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Meng Secures Items Critical for Women and Children in U.S. International Aid Programs

Sep 12, 2019
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced today that she secured several provisions that advance the wellbeing and safety of women and children in U.S. foreign policy programs. These items were included in a key spending bill that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives. They include the following:
  • Encouraging the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to place a special emphasis on safe and secure access to sanitation facilities for refugees, with a focus on women and girls, and vulnerable populations.
  • Directing the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to issue an updated report on how its Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) programs ensure the availability of menstrual hygiene products. The goal of WASH programs is to promote global public health through access to clean water, sufficient sanitation, and proper hygiene, and providing safe menstrual hygiene products to women and girls abroad must be a key component of these initiatives. The report will also include recommendations on how USAID could improve its management of investments in this area.
  • Urging USAID to ensure that its WASH programs address the impact that the lack of accessible toilets, adequate sanitation, and hygiene products have on women and girls abroad.
  • Directing the State Department to include programmatic funding by education level (pre-primary, primary, secondary, post-secondary/non-higher education, and higher education) in its annual report to Congress regarding the U.S. Government Strategy on International Basic Education. The measure also requires a list of indicators used to monitor performance for each level, and the criteria used to prioritize country programs. Data must be disaggregated by age, sex, marital status, and disability when appropriate.
  • Calling on the State Department and USAID to prioritize interventions to assist children recovering from trauma. The measure aims to help children who are vulnerable to the psychological impacts of conflict.
  • $850 million for maternal and child health programs that seek to improve the health and well-being of mothers and children.
  • $55.5 million for the U.S. contribution to United Nations Population Fund.
“I’m pleased my provisions that provide critical protections for women and children in U.S. international aid programs were included in this important House-passed spending bill,” said Meng. “We must do all that we can to protect the most vulnerable, especially those fleeing from war, poverty, and natural disasters. I look forward to these measures now moving through the Senate.”
Meng’s provisions were included in the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.
In addition to the above items, Meng introduced the bipartisan Safe from the Start Act in July which aims to improve U.S. efforts to combat gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies across the globe. She also authored the bipartisan Refugee Sanitation Facility Safety Act, a bill that passed the House in May which would make restrooms in refugee camps safer for women and girls.