TACOMA, Washington — In 2020, the global community faced many new challenges, especially vulnerable groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and its socio-economic consequences. However, we must also recognize the successes in the face of these challenges. The Borgen Project applauds its grassroots volunteers’ efforts in 2020 and hopes this momentum continues into the new year.
Celebrating the Successes of 2020
Treasured Borgen Project volunteers from all 50 states were key factors to the impactful successes in 2020. The push for increased international funding for the COVID-19 relief package was a long and hard one.
However, Borgen Project volunteers were extremely determined and sent more than 69,180 emails to Congress in support of the COVID-19 global response. The influence of volunteers eventually led to a $4 billion commitment from Congress toward international funding for vaccine distribution, in addition to the initial relief packages passed earlier in the year.
Yet, the fight is far from over as The Borgen Project urgently continue advocating for funds to tackle the pandemic’s secondary socio-economical consequences. For instance, the virus has impacted the global food system tremendously as Oxfam projected that more than 270 million people could have faced chronic hunger by the end of 2020. Action must be taken immediately to alleviate the rising malnutrition rates in developing countries amid COVID-19, protect vulnerable groups in need and take steps to stop the spread of infection.
Successes in Legislation
Consistent efforts to improve girls’ access to education are crucial to help communities escape extreme poverty. The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act honors Malala Yousafzai, who fearlessly denounced the Taliban’s actions and advocated for women and girls’ right to education at the mere age of 11.
The Borgen Project’s passionate volunteers helped this bill become official law on January 13, 2021 by sending 2,239 emails to Congress throughout the year asking to support the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act.
Currently, in Pakistan, there are 22.5 million children who are out of school. More specifically, “32% [of]primary school-age girls are out of school in Pakistan, compared with 21% of boys.” Human Rights Watch also found that “by ninth grade, only 13% of girls are still in school.”
By establishing the Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act, Congress emphasizes that girls’ education is a priority. The bill ensures that the USAID Administrator awards at least 50% of the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program to women for each of the calendar years 2020 through 2022. Additionally, by having greater access to education, girls in Pakistan will be able to directly improve their future earnings, which will increase Pakistan’s economic growth.
Also, according to UNICEF, children born to more educated mothers have a greater chance of survival. In fact, over half of child mortality reduction could be attributed to education alone.
Working to Alleviate Global Poverty in 2021
Moving forward in the 117th Congress, Borgen Project volunteers will continue expanding these successes while celebrating milestones made in 2020. With more than 250,000 emails sent to Congress, 1,060 Congressional meetings and more than five million visitors to The Borgen Project website, this is just a sliver of the accomplishments that Borgen Project volunteers led.
The successes of 2020 would undoubtedly be impossible without our valued volunteers and their dedication to alleviating global poverty and highlighting foreign aid in U.S. politics. The Borgen Project also celebrates the resilience of grassroots organizations that support international development, and we look forward to their new initiatives to tackle global poverty in the new year.
– Adriane Phi