In college, I signed up to join the One campaign to end extreme poverty. They were the only people I knew in America talking about my friends’ day to day problems back home in Africa, and they were mobilizing a grassroots campaign to voice those concerns to people in power. The One campaign has advocated for funding for programs that provide life saving medication for the world’s poorest people suffering from preventable diseases – HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis for example. The life-saving funding accounts to less than 1% of the total American annual budget, but that 1% is part of the budget sequestration that began yesterday.

Now, I don’t know the ins and outs of American economic policy. I hear we’re in deep trouble and there need to be drastic changes. What I do know is the real impact this 1% has had on the lives of many of my friends in Africa. If not for that 1%, people I know and love would have died of HIV/AIDS without diagnosis and without treatment. Without that 1%, their access to HIV medication will be stopped. Without that 1%, ongoing village education programs aimed at preventing HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis transmission will end.

I don’t know all the ins and outs of economic policy, and I’m not pretending to be a master strategist here. But, receiving the following cartoon in my inbox this morning affected me – because I do know part of the human impact of 1%.

The Real Winner of the Sequestration


Equal cuts don’t have equal impact. For the world’s poorest, these cuts can mean the difference between life and death:

171,900 people would not have AIDS medication, resulting in 39,200 deaths and 77,200 more children becoming orphans
1.2 million fewer insecticide-treated mosquito nets, leading to over 3,200 deaths from malaria
836,800 fewer pentavalent vaccines would be available for children, resulting in 8,900 more deaths from completely preventable diseases

There is lots of talk right now about how sequestration will affect a huge number of programs, but this is one of the few in which people’s lives are actually at risk. Foreign assistance accounts for less than 1 percent of our national budget. These lifesaving programs should be protected and prioritized.

Is this post more a call to action or lament? I’m honestly not sure.

About Jennie Joy

I'm a lover and truth-seeker. This blog is a place for me to share my thoughts, struggles, and sincere searchings as I get to know God and welcome the reality of His kingdom in and through me.

3 responses »

  1. David Lund says:

    Hey there! (I’m Meredith Harner’s brother in law, she directed me here :-)….

    Anyways on to the comment…Half of me agrees with this. While I feel like our country absolutely needs to financially stand up for these causes – I feel even stronger that instead of our government coming to the rescue for these things, WE need to come to the rescue for them. Sadly, our government cannot afford many of the programs that they fund (granted, this is because of their own actions), but that shouldn’t be the end of the story. While our government tries to rebuild and reduce the deficit so that they CAN fund programs like this – we can fill the gap financially. I think this is less of a call to action for the government but a call to action for individuals.

    • Jennie Joy says:

      Yeah- I absolutely appreciate your position, David. (Nice to meet you, btw!)

      One of the problems with making this a call to action for individuals is that most individuals in the USA don’t feel connected enough to the needs of a widow or orphan in South Sudan with HIV to put their money there. If federal funding for international programs is cut, will individuals rise to fill that gap? I suppose if taxes are going up, that may serve as incentive for Americans to increase their charitable giving, but I’m not sure… regardless, I think there need to be more creative and sustainable strategies for global charity/development.

      Some of those sustainable solutions should come through business. I recently sat with some businessmen who are strategizing on how to connect the resources of the developed world with the needs of the developing world. I am encouraged to hear more and more discussions like the one they are having – profitable businesses looking at how to change their business models to empower individuals and communities to greater development and economic freedom. That gives me some hope in a world of corporations looking only at the bottom line. With our globalized market, almost every product we buy has traveled the world before reaching us. We need a revolution in business strategy that no longer ignores the human cost of maximizing profit – rather willingly lowers the profit margin to add value for people and communities at the source. Imagine if business was able to create a win for not only share holders, but for everyone – especially by paying fair wages for the workers that provide the labor or produce the raw materials. Most current business models emphasize profit above all and are effectively raping impoverished communities in their race to line investors’ pockets. That needs to stop. It will stop by a transformation in mindset – imagine what could be if business existed to provide a win for ALL players involved!

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