Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Congress Passes Bi-Partisan Bill with $50 Million Increase for WASH

By Gemma Bulos, GWWI Director

Last year, I was honored to present GWWI’s work at the historical launch of USAID's Water and Sanitation Development Strategy alongside Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Chris Coons, Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Congressman Ted Poe and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and USAID Global Water Coordinator Chris Holmes.

This was a significant milestone for USAID as it shows their commitment to prioritize WASH as a one of their key strategies to provide international aid to uplift communities around the globe.

Yesterday it was announced that on January 17, President Obama signed into law a sweeping, bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill that increases funding for safe drinking water in developing countries by over 20 percent.

The Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes the State and Foreign Operations budget for the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provides an increase of $50 million for safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects, potentially providing water and sanitation to over three million people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America over the course of the coming fiscal year. (WASH Advocates)

John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates, noted, "Politics stops at water, and this is clearly one issue on which both Republicans and Democrats can agree.”

Go to 7:07 for Gemma’s GWWI presentation

It has always been my belief that water is the master equalizer in that the smallest plant and the richest man are equal in that we all need it to survive. My past work as the Founder of A Single Drop and now as the Director of the Global Women’s Water Initiative was based on the premise that because our shared need for water transcends politics, religion, etc, it’s a place where we all agree and therefore a platform where we can start a conversation and even collaborate.

All the WASH programs that we have designed have focused on uniting communities, engaging all the relevant stakeholders and supporting collaborative community-driven efforts to resolve their own water issues. It’s a thrill to see the US government recognize the need for these kinds of strategies to address the most pressing issues of this century.

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