ChildFund International, my host organization organized its first ever Lobby Day or Advocacy Day on March 18, 2016. It was my first time organizing and attending an event of such kind. It turned out to be a great learning experience for me as ChildFund staff members from across the globe went to the Capitol Hill and met legislators to discuss critical issues and provide a grassroots perspective. Our team met with representatives from 23 congressional offices from the United States Government.
The main areas of focus were the reach Every Mother and Child (REACH) Act and the Action Plan for Children in Adversity. The Reach Act came in around 2105 in the house and the Senate. It aims to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths globally. As per the proposal it will involve an inter-agency working group led by a USAID specialist in child and maternal health, and a 10- year strategy with the USG working with partner countries and donors
The reach Act is a lifesaving legislation which will reaffirm the Unites State’s commitment on global child and maternal health. To quote a few figures; nearly 1 million newborns die on their first day of life from preventable causes as per USAID’s 2014 report “Ending Preventable, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Deaths Worldwide.”
The government of United States is also responding to the needs of vulnerable children around the world. The Action Plan of Children in Adversity (APCA) emerges from the same idea and its three main pillars are building strong beginnings, putting family care first and protecting children from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Our Advocacy day team also met staff at USAID office to productively discuss about displaced children and orphans in Uganda.
Even though the staff at the hill that day was experience advocates, they all echoed that this was a great learning experience for them. We started the day with a small training in the morning and held mock discussions before departing for the hill.
The day ended with ChildFund President and CEO Anne Goddard and Susan Bissell, Director of Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children giving out the closing remarks. This reception was attended by more than 100 officials, NGO staff members and organizational staff.