Last week, ONE members and concerned constituents met with Michael Lowry, Legislative Director for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. We’re grateful that Congressman Cantor has always been willing to listen to those who care deeply about sustainable agriculture and the fight against poverty, HIV/AIDS, and preventable diseases. We’ve definitely noticed the quick response we get to our letters!
A highlight of our meeting was sharing pictures from St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church’s mission in South Africa. I explained how critical PEPFAR is to the lives of millions of children, including the orphans we’re helping. If the United States continues to lead on PEPFAR and the Global Fund, we could ensure that no child is born with HIV by 2015. Having seen so many innocent children affected by this disease, it’s amazing to think that this reality is now within our grasp.
The folks who have seen our mission in action have also seen how important nutrition is to these growing children. One in three children under 5 in Sub-Saharan Africa are stunted from chronic malnutrition. We want to make sure that smart agriculture plans are placing an emphasis on nutritious foods, like the sweet potato, as a critical part of food security. Through Feed the Future, America is actually helping farmers grow more food and achieve economic independence, so they can feed their families, make a living, send their kids to school and escape poverty.
We talked at length about how PEPFAR, the Global Fund, PMI, GAVI and Feed the Future are critical components of overall US foreign policy and support our national security and economic interests worldwide. We look forward to working with Congressman Cantor to ensure America’s leadership in the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.
-Lee Williams, ONE member