2008 Campaigns: RESULTS Activists Nationwide Tackling Poverty at Home and Abroad in 2008
RESULTS Activists Nationwide Tackling Poverty at Home and Abroad in 2008
February 2008 — Every day, the media are filled with stories of poverty, disease, hunger, and injustice. For many Americans who do not have to think about whether or not their children will live to see their fifth birthday, or who take for granted that they will be able to see a doctor when they get sick, or who don’t have to worry about putting food on the table, these problems can seem too overwhelming to address. Whether poverty occurs in the slums of Nairobi or the foothills of Appalachia, it can be easier to turn away, and think that the problems are too big, too complex, for any one person to make a difference.
The citizen volunteers and partners of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund know that this is not true. Supported by a core staff in Washington, DC, ordinary people in over 100 communities across the country are refusing to turn away, and are joining forces with their elected representatives and community leaders to end poverty and hunger worldwide and here at home. In 2008, RESULTS activists will advocate for increased funding and political attention for fighting global tuberculosis and other diseases of poverty, providing access to health care for all in the U.S. and in poor countries, funding microcredit programs for the world’s poorest people, providing nutrition to hungry Americans, ensuring basic education for children around the world, instituting fair tax policies for Americans trying to work their way out of poverty, and urging the International Monetary Fund to not impose policies on desperately poor countries that limit the hiring of needed teachers and health workers.
RESULTS is a nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization committed to creating the political will to end hunger and the worst aspects of poverty by empowering individuals to lobby elected officials for effective solutions and key policies that affect hunger and poverty. RESULTS Educational Fund (REF) is committed to educating the public, the media, and leaders about issues related to poverty and hunger in the United States and abroad through public forums, trainings, briefings for journalists, and quality oversight research to determine the effectiveness of programs intended to assist poor people. Founded in 1980 by Sam Daley-Harris, RESULTS/REF has achieved much in its 28-year history, including
- In 1990, RESULTS organized Candlelight Vigils to publicize the World Summit for Children. More than 1 million people participated in over 500 U.S. locations and in 74 other countries to bring media attention and public and political support for achieving the goals of the Summit.
- In 1995, RESULTS fought to preserve funding for child health efforts globally and other global health priorities. Congress created a Child Survival and Diseases Account within the foreign aid budget specifically to protect and support these programs, providing $300 million for child survival – more than in any previous year.
- In 1997, RESULTS Educational Fund convened the first global Microcredit Summit, launching a campaign to reach 100 million of the world’s poorest families, especially the women of those families, with credit for self-employment and other business and financial services by the year 2005. Over 2900 people from 137 countries attended. Today, that goal of reaching 100 million of the world’s poorest families has been achieved.
- RESULTS has been a strong advocate for Head Start — a key federal program providing quality early childhood development services to low-income families. In 2003, President Bush formally proposed giving the jurisdiction of Head Start to individual states, a move that would have endangered the comprehensive nature of Head Start’s service. RESULTS led an aggressive advocacy and media outreach effort that ultimately resulted in legislation signed into law in December 2007 that not only maintains federal-to-local oversight, but expands access for infants and toddlers and improves program quality.
- In December 2004, REF and partners launched a global tuberculosis advocacy campaign to address this ancient disease that today remains the biggest curable infectious killer of adults on the planet. The project, Advocacy to Control Tuberculosis Internationally (ACTION), is using education, research advocacy and innovative partnerships across countries to mobilize increased financial resources from wealthy nations and to overcome key policy constraints in countries with a high burden of TB so that the world can more effectively tackle this disease.
“Our volunteers are not only tremendously dedicated to fighting poverty, they are also incredibly well-informed,” says RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Executive Director Christine Naylor. “They don’t just stand for these issues. They live and breathe them every day. RESULTS activists will take on an impressive set of ambitious campaigns this year. But when it comes to making what seems impossible possible, our staff and volunteers are more than equal to the task. Too many Americans fail to recognize the power they have to make a positive change in the world. Our volunteers not only recognize that power, they’re not afraid to use it.”
For more information on RESULTS and on RESULTS Educational Fund’s educational and research efforts, please visit www.results.org.
RESULTS Global Campaigns 2008
Child Survival: Despite the existence of cost-effective and proven interventions, more than 26,000 children under five still die every day from largely treatable and preventable causes. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in just 42 poor countries. Funding for maternal and child health programs falls far short of the need and resources are not being effectively invested in priority countries or measurable outcomes. This year, RESULTS staff and volunteers will work to:
- Strengthen transparency, reporting and oversight of child survival funding to ensure allocations among and within countries reach populations most in need.
- Increase funding for child survival and maternal health programs, including UNICEF’s critical efforts.
- Support the passage of the U.S. Commitment to Global Child Survival Act.
Tuberculosis and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: In five years, the Global Fund has grown to be the largest international funder for TB and malaria programs worldwide and a major source of AIDS funding, with a rigorous, results-based focus. Funding will need to triple in the next several years to maximize the Global Fund’s contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Tuberculosis, more than any other major infectious disease, is both a consequence and cause of poverty. Unlike AIDS and malaria, the U.S. has failed to launch a major initiative to address this killer. In 2008, RESULTS will work to:
- Increase funding for global TB control programs and the Global Fund to provide the U.S. “fair share” of need.
- Ensure enactment of the Stop TB Now Act to align U.S. TB policy and funding with the Global Plan to Stop TB.
- Work within the reauthorization of the U.S. global AIDS initiative to increase resources directed through the Global Fund and strengthen and expand TB-HIV efforts and sustainable support for affected countries.
- Sustain pressure on the World Bank to increase investment in TB programs in Africa.
Microcredit is a successful, cost-effective tool to help the very poor (those living on less than $1 a day) lift themselves out of poverty and improve the lives of their families. Despite a strong history of proven accomplishments, sustainable microcredit for the very poor has not been a central focus of U.S. foreign aid or World Bank pro-poor development assistance. Working in conjunction with the Microcredit Summit Campaign (a project of REF), staff and volunteers will work to:
- Increase congressional pressure to fully implement the 2004 Microenterprise Results and Accountability Act directing half of microenterprise development assistance to the very poor.
- Increase appropriations for microfinance and microenterprise development programs, ensuring half of the funding for the very poor.
- Increase congressional pressure on the World Bank to increase its microfinance lending, directing at least half to the very poor.
Education for All
Congress has increased funding for basic education from $103 million in 2001 to $694 million in 2008. Despite this increase, current investments have not been targeted toward removing barriers — such as school fees — for the more than 77 million primary school aged children currently out of school around the world, nor to supporting countries’ national education plans. RESULTS will work to strengthen congressional oversight of basic education funding to ensure U.S. programs support Fast Track Initiative country plans and enable the abolition of school fees.
The economic policies set up through International Monetary Fund programs too often result in budget caps on public investment in health and education. Poor countries have little choice but to implement IMF programs, as the World Bank and most donor governments require them as a prerequisite for providing development loans or assistance. These budget caps limit resources to hire and train health workers and teachers. RESULTS staff and volunteers will continue to build congressional and public pressure on the IMF to lift policies that restrict poor countries ability to invest in health and education.
RESULTS Domestic Campaigns 2008
RESULTS’ top priority for next year will be a broad, public education effort to educate and mobilize members of our own communities and raising health care for all by 2010 as a serious issue in the 2008 elections, focused on congressional races. RESULTS has endorsed the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) call for a system of universal health care by 2010 based on five guiding principles: Health care coverage should be universal, continuous, affordable for individuals and families, sustainable, effective, efficient, timely, patient-centered and equitable. Across the country, RESULTS chapters will be hosting events to mobilize others in their community on the need for health care for all Americans.
RESULTS staff and volunteers will also work to eliminate disparities in health, by supporting the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2007 (H.R.3014) sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA). The bill would improve the health and health care of racial and ethnic minorities by means of promoting cultural and linguistic competency in the medical profession; offering grants to improve access to health information technology in underserved communities; enhancing diversity in the health care workforce; supporting research initiatives to improve data collection, analysis and reporting; strengthening health services in community and rural health centers, promoting environmental justice and enforcing accountability.
RESULTS will also build on our 2007 campaign to expand children’s health coverage by supporting efforts to strengthen the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
RESULTS is committed to seeing that Congress enacts a Farm Bill that provides an adequate safety net of support and resources for those living in hunger and poverty, and redirects efforts and resources to addressing rural development needs both at home and abroad. The House and Senate both passed Farm Bill legislation in 2007 and in the coming months, RESULTS staff and volunteers advocate for these priorities in the final negotiations:
- The Farm Bill must include a strong Nutrition Title that reauthorizes and improves the Food Stamp Program by improving the adequacy of food stamp benefits by raising the benefit amounts to reflect realistic food costs and ensuring access to healthier foods, expanding eligibility for food stamp benefits by raising or eliminating asset limits and removing benefit restrictions on childless adults and legal immigrants who have been in the U.S. less than five years, and expanding food stamp outreach and education efforts to increase participation and promote healthy nutrition.
- Ensure adequate resources for rural development by enacting meaningful reform to the commodity payment system so that it meets current needs, i.e. providing support to farmers and communities most in need, fostering healthy rural development and reducing rural poverty in the U.S. and around the world.
RESULTS will work to ensure that all Americans have a path out of poverty by backing legislation to significantly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit while ensuring that any tax bills in 2008 do not increase the deficit. Staff and volunteers will work to ensure passage of Savings for Working Families Act, and the scale-up of Individual Development Accounts.