Zakat Foundation of America (ZF), as a participating members of the Interfaith Working Group on Foreign Assistance traveled to Washington DC to meet with Congress to advocate against the proposed budget reduction of the International Affairs funds for diplomacy and international development. Only 1% of the federal budget is earmarked for foreign aid, one-sixth of that 1% specifically for humanitarian and Poverty Focused Development Assistance (PFDA).
Since 2010, the budget has been reduced by 20%. Alarmingly, the House Appropriations Committee recently voted to reduce the budget by an additional 15%.
ZF, along with its partner organizations, believe the role of government is vital to reducing child mortality and hunger around the world. According to the Interfaith Work Group on Foreign Assistance, the number of annual deaths of young children under five years of age worldwide has decreased by more than half it was in 1990. So much has been accomplished in reducing poverty and health related deaths of children but much more needs to be done.
ZF Executive Director, Halil Demir, says, “America is a leader in the world. It is very important that we show leadership in development assistance and poverty alleviation. And this translates to national security because this projects an image of kindness and care that the United States cannot afford to lose.”
The Interfath Working Group on Foreign Assistance (IWGFA) was established in April 2013 by an inter-faith coalition of 40 organizations to advocate with the U.S. government to preserve humanitarian and poverty-focused foreign assistance. The Working Group visits congress to share a common faith-based message on the importance of foreign assistance to save lives through organized national call-in days and congressional briefings.