The following blog post was written by AIDemocracy member and Cornell student Ashley Binetti. She attended the 2010 CARE National Conference in Washington, D.C. with the AIDemocracy delegation.

One thing I love about Care’s national conferences is that they combine education with advocacy.  Participants are able to attend workshops on a plethora of humanitarian issues, and then take their knowledge to the Hill.  This year’s conference focused on food security, protecting mothers and preventing child marriage.  I chose to focus my lobbying efforts on chronic hunger.

Secretary Clinton made an address during the opening plenary, and her message about nutrition struck a cord.  She noted that malnutrition has adverse affects on education, health and the economies of developing nations.  We also heard experts assert that chronic hunger is a development problem, and it isn’t going to disappear with a quick fix.  Shipping food from the United States to developing countries has proven unsuccessful time and again.  These shipments are costly and depress market prices, hurting farmers who are already struggling.  A simple switch to supporting local/regional programs would eliminate these undesirable costs.

While speaking with congressmen in Washington, we specifically tried to garner support for The Global Food Security Act (H.R. 3077/S. 384).  This resolution would create a Special Coordinator for Global Food Security, emphasize a multi-sector approach, increase research on sustainable technology by partnering with universities, and create a Rapid Response Food Crises Fund.  It is fantastic step in combating chronic hunger.  However, because this bill involves appropriating funds for development assistance, some congressmen have hesitated to endorse it.  Debating this issue during our meetings on the Hill, I argued that reorienting our spending, even in this economic climate, is a moral necessity.  Every five seconds a child dies from hunger-related complications (www.bread.org).  These are preventable deaths: this is an outrage.

Call or e-mail (or visit!) your Senators and Representatives today.  If they are co-sponsors, thank them for their support and ask them to energize their fellow congressmen to join in the fight.  If they are not co-sponsors, ask them to support this basic human right by becoming a co-sponsor.

More information (including text and a list of co-sponsors) on H.R. 3077 can be found on the Library of Congress website: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c111:1:./temp/~c111dGPA1N:e25275

For S. 384 visit:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:SN00384:|/bss/111search.html

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