For Immediate Release


Kelly Castagnaro at 212-979-8500 x 266 or

International Women's Health Coalition

An Open Letter to President Obama on the U.S. Commitment to Global Development

WASHINGTON - The International Women's Health Coalition and many other organizations
have joined forces with the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
(MFAN) to change the way the United States funds international
development. To sign the letter, visit the MFAN website.

Dear Mr. President,

We applaud your strong leadership on reducing poverty and promoting
economic growth worldwide, as exemplified by Feed the Future, the Global
Health Initiative, and your consistent support for elevating
development as a pillar of U.S. foreign policy.

Despite the promise of these new programs and the visionary “New
Approach to Advancing Development” for the U.S. that you endorsed at the
recent G8 Summit, we do not believe our country can truly empower poor
people to realize a more prosperous and secure future if we don’t change
the way we do business with respect to foreign assistance and
development.  We currently rely on an inefficient, dispersed system that
has grown in a disjointed, haphazard manner without any coherent
strategy as to how the parts work together to achieve our goals.


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It is time to bring our tools for delivering foreign aid into the 21st
Century so that we can do more with precious taxpayer dollars to help
those in need. Change is needed now, because effective foreign
assistance and a smart approach to development have never been more
important to the success of U.S. foreign policy.

The efforts of your Administration, Members of Congress across the
political spectrum, and committed advocates have put us closer than ever
to real reform. But your leadership is critical.  As the 50th
anniversary of President Kennedy’s landmark signing of the Foreign
Assistance Act of 1961 approaches, we urge you to follow through on your
pledge to “modernize our foreign assistance” with two important

  • Create America’s first-ever Global Development Strategy. 
    When you spoke to the United Nations nearly a year ago, you promised to
    return with a plan to reduce global poverty.  We believe that the U.S.
    Global Development Strategy should be the key component of that plan, in
    order to provide our nation with a clear roadmap for U.S. leadership in
    this vital effort.
  • Partner with Congress to rewrite the existing, Cold War-era Foreign Assistance Act,
    a partial draft of which was recently unveiled by the chairman of the
    House Foreign Affairs Committee, adding to momentum created by the
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s bipartisan passage of S.1524 last

We believe the American people will strongly support this effort to make
U.S. foreign assistance more effective at delivering results for people
in the developing world pursuant to our national interests.  We pledge
our energy and resolve to help you in these efforts.


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