Legislative Update on Voluntourism

Just got an email update from Paul Joss, thought i’d share with those beyond the BBC world. Basically there are two developments that represent strong government endorsements about the importance of international volunteering.

1) As you know from our recent advocacy work mobilizing the coalition, the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs held a markup of the 2010 funding bill last week.  In their markup, they included strong language recommending that USAID support the Volunteers for Prosperity program.  The same subcommittee from the US House of Representatives made a similar recommendation a few weeks ago.  Both the House and Senate funding bills include funding increases for USAID, along with their recommendations that the agency support Volunteers for Prosperity.  In summary, this is good progress towards securing the full $10 million funding for the VfP program, which was authorized in the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act earlier this year.  Many feel that this was one of the most positive outcomes we could have hoped for.  Very strong language from Congress in support of the VfP Serve program was included and many indicated that out work was pivitol in making this happen.

2) The House and Senate subcommittees have also both recommended funding increases for Peace Corps.  The House of Representatives recommended $450M, which is an amount that the More Peace Corps campaign has been advocating in support of the goal to double Peace Corps.  The Senate recommended $373M, which was in alignment with the budget submitted by President Obama.  The Senate indicated a willingness to fund doubling the Peace Corps pending the selection of a new Director and more specific plans for modernization and reform.

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