As a member organization for the global development sector in the state of Washington, we urge you to speak out against further cuts to the national budget for diplomacy and foreign assistance. Every day our members are tirelessly devoting their energy and resources to improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable citizens. We hear their stories about positive changes they have seen—villages accessing clean water, poor women starting their own businesses, children exploring the world through quality education, people receiving simple vaccinations for deadly but preventable diseases. Positive change does not happen by accident. Yet, even simple solutions make a difference. A five dollar mosquito net may be all that is necessary to prevent a child from contracting malaria. It cost $100 million to eradicate smallpox—only a fraction of $1.3 billion that we now save annually thanks to the elimination of the disease.
Our members have experienced firsthand the difference that thoughtful and deliberate investment can make in addressing global problems. That is why most of our members support continued funding for poverty alleviation and global health. Because they are already doing all they can, but more help is still needed. Because these dollars DO make a difference. Because reduced funding means 370,000 people will not be able to get tested and treated for TB. Because continued funding will allow us to virtually eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015. Because investment in global development creates a more stable and prosperous world for everyone.
In the U.S., we have a voice in how we want our tax dollars to be spent. Global Washington’s Board President and Washington State representatives Adam Smith and Jim McDermott have submitted an op-ed to the Seattle Times expressing their support for these programs. Other influential thought leaders have also gone on record in support of continued funding for international development, including Senator John Kerry ; former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe; Richard Stearns, President of the Christian relief and development organization, World Vision; and countless others from the development sector and beyond. Will you do the same? Let your elected representatives know that even in a difficult economic climate, you still support programs that help the most vulnerable in the world.
Sample text to use when contacting your representative:
I am writing to request that you protect the International Affairs Budget, and the investments in programs to help keep our country safe and grow our economy here at home. I recognize the very real budget constraints facing our nation and Washington and the difficult funding decisions you face. As you grapple with these constraints, however, I urge you to ensure a strong and effective International Affairs Budget and to oppose deep cuts to these programs.
Now is not the time to diminish or abandon America’s leadership around the world – or to cut programs that save money and lives by preventing conflict and instability from developing in the first place. As you know, a small investment in International Affairs programs builds more stable, democratic societies overseas and keeps us safe in the long run. There is strong bipartisan support for the International Affairs Budget, and broad support here in Washington, including the business, military, and faith communities.
We need your continued support to save these programs from deep cuts. I urge you to ensure a strong and effective International Affairs Budget in FY2011 and FY2012. As you know, these programs are essential to building a more stable, peaceful and prosperous world.