ONE Campaign: Put global poverty on the platforms

Here’s a message for American readers. I got an e-mail alert from the ONE Campaign today (excerpts below), and thought I’d pass the message along.  ONE is asking its members to sign a petition asking the Republican and Democratic parties to “make the struggle to end global poverty a policy priority” and highlight it in their platforms.

Former US Senators Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), National Co-Chairs of ONE Vote ’08, “will deliver your petition to the party platform committees when they meet with them.”

Here’s the text of the petition:

As a proud American, I urge you to make ending extreme poverty and global disease in the developing world a core part of your 2008 platform by including commitments to:

  •  Prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria and improve basic health services, particularly for mothers and young children.
  • Provide access to quality primary education for 72 million out-of-school children with a special emphasis on girls.
  • Double our poverty-focused development assistance by 2012 and improve quality and effectiveness by focusing on results, partnership and coordination.
  • Promote trade and investment with Africa and other developing nations to spur long-term economic growth and eventual self-sufficiency.
  • Ensure access to clean water, basic sanitation and sufficient food supplies.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting this petition and urging all American politicians to make global poverty and healthcare a genuine priority in their campaigns and their government roles.

Sign the petition.
Join the ONE Campaign.

Here’s some text from the e-mail I got from Bill Frist and the ONE Campaign.

Last week, my friend Tom Daschle wrote to you about our trip to Rwanda. We saw the difference America is making on the ground.

We want to support continued economic growth and poverty reduction in Rwanda and across the developing world. To guarantee that, we need to make sure that the next president prioritizes investment in Rwanda and other developing nations to make extreme poverty history. […]

A great example of the difference we’re making is Rwanda’s gourmet coffee industry, where a lot of hard work by Rwandans alongside strategic support from the United States is driving robust economic growth that is lifting people out of poverty.

USAID (that’s the U.S. government, which spends your dollars), has partnered with the owner of a coffee bean “washing station.” This station purchases coffee beans (“cherries” actually) from local farmers and then they process the bean through a washing cycle that separates the beans by quality, ready for export. This simple step—which was unheard of in Rwanda before 2002—means that Rwanda captures much more of the value of its biggest export crop than it ever could in the past. Rwandan coffee farmers are more prosperous than they were before, because their product fetches a higher price on the world market. And an entirely new processing industry has sprung up, employing thousands. These specialty coffee beans are sold to Starbucks and specialty coffee shops across America.

To accommodate the burgeoning specialty coffee market, these washing stations hire about 200 women to separate and process the beans. These women’s salaries are double what they made before. They use the extra income to pay for medical care and more nutritious food for their children, not to mention school supplies, better clothes, and maybe some livestock.
This is economic development targeted at the poor—a hand-up, not a hand-out. That’s a lesson that Senator Daschle and I plan to share with our party leaders at our respective National Conventions in Denver and St. Paul, where new policy platforms will be passed.

Senator Daschle and I will bring along your signatures to the conventions and urge the party leaders to prioritize global health and anti-poverty planks in their 2008 platforms.

Help us seize this opportunity to renew America’s commitment to health, education, and entrepreneurship in the developing world during the next Administration.

This is a strategic moment in which our political leaders need to hear from all of us, loud and clear, as ONE.

Thank you for your work,

Senator Bill First, M.D.
National Co-Chair, ONE Vote ‘08


~ by h.e.g. on August 9, 2008.

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