadn’t had the chance to thank a farmer until I read the slogan on a Foods Resource Bank (FRB) staff T-shirt last Saturday during the FRB annual meeting in Kidron, Ohio. Thankfully, I was in a room full of farmers! It was a good reminder about the key role that they play in our daily lives.
The Foods Resource Bank connects farmers locally and globally as a Christian response to end hunger. Through community growing projects, FRB members and volunteers raise money in the United States to sustain agricultural projects overseas. The model is straightforward: farmers support farmers.
At the FRB annual meeting, farmers talked about the challenges of small-holder agriculture. Arlyn Schipper, from Iowa, explained common problems, such as excess or scarcity of water, soil erosion, and price volatility.
This year Arlyn is praying for rain on his own land. He needs five to seven inches of rain to maintain his cattle and crops, but so far has gotten only around three inches. Arlyn stressed that he will be okay even if he doesn’t get more rain, thanks to his insurance. But farmers in developing countries don’t have the same support. That is why the FRB partners with 15 organizations, like Catholic Relief Services and the Mennonite Central Committee, to make sure that small-holder farmers around the world have access to credit, new technology, and best farming practices.
Arlyn’s efforts on behalf of fellow farmers extend to Washington, DC. He has made Heart of the Hill visits to the nation's capital. This joint effort of FRB and Bread for the World fosters interaction between farmers and their members of Congress. These visits delivery two strong messages at the core of the FRB: local ownership increases the sustainability of agricultural projects overseas and U.S. farmers support an increase in productivity and sustainability by all small-holder farmers.
For example, during the FRB annual meeting, Rory Lewandowski, a Wayne County extension agent, talked about his work in Central America, where he has been working side by side with small-holder farmers. From earning their trust to implementing and adapting the latest technology under challenging environments, Rory is living proof of what farmers are doing now to end hunger in our time.
Dulce Gamboa is a project coordinator for the church relations department at Bread for the World.
Chabot-Isakson Bill Highlights Importance of Public/Private Collaboration Against Poverty
by Kristen Youngblood Archer
This week, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced the Economic Growth and Development Act (H.R. 6178/S.3495) to strengthen alignment and coordination between U.S. development programs and the private sector.
“I applaud efforts of Rep. Chabot and Sen. Isakson to promote a sustainable poverty reduction that could benefit millions of lives,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “This bill is consistent with Bread for the World’s work to improve poverty-focused development assistance, making it more effective in meeting the needs of local people.”
Both the Senate and House versions comprise a bipartisan effort to reform foreign assistance. Through better coordination among U.S. development efforts, the bill will ensure that U.S. companies participating in the fight against poverty have a designated point of engagement.
Please visit Bread’s media room to read the full press release.