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Archive for March, 2010

QDDR Blog Series: Women Thrive Worldwide on Gender Integration

Friday, March 19th, 2010
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The fourth  installment in MFAN’s QDDR blog series comes from MFAN Principal Ritu Sharma, president and co-founder, and MFAN member Nora O’Connell, vice president — both of the leading women and gender advocacy organization Women Thrive Worldwide.  To see other posts in the series, click on the following names – George IngramNoam Unger, David Beckmann.

Women ThriveGender and effective development: Not “separate, but equal”; it’s “together, but different.”

By Ritu Sharma & Nora O’Connell

Each year, the U.S. spends billions on global development – and that money does a lot of good supporting programs that provide vaccines, help kids go to school, and help mothers feed their families.

The problem is that while these programs may look good on their own, when you put them all together, the system is outdated, fragmented, and uncoordinated.  Think of it like a computer you bought back in 2000 and are still trying to use today. You can get new add-ons – a new mouse, a faster modem, or a web cam – but the components don’t really work that well together and it’s a lot less efficient than you need it to be.


QDDR Blog Series: MFAN Co-Chair David Beckmann on Poverty

Thursday, March 18th, 2010
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The third installment in MFAN’s QDDR blog series comes from our Co-Chair, Rev. David Beckmann, who is president of the leading anti-poverty advocacy organization Bread for the World.  To see other posts in the series, click on the following names – George Ingram, Noam Unger.


The QDDR and Poverty Reduction

by Rev. David Beckmann

Bread for the World wants a reform of U.S. foreign assistance that will make it more effective in reducing poverty.

The Obama administration has already taken important steps towards reforming foreign assistance.  President Obama and Secretary Clinton have made development and global poverty reduction a higher priority in U.S. foreign policy.  They have achieved increased funding for development assistance and added staffing to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  They have also launched the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative (which thrills us at Bread for the World) and announced a more integrated approach to global health.


WHer and PMIer Sound Foreign Assistance Reform Themes

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
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This morning, the Malaria No More Policy Center held its annual Champions Breakfast honoring the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) Coordinator, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer (ret), and Office of Management and Budget Senior Health Advisor Ezekiel Emanuel.  Also in attendance was Emanual’s brother, Rahm, the White House Chief of Staff, as well as Representatives Don Payne (D-NJ) and John Bozeman (R-AR).

The speakers/honorees at the breakfast used eloquent and compelling language to stress the need for continued U.S. leadership on development and global health, even in a time of hardship, saying that we can turn progress into victory on deadly diseases like malaria, which kills more African children every year than any other scourge. The speakers also touched on important themes relating to foreign assistance reform.  Paraphrasing after the jump:


QDDR Blog Series: MFAN Principal Noam Unger on the Relation to the PSD

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
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MFAN has launched a blog series on the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), the initial findings of which are set to be released any day. The QDDR will provide a piece of the blueprint for making U.S. foreign assistance programs more effective and accountable, supplementing other key actions including the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy and bipartisan reform efforts in the House, where Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) is working on a rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act, and the Senate, where Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) and Ranking Minority Member Dick Lugar (R-IL) have championed empowering USAID and bolstering foreign assistance accountability.

Noam UngerA Note on Process – the QDDR and the PSD

By Noam Unger

The State Department and USAID will soon unveil the interim findings of their inaugural Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).  While the anticipated release is far from the endgame, it represents yet another salvo in an ongoing policy debate.  Given the prominence of global development within the overall focus for the QDDR, it is expected that the actual report – due in the fall of 2010 – will have plenty to say on how to bolster State, USAID and the MCC to engage more effectively in poor and fragile states.  As someone focused on foreign assistance reform, I will be reading the forthcoming QDDR interim report to gauge the extent to which this ongoing review may contribute to a coherent and effective approach to both stabilization and broader development efforts.


Foreign Aid Spending Among Biggest Budget Misconceptions

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
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In a piece at, Derek Thompson has an illuminating chart about the biggest misconceptions Americans have about the federal budget:

Budget chart

Foreign assistance plays prominently:

1) Americans are famous for overestimating our international aid. One study found that the average American estimates that a quarter of the budget — more than Social Security, or Defense — goes to aid abroad. This is why, when asked about cutting the deficit, an outsized number always suggests that we should immediately start slashing foreign aid to save money. Of course, this would be a bit like wiping your brow with a kerchief to fight a fever. Aid is less than one percent of our total budget, but three-fourths of Americans in the Zogby poll think it’s at least six times higher.