|Ben Swets's Hunger Activism Letter Writing|
The US comprises 5% of the world’s population and consumes 23% of the world’s resources. As a citizen in the US, I feel obligated to help distribute resources more evenly. I am a vegetarian and a cyclist. Those are commitments to reduce my own consumption. My favorite form of activism, however, is letter writing. On this page are some links to web sites which inspire me to write letters to congress and to the editors of papers every week, frequently about hunger issues.
|The infant mortality rate is an officially measureable gage of hunger. The average IMR of all countries in the world was 102 deaths per thousand before age one in 1977. As of 1998, the average IMR around the world was sixty-seven per thousand. Progress is being made.||Link to Sustainability Institute. "unsustainability does not arise simply out of ignorance."||Babies die from poor maternal care, bad nutrition, insufficient education, and dirty air and water. These problems can be addressed by legislation and lobbying which we all can support. The recent IMR of various countries is shown below:|
Here is a link to a description of microcredit strategy.
My letters aim to alert legislators as well as voters of the power we US citizens have to heal
environmental, economic and social problems. Along with some of my friends in the hunger lobbying
group, RESULTS, I have been invited to meet with congresspersons to discuss microcredit programs
which address hunger in extremely effective ways.|
Microcredit is a relatively new way of ending poverty by loaning small amounts of money to peasant woman entrepreneurs in developing countries. It is the most successful form of lending ever devised.
is a link to a description of the IDA program and how we can support it.
||Certainly there is hunger in the US. While middle class bank customers are not taxed on money they put in IRA's, lower classes have not had programs which enhance their saving ability. Now, however, "Individual Development Acounts" are being established around the US. These innovations will make it possible for lower class Americans to enhance and magnify whatever small saving ability they are capable of. -- relevant book is by Michael Sherradan: "Assets and the Poor"|
RESULTS has enlightened me about how eager elected officials are to hear citizen concerns.
There is money available to combat poverty. Ordinary voices such as yours and mine
truly do influence how legislators utilize money.
I was taught decades ago about the ideals of George Washington, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, and other "founding fathers." There seemed to be no access for me in the governing system, until I began hunger activism with the RESULTS lobbying group. Senators and congresspersons have responded to my letters regarding microcredit programs. As a part of RESULTS, I was actually invited to meet with legislators. Being recognized as a full fledged US citizen, merely because I wrote a few letters, is a reward we all have access to in this country.
The big reward is in seeing effective programs implemented around the world. This is not about giving food. This is giving power.
Here is the Grameen Bank page with a book by Muhammad Yunus, banker to the poor, who
started the first microcredit program in Bangladesh. Loans are made primarily to
the poorest women. RESULTS promotes microcredit programs in
many countries including the US.
Link to RESULTS web site which explains issues deserving letters to leaders and
editors. Included is an explanation of the Grameen Bank founded by Muhammad Yunus.
Link to Microcredit summit: Working to ensure that 100 million of the world’s poorest families, especially the women of those families, are receiving credit for self-employment and other financial and business services by the year 2005