Posts Tagged 'USAID'

Obama’s Evangelical Gravy Train

HIV Billboard

Photo: Andy Kopsa

Repost from The Nation by Andy Kopsa

Despite the president’s promise to cut funding to discredited HIV and pregnancy prevention programs, taxpayer dollars are still bankrolling anti-gay, anti-choice conservative religious groups.

On March 24, just a month after Ugandan President Museveni signed a bill making homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison, Obama administration officials announced that they were increasing military aid to Uganda in its effort to quell rebel forces. Human rights groups criticized the move, arguing that the aid offered Museveni “legitimacy” after he supported a law that has been widely condemned for violating human rights. The same day, a State Department spokesperson quietly announced that the administration would also “demonstrate our support for the LGBT community in Uganda” by shifting $6.4 million in funding away from the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, whose actions, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said, “don’t reflect our values.” That may be the understatement of the year.

According to Ugandan AIDS activists, administration officials had been told a year and a half earlier that the Inter-Religious Council and other State Department grantees were actively promoting the antigay bill. In September 2012, several LGBT and AIDS advocates in Uganda were invited to a call with representatives from USAID, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator and other US officials to discuss HIV service delivery to vulnerable communities. According to minutes taken by one of the participants and conversations with others on the call, the US officials were warned that several grantees and subcontractors through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, commonly referred to as PEPFAR, were visibly supporting the bill, undermining service delivery to men who have sex with men, or otherwise fomenting anti-gay activities. US officials asked the Ugandan activists to provide information on these actions by the US government’s so-called “implementing partners,” and told them that such evidence might lead to an investigation by US officials. Continue Reading

 

U.S. Agency for International Development Releases its LGBT Vision for Action

USAID“This Vision outlines our Agency’s commitment—both in Washington and abroad—to include LGBT considerations in every area of our work, and in every place we work.” – Rajiv Shah, Administrator of USAID

This past May, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released its LGBT Vision for Action, a first of its kind U.S. Government policy document designed to demonstrate the Agency’s commitment to LGBT inclusion. The Vision provides a set of overarching core principles for engagement and further socializes LGBT inclusion throughout the Agency. USAID’s vision is a “world in which the human rights of LGBT persons are respected and free from discrimination, persecution, and violence—because all people should have access to basic education, health, and sustainable livelihoods.”

Learn more about USAID’s LGBT Vision for Action, its LGBT inclusive development work, and updated fact sheet on the Agency’s LGBT programs and policies.

30 Colombian LGBT activists attend training

Wilson Castañeda, Caribe Afirmativo. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Wilson Castañeda, Caribe Afirmativo. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Repost from The Washington Blade

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Roughly 30 activists from across Colombia attended a four-day training in the Colombian capital from May 30-June 2 designed to encourage LGBT people to become more involved in the country’s political process.

The program, which was coordinated by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, was the first to take place as part of the USAID-backed LGBT Global Development Partnership that will contribute $11 million over the next four years to advocacy groups in neighboring Ecuador and other developing countries. Continue Reading

Scope of Interagency Influence and Authority

The Council for Global Equality - Scope of Interagency Influence and AuthorityOver the past three days, we’ve laid out a number of key issues to be grappled with as the U.S. government meshes its foreign assistance programs with the goals laid out in the President’s December 6 memorandum and in Secretary Clinton’s speech the same day. These issues will require more than energy and thought: they will require clear and determined support from department and agency leaders, which we trust will be given.

As referenced earlier, USAID’s development assistance programs represent, in fact, only part of a larger set of assistance programs scattered across the U.S. government. The President’s memorandum references a baker’s dozen agencies that have such programs. Apart from USAID, two of our largest assistance programs were established under the Bush Administration: the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which we mentioned in yesterday’s blog, was established as a government corporation under the direction of a public/private board; PEPFAR, which operates under the Secretary of State’s oversight, oversees our international HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. Smaller grass-roots development assistance programs are managed by the Inter-American Foundation and the African Development Foundation. Even the Pentagon carries discretionary funding that can buttress our overseas development assistance efforts. Continue reading ‘Scope of Interagency Influence and Authority’

Conditionality in U.S. Foreign Assistance

The Council for Global Equality - Conditionality in U.S. Foreign AssistanceLGBT hate crimes and other abuses are a clear concern in a number of countries.  Our developmental assistance policy-makers inevitably will confront the question of whether – and if so, how – foreign assistance might appropriately be conditioned in response to these and other LGBT human rights policy concerns.  The human rights and developmental assistance communities are divided internally on that point; we will not resolve those divisions today.

It seems to us that all foreign policy decisions, including with respect to foreign assistance, ultimately must reflect our own country’s principles and values – and these include the manner in which a country’s citizens are treated fairly, with equal rights, obligations, and opportunities.  It also seems to us that, except, perhaps, in emergency response, the decisions we take must encourage the kind of global community that shares our principles and values:  otherwise, those individual decisions have little import or reason.

With that in mind, the question of whether foreign aid should be conditioned on a country’s acceptance of LGBT fairness principles logically might come into play at any of three decision points. Continue reading ‘Conditionality in U.S. Foreign Assistance’

USAID ‘strongly encourages’ contractors to prohibit LGBT job bias

Repost from Washington Blade

New policy implemented by the U.S. Agency for International Development “strongly encourages” businesses contracting with the organization to have non-discrimination policies in place for their LGBT workers.

The new policy, spelled out in an executive message dated Oct. 11, encourages companies contracting with USAID to go beyond mandatory non-discrimination protections — including protections based on race, religion and gender — and put in place additional policies to prohibit job bias against LGBT employees and other workers.

According to the memo, the agency is making the change to “encourage all USAID contractors and recipients, including those performing solely overseas, to apply comprehensive nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, political affiliation, and any other conduct that does not affect performance.”

The memo notes that the change isn’t mandatory, so contractors aren’t bound to have the policies to continue working with USAID. Still, the policy is likely the first from any U.S. agency encouraging federal contractors to have non-discrimination policies for LGBT workers.

LGBT advocates said the memo is an important step in addressing workplace discrimination, but noted the change doesn’t have a lot of teeth. Continue Reading

USAID to designate coordinator for LGBT issues overseas

Repost from the Washington Blade

A top official with the U.S. Agency for International Development announced on Monday a senior coordinator would soon be named to guide the administrative division on LGBT issues overseas.

Donald Steinberg, USAID’s deputy administrator, unveiled plans to create the new position during a panel discussion in which officials discussed ways the State Department was integrating LGBT concerns abroad as part of U.S. foreign policy.

“In order to highlight these concerns, we’re pleased to announce that USAID will shortly name a senior coordinator for sexual orientation and gender identity who will be responsible for advising the USAID administrator on this agenda,” Steinberg said.

USAID is an agency under the State Department charged with fostering the growth of developing countries as well as supporting U.S. foreign policy objectives by promoting global health and democracy abroad. Continue reading at the Washington Blade


Stay Informed

Subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 173 other followers

Categories


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 173 other followers