Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poverty as a Puzzle

Earlier today, the Royce/Engel amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill was defeated on the floor of the House of Representatives. This amendment would have given an enormous boost to helping to lessen the effects of poverty worldwide by extending the flexibility and appropriate market mechanisms to meet emergency needs. In short, it would have allowed the United States to respond to disaster with food aid that is more cost effective (a plus for U.S. taxpayers) and faster (a plus for those experiencing famine). Sadly, it was supported by many of both major political parties but lost due to special interest lobbying and the spread of misinformation. With so many moving parts, how can we ever hope to end poverty?

Sounds a bit like a puzzle, no?

Rest assured, this is a solvable puzzle. We can and will solve hunger. We know what the pieces are: sustainable farming; empowering women, farmers, and communities; giving youth a chance at an education; fixing an outdated food aid system; and ending conflicts over natural resources, etc. And, we know that the pieces do fit together! Read this incredible story about Laura Chavez, a Guatemalan, who has inspired women in her community to stand up against gender-based violence. Through training she receives from Oxfam, she empowers women and makes her community stronger.

Organizations like Oxfam America work tirelessly to bring all of these pieces together. Let's continue to put pieces together, one-at-a-time, until the ending puzzle is a picture of a world where people have the power to make the changes they need to live smarter, healthier, and safer lives.

Sometimes a puzzle piece falls off the table and onto the floor, just like the Royce/Engel amendment did today. It doesn't mean the puzzle is over - let's pick up that piece, search for a new piece if need be, and finish the puzzle.

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