With the release of MFAN’s new policy agenda last week, MFAN Principals and Partners have started to spread the word about how to make foreign assistance more effective. MFAN’s plan lays out how Congress and the Administration can build on the bipartisan consensus for aid reform that has emerged over the past decade and work together to forge durable, bipartisan legislation. See below for excerpts from a few well-timed pieces and stay tuned for more coverage down the road.
- MFAN Principal and President of Oxfam America Ray Offenheiser calls MFAN’s new paper a “cheat sheet” for policymakers to use as they consider the FY12 budget. In an op-ed for The Hill, Offenheiser writes, “Foreign aid is also getting a boost in effectiveness: the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), which I am a founding member, released today some clear, practical recommendations for how policymakers can build on already significant reform progress to make U.S. foreign assistance more effective at alleviating poverty, eradicating disease, and driving sustainable economic growth in developing countries. These are just a few clear and concrete steps for making sure that U.S. foreign assistance continues to boost the U.S. economy and get the most bang for the buck in a tough budget year.”
- MFAN Principal and Executive Director of the Sustainable Security Program at the Center for American Progress John Norris debunks five myths of foreign aid in a piece for The Washington Post. One myth he lists: Republicans hate foreign aid. “In signing the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974, Gerald Ford resisted congressional restrictions on food aid. Ronald Reagan launched the National Endowment for Democracy in 1983 to help “foster the infrastructure of democracy — the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities” around the globe, as he put it in a speech before the British Parliament. Declaring that America needed to lead the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, George W. Bush established the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in 2003. According to the Congressional Research Service, this fund, along with money for Iraq reconstruction, was part of the largest appropriation for foreign aid in three decades. When it came to opening the nation’s wallet to the world, these conservative commanders in chief weren’t very conservative.”
- Devex listed MFAN’s recommended actions in a quick summary piece which ran last Friday. Reporter Ivy Mungcal writes, “The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network has released an updated policy agenda for U.S. foreign assistance reform, in which MFAN identifies a series of ‘practical and cost-effective steps’ it says policymakers should take in order to create a foreign aid system that delivers both quick results and long-term, sustainable development solutions.”
- As for the blogosphere, MFAN Principal and Director of the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Program at the Center for Global Development Connie Veillette posted a piece that takes a step back and looks at how it’s more important than ever to reform foreign assistance. She writes, “Despite measured progress in the last few years to elevate development and make U.S. foreign assistance more effective, there is still a long way to go. The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) released a new policy agenda and website today that lauds the progress made and calls for additional reform measures. In the midst of a shaky economic recovery and the challenge of reducing budget deficits, aid reform is more important than ever. Policy makers need to be convinced that U.S. foreign assistance is effective, efficient, and designed to accomplish well-articulated goals.”