Advocacy Update: Reaching Every Mother and Child
As September and Fall comes upon us, and we think of sending kids back to school, it is hard not to think of mothers and children around the world – mothers who are too young, children who may not live to see their first day of kindergarten, let alone their first birthday, and girls who dream of reading, writing, and arithmetic while they work in a garment factory.
The positive news is, we are not powerless. We have faith, prayers, and we have our voice!
The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015
On July 30, just before the Senate went on recess, Senator Collins of Maine and Senator Coons of Delaware introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 (S.1911). This bill will help bring simple, proven, cost-effective interventions to the countries and people who need them most. To do so, this legislation will help coordinate a U.S. strategy that is effective and transparent, as well as set goals that are ambitious but achievable, to make sure mothers and children are not forgotten. While introducing the bill on the Senate floor, Senator Coons said –
“Some doubt that we can make a lasting and meaningful impact on the poorest of the poor in the developing world. Over the past 25 years, we have cut in half the number of mothers and children under 5 who die (from) illnesses associated with childbirth. We face challenges, but progress is a telling sign of what happens when we come together and apply effective interventions.”
Over the past 25 years, Women of Vision have been a part of this meaningful impact and you can continue to do so by advocating for the Reach Act. Mobilize your chapters and circles in the following ways!
- If someone is new to advocacy, have them email their Senator and ask them to cosponsor the bill. It will make a difference, and they will realize how easy advocacy is.
- At your next meeting, encourage everyone to call your Senators. You can all even pull out your phones and do it right there, together (it is okay to leave a voicemail)! As few as 10 phone calls in one date can cause a Senator to take notice of an issue. Be sure to log your calls so our team in D.C., knows to follow up!
- Consider writing a letter to the editor of your local paper. Personalize your letter if you can. Make it relevant to your city and try to mention your Senators. You can work on this as a group. Here is an example from Women of Vision in Austin.
The next step for this bill is to gain cosponsors and for a House version to be introduced. We will keep you updated!
ILAB (child labor)
ILAB stands for the International Labor Affairs Bureau, a small branch at the United States Department of Labor, and the reason we are talking about it is because it has a fantastic program that issues grants to fight child labor through education with a proven track record of success – since 1995 1.7 million children have been rescued from child labor through programs funded by these grants.
However, in the U.S. budget proposal for FY 16, funding for this program was zeroed out – from 59 million last year, to no funding at all for 2016.
85 million children around the world are not where they should be, instead they are working in dirty and degrading jobs, such as on fishing boats, in brick factories, as housemaids. 5.5 million are in forced labor, including sex trafficking. This is not the time to cut successful programs. 59 million dollars is a large amount of money, but in comparison to the total United States budget it is so small, it is difficult to put into words (less than half, of a half, of a half, of a half, of a half…of 1 %).
ILAB is a small department, as are these grant programs. This is one of those cases with advocacy where you may need to educate your members of Congress. They may not know that these cuts are happening or be aware of what happens in this department. Your email can raise awareness, and could even create a champion.
If you would like to go one step further and join our ILAB call-in day on September 8, sign up below.
Lastly, we want to say thank you to everyone who has been having in-district meetings this August. We appreciate everything you do!advocacy update