Save the Children Says President’s Budget Makes Smart Investments in Children

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Humanitarian Organization Urges Congress to Fully Fund Request for the Sake of Prosperity and Global Stability

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Tanya Weinberg: 202.640.6647 (W); 202.247.6610 (M)

WASHINGTON, D.C (Feb. 14, 2011)
Save the Children commended President Obama for proposing a budget that maintains his commitment to lifesaving humanitarian and development assistance and wisely invests in the future by investing in children, here and abroad.

“When times are tough, some say we should cut back on overseas initiatives and focus instead at home. In fact, when the United States invests in helping vulnerable children in poor countries grow up healthy and educated, it’s helping build a better and more secure world for American children as well,” said Charles MacCormack, President and CEO of Save the Children.

“At the same time, the president’s budget makes critical investments in our nation’s long-term future by supporting programs that help all American children have access to quality education, including those children in rural communities whose needs have been overlooked,” MacCormack said.

Analysis: Foreign Aid

The budget clearly recognizes the important role that aid to poorer countries plays in advancing U.S. national security, noting the direct link between providing opportunities for people around the world and building stable societies. It also makes the connection between U.S. economic interests and economic growth around the world, noting that investments in developing countries’ economies are critical to creating markets for U.S. exports, Save the Children noted.

“Is there any doubt that America’s fate is tied to global stability and economic growth? No, so we must help ensure opportunities for children and families abroad that create these. We’re not only saving lives, we’re making a down payment on our own future,” MacCormack said.

In September 2010, the President released the first-ever U.S. Global Development Policy, which elevated development within U.S. foreign policy and set forth a series of reforms to make U.S. development more effective, efficient and accountable — including partnering more effectively with countries receiving aid and building their local capacity.

Obama’s 2012 budget request for international affairs — which accounts for 1.7 percent of the entire budget — has a strong focus on increasing the impact of our aid and highlights key initiatives, including global health and food security, that would lead the way in these reforms, Save the Children said.

Specifically, the President’s budget request calls for continued investment in the Global Health Initiative (GHI). The initiative builds on President George W. Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by adding an integrated approach to advancing health, with a focus on building local capacity and investing in improving health for women and children. It highlights the need to invest in proven maternal, newborn and child health programs, which deliver life-saving services that foster hope and opportunity for millions, from training community health-workers to treat simple — but deadly — illnesses such as pneumonia and diarrhea, to supporting the Global Alliance for Vaccinations Initiative (GAVI) and child nutrition programs.  Nearly 20,000 children under-five die every day — yet most of these deaths are entirely preventable. Investments for these programs directly impact the most vulnerable victims of poverty and instability.

The budget also calls for continued investment in another signature initiative, Feed the Future, which takes an integrated approach to addressing root causes of hunger and incorporates many of the best practices of development, including country-led, consultative plans coordinated with other governments. Ensuring that both the agriculture and nutrition elements are funded will be essential if this program is to help the millions of vulnerable children who suffer from malnutrition globally, Save the Children said.

Analysis: U.S. Education

President Obama's budget demonstrates a powerful commitment to building a bright future for American children. In his domestic budget, the president is facing our nation's challenges head-on by increasing investment in K-12 education, an essential building block for our collective wealth and prosperity. Specifically, increased funds are dedicated to valuable programs targeting poor children like the Early Learning Challenge Fund, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Title 1, Save the Children said.

Save the Children also praised Obama for directly acknowledging the need for geographic parity in the award of competitive education grants. By setting aside funds for rural school districts in his proposed “Race to the Top” awards, the president seeks to ensure that the nation’s top rural education innovations are funded. His acknowledgement of unique rural challenges and disparities is the first step in creating a level playing field for poor children regardless where they live in the United States.

Message to Congress

“The president has shown true leadership by recognizing that we can’t afford not to invest today in children at home and abroad if we want stability and prosperity tomorrow. Now it is up to Congress to show they are willing to invest in children and a bright future for this country. We implore Congress to fully fund the president’s budget request,” MacCormack said.

Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and 120 countries around the world. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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