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Archive for June, 2010

MFAN Statement: MFAN Congratulates Bread for the World and Rev. David Beckmann on 2010 World Food Prize

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
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June 16, 2010 (WASHINGTON)This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chair George Ingram:

On behalf of my fellow MFAN Principals and the entire network, I offer my most sincere congratulations to our friend and colleague Rev. David Beckmann for winning the 2010 World Food Prize.  Throughout his career as President of Bread for the World and, more recently, as MFAN’s Co-Chair, David has been a tireless advocate for millions around the world suffering from extreme poverty and hunger.  His strong and compelling voice has also helped drive unprecedented progress on foreign assistance reform, which will directly benefit those poor and hungry worldwide.

After the announcement, David commented on foreign assistance reform in the context of the award:

“Right now, we have exceptional opportunities to win changes in Congress to provide help and opportunity to hungry people in our country and around the world.  For example, we have the best chance we have had in decades to reform U.S. foreign aid so that we’ll make the best possible use of tax dollars and get more of our aid to people who really need help.  Getting more serious about ending hunger in this country and around the world would be good for our nation and good for our souls.”

I believe David’s prize will help energize the entire reform movement as we push for President Obama to deliver America’s first-ever Global Development Strategy and work with Congress on new foreign assistance legislation that will make our development efforts more effective and accountable than ever before.

MFAN Partner Save Releases New Report on Country Ownership

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
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Save the Children LogoToday, MFAN Partner Save the Children released a brief four-page paper on steps the U.S. can take to support country ownership, “Supporting Local Ownership and Building National Capacity:  Applying a flexible and country-based approach to aid instruments.”  The report focuses on ways to build national capacity and strengthen local ownership, while balancing the risks of country-driven programs.  Save recommends three steps that will lead to better results for U.S. investments in development:

  • Adopt a flexible country-by-country approach to development practices;
  • Empower its field missions with greater authority and capacity to use the range of aid mechanisms in a graduated fashion; and
  • Increase its efforts to build the capacity and accountability of host nation and society institutions.

The report pushes fundamental reform principles, including increased donor coordination, stronger partnerships among donors and recipients, and donor flexibility and greater transparency by limiting the number of presidential initiatives and earmarks that clutter aid programs.  The report also includes examples of different U.S. approaches to development that have yielded positive results.  This report is a companion piece to Save’s previous paper focusing on work with local NGOs.

Save-Funding under USAID plans

Global Health Council Kicks off 37th Conference

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
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Yesterday was the start of this year’s Global Health Council Conference – a week-long conference featuring voices from around the world discussing the impact of global health interventions and how the U.S. and its partners can sustain recent momentum.  The theme this year, “Dateline 2010: Global Health Goals and Metrics,” is about  both measuring and celebrating the achievements made over the last decade in global health and development, but also highlighting the goals – namely the Millennium Development Goals – that still need to be realized.  Click here for a full schedule.

MFAN Partner Oxfam America co-hosted an auxiliary session yesterday with Management Sciences for Health (MSH) on “Can Country Ownership Work? Field Perspectives on Health Systems Strengthening.”  Speakers at the event included:   Paul O’Brien, vice president of policy and campaigns, Oxfam; Jonathan Quick, president and CEO, MSH; Francisco Songane, former Minister of Health, Mozambique; Dr. Sin Somuny, MEDICAM, Cambodia; Warren Buckingham, deputy director of programs, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator; and Dr. Zipporah Mang Kpamor, Chief of Party, Nigerian Indigenous Capacity Building Project, Christian Health Association of Nigeria.   All of the panelists drew from rich field experience to underscore the importance of creating a national strategy for development, the result of a consultative process involving country government, civil society, the private sector, and international partners.  Watch the full event below.

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MFAN Member Reviews Biden’s Trip to Africa

Friday, June 11th, 2010
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See a guest post from MFAN Member Greg Adams, Director of the Aid Effectiveness campaign at Oxfam America, that connects Vice President Joe Biden’s recent trip to Africa to the foreign aid reform debate.

OxfamDon’t drop the ball on Aid reform: Biden participates in a three-country tour of Africa

by Gregory Adams

This week, before heading to South Africa for the opening ceremony of the World Cup, US Vice President Joe Biden stopped in Egypt and Kenya to meet with regional heads of state. The visit is further evidence of the Obama administration’s recognition of Africa’s role in US policy. But it still leaves open the question of what role the United States will play in Africa’s regional security and stability, and prosperity. In Kenya, the vice president discussed peace and security issuesespecially in Sudan and Somalia. The United States has urged Kenya to implement key political reforms promised after the country’s 2008 post-election violence. According to US Ambassador Michael Rannerberger, Biden is expected to announce funds the United States will give in support of the process for a new constitution recently drafted by the Kenyan parliament.

Kenya has long been plagued with corruption, earning the rank of “most corrupt country in east Africa” by Transparency International,” In May, Oxfam America featured Kenya’s legendary anti-corruption championJohn Githongo, for an event it held at the Newseum in Washington, DC, entitled “How Can We Improve Aid to Developing Countries?”

“Africa is approaching an economic, political, and social tipping point, and smart donor support that leads to the empowerment of ordinary people is needed at this moment of risk and opportunity,” said Githongo, who runs the NGO Inuka Kenya Trust. “Ownership is ni sisi. It is up to us. It is us who own our problems. And it is us who will come up with the solutions.”  Githongo was joined on the panel by Oxfam America President Ray Offenheiser, Liberian Economic and Finance Minister Amara Konneh, and Esther Tallah of the Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria. Click here to view video panel.


Oxfam America Releases New Policy Brief on Information

Friday, June 11th, 2010
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By combining field research with interviews among recipients of aid and U.S. policymakers, MFAN Partner Oxfam America has created a compelling case for country ownership.   Their latest policy brief “Information: let countries know what donors are doing” is correlated with the Ownership report, which was released last September.  Oxfam sees improving information about aid programs as the first step for donor countries, like the U.S., to be supportive and more responsive to country priorities.

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