Today was Day 1 of CARE’s National Conference and Celebration.  Each year, roughly 400 500 CARE supporters from around the country gather in Washington, DC to hear the latest news from the field, learn more about pending legislation, celebrate together and take to the Hill to exercise our civil rights and let Congress know that eradicating global poverty is important to American citizens.

Tomorrow we tackle three issues:

  1. Fighting global hunger and modernizing our approach to food security
  2. Tackling climate change and reducing its impact on the world’s poor
  3. Protecting and empowering girls by preventing child marriage.

Believe it or not, all three issues are interrelated.  At climate change increases water scarcity and descreases agricultural productivity in places like Africa, food security becomes a serious issue for poor families.  Fathers faced with difficult economic decisions are more likely to marry their daughters at a young age to reduce household economic strain or repay a debt.

So, we are asking the US government to do four things:

  1. Make deep, immediate, mandatory cuts in US gas emissions.
  2. Provide substantial new funding to help developing countries adapt and keep those least responsible for climate change from suffering its harshest effects.
  3. Implement a comprehensive plan to combat global hunger–one that tackles its root causes by increasing funding for locally purchased food, in-country agricultural production and quicker emergency response.
  4. Develop a multi-year strategy to prevent child marriage in developing countries, requiring the Department of State to address child marriage in its annual Human Rights Report, integrate child marriage prevention strategies throughout US foreign policy, and scale up successful approaches to prevent child marriage.

If you are not in DC, but would like to support our efforts tomorrow, you can contact your respresentatives using CARE online advocacy tools at http://www.care.org/getinvolved/advocacy/index.asp#part3.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing singer/songwriter/social activist, Michael Franti, of Michael Franti & Spearhead this morning about his travels, his politicized lyrics, and his recent decision to join CARE as a CARE ambassador.  Stay tuned to the AIDemocracy website for that video coming soon!

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