2011 Advocacy Year in Review
By Jonathan Pearson on Friday, January 6th, 2012
As 2012 marks the beginning of the next fifty years of Peace Corps service, here’s a look back at National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) advocacy activities during the just completed 50th anniversary year.
We Remember Sarge: The 50th anniversary year sadly began with the January 18th passing of Peace Corps’ founding Director and 20th century American icon Sargent Shriver. NPCA collected messages of condolence from the Peace Corps community that were delivered to the Shriver family.
Hundreds of Advocacy Meetings: Over the course of 2011, NPCA advocates and staff held well over 500 meetings with congressional offices. The largest number of face-to-face meetings in many years were supported by several key initiaitives.
7th Annual National Day of Action: This annual event promoting phone calls and
emails during Peace Corps Week was further supported by fifty-one advocates from 17 states who took part in 105 meetings on Capitol Hill.
August District Advocacy Days: In NPCA’s first coordinated effort to mobilize for district based advocacy meetings, advocates in at least 14 states conducted at least 25 meetings with their members of Congress during the August recess.
50th Anniversary Capitol Hill Advocacy Day: An estimated 500 advocates – representing virtually every state in the nation and all eras of Peace Corps service – converged on Capitol Hill fifty years to the day of final passage and signing of the 1961 Peace Corps Act into law. Wearing buttons saying “Ask Me Why the Peace Corps Matters”, the advocates held more than 300 meetings asking lawmakers to honor the past, present and future of the Peace Corps.
Level Funding for Peace Corps: Led by congressional champions and supported by advocates, Peace Corps funding was spared the worst of potential budget cuts during a difficult fiscal environment. The agency did see its funding cut 6.8 percent in Fiscal Year 2011, but heavy advocacy helped prevent further cuts for the current Fiscal Year.
Passage of Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act: RPCVs organized to strengthen Peace Corps’ response and support of volunteers subjected to sexual assault and other forms of violence. They worked with lawmakers and agency officials to pass legislation designed to improve safety and security. The legislation was one of the areas of focus during NPCA’s August District Advocacy Days and 50th Anniversary Capitol Hill Advocacy Day in September.
Advancing Peace Corps Commemorative Legislation: For the second consecutive
year, the House of Representatives made significant progress toward passage of legislation to authorize a commemorative work near the National Mall to mark the historic significance of the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961, and the ideals it represents. For the first time, companion legislation was introduced in the Senate. By year’s end, Senate legislation was ready for final consideration, while House legislation awaited action by the House Natural Resources Committee.
Largest Ever Survey of the Peace Corps Community: In collaboration with Civic Enterprises and Peter D. Hart Research Associates, NPCA conducted the largest ever independent survey of returned Peace Corps volunteers on their experiences, impact and other reflections.
Connecting in Your Communities: NPCA Advocacy Coordinator Jonathan Pearson traveled to seventeen cities in six states during 2011, connecting directly with about 300
members of the Peace Corps community.
(These and other 2011 highlights – not to mention lots more photos and videos featuring our great advocates! – were sent to nearly 17,000 supporters who receive regular updates as members of our NPCA Advocacy Listserve. Contact us to sign up for this listserve today. And, don’t forget to follow us on our social network, Facebook and/or Twitter for regular advocacy updates.)