The Basic Education Coalition, GCE-US, and Global Citizen teamed up to educate Members of Congress on the importance of continued funding for foreign aid and international basic education. Our group of over 30 member-advocates represented 19 organizations working on international education. We met with 27 Senate offices (14 Republican and 13 Democrat) and 5 House offices (3 Republican and 2 Democrat) for a total of 32 meetings. We met with staff of 16 Senate appropriators, 13 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the chair of the House Appropriations’ Subcommittee on State, Foreign Ops, and Related Programs.
We focused on the following 3 “asks” during the meetings:
- We ask that Members of Congress urge the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee to provide a 302(b) allocation of $60 billion for the International Affairs Budget in FY18.
- We ask that Members of Congress urge the Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee to provide an allocation of $925 million for USAID's basic education programs.
- We ask all Senators to co-sponsor S 623, the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act.
Our member-advocates participated in a training call on lobbying techniques and arrived to the meetings with extensive evidence and personal anecdotes to illustrate the benefits of international education for building stable societies, improving the quality of life for children, reducing poverty and creating emerging markets for U.S. trade. We broadened our impact by sharing our messages and photos from the day via our social media platforms.
Based on initial feedback, our messages were well received. We look forward to following up, tracking our progress, and refining our strategy for educating diverse audiences on the importance of international basic education. Thank you to all the organizations who dedicated their time and resources. We look forward to ongoing opportunities to unite with colleagues across the international education sector and raise our voices for common good!