Global Weekly Update July 11, 2011


July 11, 2011

Easiest Ask You’ll Make: Microfinance Letter Closes Thursday, July 14

Congratulations on the amazing work so far to get 70 representatives to sign a letter Reps Rush (D-IL), Smith (R-NJ), and Payne (D-NJ) are circulating in the House to USAID on microfinance. The closing date is extended until Thursday, July 14, and there is a companion fact sheet available to help you talk about the letter.

The letter, to be sent to USAID, requests information that will strengthen congressional oversight of microfinance programs. It focuses on USAID’s failure to direct at least half of microfinance assistance to the very poor as well as directing additional resources to women, sub-Saharan Africa, and savings-led approaches. Rep. Smith is the Chair and Rep. Payne is the Ranking Member of the Africa and Global Health Subcommittee (of the House Foreign Affairs Committee), so their leadership on this issue is very exciting.

Current signers (70): Baldwin (D-WI), Berkley (D-NV), Berman (D-CA), Bishop (D-GA), Bordallo (D-GU), Blumenauer (D-OR), Brown (D-FL), Capuano (D-MA), Castor (D-FL), Carter (R-TX), Carson (D-IN), Christensen (D-VI), Connolly (D-VA), Conyers (D-MI), Clarke (D-NY), Davis S. (D-CA), De Fazio (D-OR), Doyle (D-PA), Grijalva (D-AZ), Ellison (D-MN), Eshoo (D-CA), Farr (D-CA), Flores, B. (R-TX), Fudge (D-OH), Filner (D-CA), Hastings (D-FL), Heinrich (D-NM), Holt (D-NJ), Grijalva (D-AZ), Green, G. (D-TX), Honda (D-HI), Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Larsen (D-WA), Lee (D-CA), Lewis J. (D-GA), Lofgren (D-CA), Lujan (D-NM), Markey (D-MA), Matheson (D-UT), McDermott (D-WA), Miller, G. (D-CA), Miller, B. (D-NC), Moran (D-VA), Olver (D-MA), Payne (D-NJ), Peters (D-MI), Peterson (D-MN), Rangel (D-NY), Richardson (D-CA), Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rothman (D-NJ), Ruppersberger (D-MD), Rush (D-IL), Ryan (D-OH), Schakowsky (D-IL), Schrader (D-OR), Sires (D-NJ), Smith (D-WA), Smith (R-NJ), Speier (D-CA), Shuler (D-NC), Towns (D-NY), Wilson (D-FL), Woolsey (D-CA), Wu (D-OR), Yarmuth (D-KY), Young (R-AK), Young (R-IN).

Can we get to 100?

Take Action: Budget Balancing on Backs of the Poorest Is Not One of Our Values

We all understand that the US government needs to have a more balanced budget. Balancing a budget involves looking at both revenue and expense sides of the equation so that one side doesn’t outweigh the other. But what some in Congress are proposing is to balance only by cutting the expense side of the equation and to cut programs for those who can’t afford big changes to their personal budgets. They also want to dramatically cut life-saving foreign aid programs that represent only about 1% of the overall budget and, ultimately, have little effect on our deficit. If budgets are moral documents, then we should be embarrassed by what is being proposed.

Congress needs to know that we want them to use a balanced approach to the budget and that effective poverty-focused programs should be exempt from cuts. They also need to know that we oppose arbitrary budget ceilings and triggers. Call and/or write to your senators about this issue now using these tools:

Protecting Families in Poverty Action Alert

July Global Action Sheet

Now Accepting Grassroots Board Nominations!

A word from Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate and former board member:

I ran for the board in 2009 because I felt empowered and encouraged by RESULTS in every aspect of my volunteering. I thought my experiences as a RESULTS volunteer and group leader, my age demographic, and my perspective of working on other boards and groups could bring in a unique viewpoint. But, mainly, I just knew that I wanted to offer everything I could to this remarkable organization. Grassroots involvement is the secret sauce in the recipe of RESULTS’ success. It’s important that we have empowered partners involved at every level, from local partners to the regional coordinators to the Board of Directors.

We are seeking nominations for two RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Grassroots Board Members to serve for a term of three years and represent the volunteer body on the Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee of the board. Grassroots board members provide a particular bridge between the grassroots network, board decisions, and organizational priorities. Members meet frequently by teleconference and are in communication via e-mail and telephone calls, must be able to participate at this level, and are expected to chair or serve on a Board Committee. The full board meets at least yearly face-to-face. We are encouraging participation from diverse populations including youth, young adults and racial and ethnic minorities. Active volunteers may nominate other active volunteers for this position. Please forward names and phone numbers of any nominees to Jamila White-Bandah, by July 25, 2011. Please feel free to contact the RESULTS office at (202) 783-7100 if you have any questions.

July Conference Call Highlights Microfinance for Reaching Poorest

We had a great conference call this past Saturday, July 9. The president of Freedom From Hunger, Chris Dunford, joined us as guest speaker on the call. Dunford gave a wonderful account of the power of microfinance for reaching the very poor and underlined how critical RESULTS’ efforts have been in assuring that those who can benefit most have access to microfinance. He talked about how the “engineers” of microfinance programs at USAID talk about how “impossible” it is to reach the poorest and yet are the same people who ultimately design the systems to do the impossible. It is the work of RESULTS to push them to design what we all know is challenging but worth pursuing because it is the right thing to do, and in the end, is doable.

Jen Maurer, Senior Legislative Associate, gave an account of our work on the microfinance sign on letter to USAID (70 signers as of 7/13). She challenged us to gather 100 signers by 7/14 to send a strong message to USAID that they must comply with the 2004 microfinance law that requires them to invest 50 percent of U.S. microfinance dollars in programs that reach the very poor. Call your representative and ask him/her to sign on. Jen also gave us an overview of our legislative calendar for the coming months which will focus heavily on education and microfinance.

Also on the call, we had 6 great grassroots shares about the International Conference. The shares were powerful and gave one a true sense of what it’s like to be in DC changing the world.

Find a recording of the conference call on our blog, in our grassroots multi-media section of the website, or on iTunes (allow a day or so if you don’t find it right away on iTunes).

The issue we are facing is not a budget deficit, it is a values deficit.

— Marian Wright Edelman, speaking to the RESULTS International Conference on June 20, 2011

July 12: Release of Education for All campaign report entitled Make It Right: Ending the Crisis in Girls’ Education.

August 8–September 5: Congressional recess (a great time for a face-to-face meeting with your legislator back in your district)

August 13: Global Conference Call. 2:00 pm ET. (888) 409-6709.

September 10: Global Conference Call. 2:00 pm ET. (888) 409-6709

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