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USAID to Congress: Foreign Aid is “A Matter of National Security”

Written By: Lori Adelman
January 24, 2011

 

Here at the International Women’s Health Coalition, we’ve long known that investing in women and girls results in stronger women, stronger families, and stronger communities.

But it was still nice to hear this message delivered to the United States Congress by Rajiv Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

In a recent major speech on the coming reforms to USAID, Shah made the case against slashing development and foreign-aid budgets by pointing out that the budget cuts recommended yesterday by newly appointed Republican representatives would not only have real and drastic negative implications for the recipients of USAID, but also for U.S. national security.

“As people start to engage in a discussion of …what that would mean for literally taking children that we feed and keep alive through medicines or food and leaving them to starve. I think those are the types of things people will back away from,” Shah said.

Shah’s argument that development investments can be justified due to their linkage with national security is a particularly strategic and timely one, considering how contentious and partisan many topics related to foreign aid have become.

FP News further reports that Shah also “framed his argument for development aid in terms of increased domestic economic and job opportunities: If we want to export more, we need to help develop new markets that are U.S.-friendly.”

IWHC stands firm in the belief that smart and effective investment of U.S. resources is essential to alleviating poverty, promoting security and building more stable nations – central tenets of U.S. foreign policy, goals of U.S. foreign assistance and a core component of numerous internationally agreed-upon goals and standards. Recognizing the need and interest by the Obama Administration and Congress to reform foreign assistance, IWHC and key organization partners are educating and advocating with policy makers so that the health and rights needs of women and youth are met. To learn more about IWHC’s work on U.S. Policy, please click here.

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