WASHINGTON: Relief and development group Oxfam America is urging Congress not to cut foreign aid programs as it looks for ways to trim the federal deficit.
The organization's multifaceted outreach effort is targeting the Washington metropolitan area. Its goal is to shed light on Oxfam's stance that foreign aid is critical to helping millions of people around the world lift themselves out of poverty.
Campaign images include “DC insider” buzzwords, such as “job creator” and “Beltway outsider” with pictures of people surrounded by fishing boats in Ghana, a plant nursery in Tanzania, and a roadway in Malawi. Its goal is to showcase community leaders and advocates in developing countries who have leveraged US foreign aid investments for their work.
“Right now, everyone is fighting for the piece of the [federal budget] pie,” said Laura Rusu, policy and campaigns media manager at Oxfam America. “Both the American public and lots of Capitol Hill staffers think foreign aid accounts for 20% of the budget, when in fact it is less than 1%. Even with just that, amazing results are produced.”
Outreach components include an op-ed authored by Martha Kwataine, a civil society leader in Malawi, that appeared in The Hill, a publication that covers Congress. Oxfam is also conducting traditional and social media outreach, congressional briefings, editorial broad meetings, and desk side chats with reporters, according to Rusu. It is also encouraging constituent feedback so that consumers can stress the importance of foreign aid to their representatives.
Oxfam is handling all PR efforts in-house.
There is also a paid media component, with advertisements appearing at both Reagan National and Dulles airports, some DC Metro stations, and the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call.