CARE National Conference is an annual event organized every year, synchronized with International Woman’s Day. To advocate for the top humanitarian issues, CARE supporters come from different states to lobby for what they are believe in, and raise their voices on Capitol Hill. The 2014 conference was held on the 5th & 6th of March and focused on three main issues:
- Preventing gender–based violence globally. The main ask was to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), and to promote GBV issues to the high level of concern for the State Department and U.S Agency for International Development.
- Ensuring food and nutrition security for all through food aid reform. The delegations asked for more flexibility in responding to food crises. Basically they asked for support for the reform of the 2014 Farm Bill. The reform will enable American humanitarian agencies to buy food locally, which is resulted in 30-50% less in prices and average of 130 days less in distribution. Furthermore, this can enhance opportunities for local food markets. Numbers and evidence have been used perfectly in the argument.
- Addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Lobbyists ask for unfettered humanitarian access, and more support for the countries hosting refugees. They focused on the importance of support children schooling in the camps.
Other sessions were conducted in different topics related to the main issues such as the role of foreign aid and private sector in change, and using social media in advocacy. An important session about Hill visit was held in the morning, to prepare the participants for the congressional meeting on the second day , Tips and advice had been given to lobbyist on how to introduce themselves and the issues (including being specific about the ask)for members of the Senate and the House.
I spent the second day with other four ladies from Washington (the State), small group who are passionate about making positive change in other people lives. It was a great opportunity for me to observe this democratic activity, and attend such a big advocacy event. I got experience in building campaign messages, and updating my information about the advocacy issues. It was a different, inspirational, and motivating experience for me