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Congressional Staffers Visit Bangladesh with CARE to See How U.S. Investments Are Empowering Women and Girls

CARE Learning Tours goups pictured with U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, Macira Bernicat
CARE Learning Tours goups pictured with U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, Macira Bernicat

WASHINGTON (Feb. 22, 2017) – A group of House and Senate communications staffers traveled to Bangladesh to see how vital U.S. investments and partnerships are promoting education, health and economic opportunities for women and girls. The delegation included staffers from Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, as well as committee staffers from the Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This group was also joined by representatives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and VICE Media.

Today, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. In recent years, Bangladesh made significant progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by reducing maternal and infant mortality, decreasing the poverty gap ratio and attaining gender parity at primary and secondary education. However, despite this progress, discrimination against women continues to inhibit the country from reaching middle-income status. Currently, two out of every three girls will still be wed before their 18th birthday, resulting in missed educational opportunities and forced adolescent motherhood. Gender-based violence in Bangladesh is a critical area of concern, as more than 80 percent of Bangladeshi women and girls have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime.

On this four-day trip, the delegation saw firsthand the role that U.S. investments play in empowering women and girls to lift themselves out of poverty and be catalysts for change in their families and communities. Throughout the trip, the delegation witnessed how simple solutions – such as education and economic empowerment – can help ensure women and girls are able to survive and reach their full potential.

During the trip, the delegation visited a number of development programs focused on girls’ education, health and women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment. The delegation also met with partner organizations such as Save the Children, UNICEF, World Vision and the U.S. Mission. And lastly, the delegation sat down with women and girls to learn about the successes and challenges they face on a daily basis when it comes to education, economic opportunity, health and nutrition.

“This Learning Tour was an important opportunity to witness proven solutions in action that demonstrate how empowering women and girls is a critical component of effective development,” said Rachael Leman, Senior Director of Citizen Advocacy at CARE USA. “In partnership, we can build a smart, strategic, long-term approach to development through strong policies and robust resources that promote women and girls’ education and leadership, prevent child marriage and combat gender-based violence.”

Participants in CARE’s February 2017 Learning Tour to Bangladesh included:

Rebecca Alery, Communications Director, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6)
Casey Contres, Communications Director, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA-9)
Jamie Geller, Deputy Communications Director, House Foreign Affairs Committee Minority Staff
Katie Grant, Communications Director, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5)
Haley Dorgan, Press Secretary, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
Rachael Leman, Senior Director of Citizen Advocacy, CARE USA
Sarah Logan, Communications Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
M. Syambra Moitozo, Associate Producer, VICE Media
Gayatri Patel, Senior Policy Advocate, CARE USA
Cassie Smedile, Communications Director, Senator Todd Young (R-IN)
Stephen Worley, Deputy Communications Director, Senate Appropriations Committee Majority Staff

For more information on CARE’s Learning Tours, please visit: www.care.org/LearningTours. The CARE Learning Tours program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About CARE:

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit www.care.org.

Media Contact:
Nicole Ellis, +1-202-595-2828, nicole.ellis@care.org

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