By Patrick Lindmark, ONE U.S. Field and Campaigns
After ONE’s recent success with the Electrify Africa Act and the amazing work from our U.S. volunteers, it is time to shift focus to another important area of development in Africa: nutrition. Each year, malnutrition accounts for about 50% of global childhood deaths. With Congress beginning to make decisions on global aid funding in 2017, there could not be a more impactful time to demonstrate the importance of nutrition to legislators.
With this in mind, our volunteer leaders around the country have set out to educate their communities about global nutrition. They’re also encouraging fellow volunteers and community members to let their elected officials know that now is the time to say that a child dying or being permanently stunted for lack of adequate food is NOT okay.
Volunteer leaders across the country have planned training meetings in their communities called Nutrition Advocacy in Action events. These meetings serve as a sort of one-stop shop for all things nutrition in ONE’s field work. There are two goals: to educate teams and communities on the policy behind this issue, and to train them on the best way to have an impact.
Some volunteer leaders even dove into some of the statistics surrounding the return on investment of global nutrition programs. For example, did you know that every dollar spent on nutrition generates a return of $16 to the local economy? Or that, because poverty is sexist, around 20% of maternal deaths are linked to malnutrition?
That’s why we’re asking Congress to pledge $150 million towards the nutrition account in the FY17 budget.
The handwritten letters that our volunteer leaders are generating from their communities are a follow-up to the work that they did on Capitol Hill back in March. At the annual ONE Power Summit, ONE members spent a day on the Hill lobbying their Senators and Representatives to support an increase in funding for global nutrition programs. Already, our leaders have hosted 25 Nutrition Advocacy in Action events and delivered 1,296 handwritten cards and letters to their members of Congress requesting support for the funding of nutrition programs in 2017.
Now, it’s time to engage our most powerful tool in the fight for nutrition spending: you! Our elected officials care a lot about statistics and smart investments, but even more than that, they care about what their constituents want. That’s why we’re asking all of our ONE members, readers, and volunteers to take action.
You can sign the petition here, or contact your local volunteer leader to see when Advocacy in Action will come to your community! Is there no leader in your district? Volunteer to become a Congressional District Leader or to host a Nutrition Advocacy in Action event and help us make nutrition a priority for United States legislators.