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Summary of 2004 Successes
Ending Poverty Around the World
In 2004, RESULTS global volunteers met face-to-face with 34 representatives and 8 senators to urge action on a range of issues to address poverty worldwide. In addition volunteers had hundreds of meetings with congressional staff in their districts and in Washington DC. In 2004, global activists also generated 41 newspaper editorials, 18 feature articles, 42 op-ed pieces, 102 letters to the editor and 24 radio pieces on our issues, and sent hundreds of letters to members of Congress every month.
Access to Credit for the Very Poor
What We Did: In September 2004, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and five other members of Congress met with Mark Malloch Brown, the administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to press for increased investment in microcredit (beyond 3 percent of its budget) and ensure that the very poor are prioritized.
At the end of 2004, following the tsunami that devastated countries from Somalia to Thailand, RESULTS began advocating for a portion of this disaster relief money to be earmarked for microcredit. Microcredit will enable, as it has already done for millions, those affected to have the security of long term investment and access to financial services as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
Legislative Outcomes: In 2004 RESULTS global volunteers helped collect 81 cosponsors on the Microenterprise Results and Accountability Act of 2004. This legislation (H.R.3818) was passed and signed into law (Public Law No: 108-484) in December of 2004.
Following on the 2003 introduction and passage of microenterprise legislation (H.R.192), which requires USAID to work to better ensure the very poor are reached with microcredit and other services, this bill provides further landmark reforms of USAID’s microenterprise program: 1) helping ensure that more money actually reaches programs in the field serving large numbers of very poor clients — rather than the growing priority given to for-profit contractors 2) setting aside a pot of money for support of effective microfinance networks and NGOs and 3) the legislation also reinforces the development and use of poverty measurement tools, to ensure that funds are in fact reaching the very poor.
In the final foreign aid funding bill $200 million was appropriated for microcredit, in addition to strong language that calls for increased resources going to effective microcredit networks.
Other Outcomes: The Microcredit Summit Campaign, a project of RESULTS Educational Fund, reported in its 2004 State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report that more than 80 million people have now been reached with microcredit, and 54.8 million are among the poorest of the world’s people, defined as those living on less then $1 a day. The campaign reported that it is on track to meet the goal of reaching 100 million of the world’s poorest families by 2005 with credit and other business services.
At the end of the year, with new legislation and the fabulous progress of the Microcredit Summit Campaign, RESULTS looked forward to 2005, which has been designated by the United Nations as the International Year of Microcredit!
Eliminating School Fees
What We Did: RESULTS was closely involved in developing the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2004. The bill included an authorization for the first U.S. foreign aid funding to support the elimination of school fees — which are major barriers to education for AIDS orphans, girls and other poor children.
Legislative Outcomes: Although the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2004 did not become law, due to the momentum created, Congress did appropriate $15 million for a pilot project to help countries scale up after they eliminate school fees, to allow millions more children in school.
Other Outcomes: RESULTS continued its work and deepened its investment in the Global Action for Children Campaign (GAC), which was created to marshal the political will and financial resources to ensure, through community-based solutions, that all children have access to health care, education, food and nutrition and life-saving medicines.
Global Health: Tuberculosis and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
What We Did: The global health media generated by RESULTS grassroots activists around the country continued to raise public awareness of and support for international TB control programs and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. RESULTS continued to work with high level experts, allies and activists. As part of this, RESULTS Educational Fund hosted several telephone press briefings.
In May, RESULTS Educational Fund released a new report, Integrating HIV/AIDS and TB Efforts: The Challenge for the President’s AIDS Initiative. Coauthored by RESULTS Educational Fund and the Open Society Institute, it assessed the state of TB-HIV co-infection in the 14 countries targeted by President Bush’s new AIDS initiative (PEPFAR). (The report was released before a 15th country, Vietnam, was added.) The report articulated the reasons why PEPFAR will not be able to effectively address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the target countries without scaling up efforts to combat tuberculosis.
Legislative Outcomes: House and Senate Foreign Operations Subcommittees each provided $85 million for 2005 bilateral TB control programs, the same level of funding as 2004. With a tight budget and the Bush administration prioritizing the war on terror and the war in Iraq, RESULTS was pleased that the House and Senate Appropriations Committee resisted any cuts to TB programs. Additionally, Representatives Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) worked together to offer an amendment to the Foreign Operations bill, which would direct USAID to increase resources for the Global TB Drug Facility (GDF), which currently receives only $3 million from USAID. In return for them not offering the amendment, Chairman Kolbe agreed to work with them on this effort. Earlier in the year, Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ), Smith (R-OR) and Durbin (D-IL) initiated letters to USAID in support of increased funding to the GDF, as did Representatives Brown and Leach (R-IA).
The final Foreign Operations bill included $200 million for infectious diseases (TB and malaria) an increase of $15 million, with $85 million for TB. Thanks to the work of Representatives Wilson and Brown, USAID is further expected to increase funding for the Global TB Drug Facility.
The House Foreign Operations bill provided $400 million to Global Fund for 2005, the same level as for 2004. The Senate Foreign Operations bill also provided $400 million (however $150 million of this was by amendment as emergency spending, and unfortunately, was later eliminated). In the end, FY ‘05 funding for the Global Fund was as follows: $250 million in the Foreign Operations appropriations bill, plus $100 million in the Labor Health and Human Services (Labor HHS) appropriations bill and $88 million rolled over from 2004.The total of these funds is $438 million.
Other Outcomes: At the end of 2004, RESULTS Educational Fund announced it had received a three-year, $6.67 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for international TB advocacy. The grant will be focusing its efforts in 4 donor countries — the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Japan, working to mobilize financial resources for the elimination of TB globally. In addition, the grant will work in three countries with a high burden of TB — Kenya, India and Indonesia — to identify and work to overcome key policy constraints to expanding DOTS (basic TB treatment) coverage. Although this grant was preceded by rigorous months of researching, writing and planning by RESULTS staff, it arrives largely as a recognition of RESULTS international health advocacy work over the years.
Ending Poverty in the U.S.
In 2004, RESULTS domestic activists met face-to-face with 25 representatives and eight senators to discuss issues relating to hunger and poverty in the United States. In addition, 57 domestic volunteers attended the RESULTS Educational Fund International Conference in Washington DC for intensive education, training and lobbying. RESULTS domestic groups also organized at least 64 outreach meetings and through these added 43 partners to their groups. Activists participated in 12 national conference calls for training and education with an average attendance of 90 people from around the country. Domestic activists and staff generated six feature articles and 31 letters to the editor. Activists sent thousands of letters and generated hundreds of calls to their members of Congress.
What we did: Recognizing that access to health care is a huge barrier for over 45 million uninsured Americans, including 9 million children, in 2004 we launched a multi-year advocacy campaign to provide quality health care for all, by educating others and ourselves in our communities. RESULTS activists and staff started educating themselves on health care and how lack of quality and affordable health care for all causes and deepens poverty for millions of American families. The experts at Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, published a report in January 2004 recommending universal health insurance coverage by 2010.
In addition to our education and outreach around health care issues, we fought attempts in Congress to cut important health programs such as Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In the fall RESULTS activists participated 2004 Affordable Health Care for All Campaign, sponsoring more than 21 public education events in their local communities and building our network of local allies.
Outcomes: RESULTS worked with a broad coalition and helped defeat budget proposals that would have led to even more tax cuts and health cutbacks. The House also rejected harmful budget process rules that could have led to cuts to Medicaid and SCHIP. A bipartisan bill to restore $1.07 billion of expiring unused SCHIP funds stalled, but early in 2005 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources announced they will redistribute $643 million in unspent SCHIP funds, helping 28 states avoid funding shortfalls in 2005.
Most important, in 2004 we built momentum for future work on health care for all, including connections and participation in community-based coalitions and a deeper understanding of health policy.
Asset Strategies to End Poverty
What we did: RESULTS has long been a staunch advocate for effective initiatives to support low-income families in building assets in addition to income supports. We advocated for two of these initiatives, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and children’s savings accounts (also called KIDS accounts). IDAs are special matched savings accounts that provide qualifying participants the opportunity to save for home ownership, education, or business capital. A provision to expand IDAs to 300,000 families was included in a Senate bill called the CARE Act, which passed the Senate 95-5 in 2003. We sought to have this provision included in legislation approved by both houses of Congress.
The bipartisan ASPIRE Act, introduced in Congress in July 2004, will provide every U.S. child, at birth, a savings (KIDS) account that will provide millions of American children with security and opportunity. RESULTS volunteers educated their members of Congress and the media about this legislation in order to build momentum for passage in the 109th Congress.
Outcomes: The House and Senate were unable to agree on a compromise charitable bill, so the CARE Act will be reintroduced in 2005. Congress did appropriate $24.9 million for 2005 continuation of an IDA demonstration program under the Assets for Independence Act.
The sponsors of the ASPIRE Act did not expect it to be passed in 2004 and will reintroduce it in 2005.
Early Childhood Education
What we did: We continued our long-term strategy to break the cycle of poverty by expanding and improving early childhood education programs, including Head Start and funding for child care.
Head Start was scheduled to be reauthorized in 2003. RESULTS volunteers worked to expand and improve the quality of Head Start and opposed efforts to dismantle it over the past two years. We worked to highlight the dangers of shifting oversight of Head Start to the states, focusing on the dangers of losing the comprehensive services, including health and dental screenings, nutrition and parental involvement, essential to the success of Head Start for the past 38 years.
The mandatory funding of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is included in legislation authorizing the welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The 1996 TANF law, which was to have been reauthorized in 2001, was “temporarily” extended into 2003. RESULTS activists urged their members of Congress to significantly increase mandatory CCDBG funding in the TANF bill.
Outcomes: Proposals to dismantle the Head Start program and replace it with state-run programs were averted, as there was no House-Senate agreement on a policy bill. The program was continued under previous law until spring 2005.
When the TANF bill came to the Senate floor, a remarkable number of senators voted for the Snowe-Dodd amendment for substantially increased mandatory funding for the child care block grant. The amendment passed by 78-20 and RESULTS volunteers played a substantial role over the past few years in building bipartisan support for child care. In the end, the two houses were unable to reach a compromise on the underlying welfare legislation, so this matter also carried over to the new Congress.