Joan Holmes, Testimony before the Congressional Women's Caucus

September 16, 2003

Joan Holmes briefed the Congressional Women’s Caucus on “Women and Ending Hunger: The Inextricable Link.” All of us who were privileged to attend had the experience that we were witnessing history in the making!

Joan’s presentation was cogent, clear and compelling. Congressional staff I spoke to afterwards were tremendously impressed and inspired. The event was scheduled for one hour to allow for plenty of Q&A, and actually ran 90 minutes. People did not want to leave!

Joan built on parts of her testimony from last May, expanding it into a very powerful case. As you’ll see in the full text and on the video, her bottom line is: unless and until women are empowered, hunger will persist and none of the UN Millennium Development Goals will be reached.

The room was full to overflowing. Sixteen Congressional offices were present, as well as NGOs, the World Bank, World Food Programme, Congressional Hunger Center, World Trade Organization and a solid team of Hunger Project investors. Our board chairman and long-time Washington observer, Dr. Peter Bourne, was also in attendance, and remarked that the briefing created a real opening for The Hunger Project.

Joan was invited to give this presentation by Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio following her participation in a briefing to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in May. It is quite unusual - and a real honor - for one individual to give a briefing, as opposed to participating as part of a larger panel.

In introducing Joan, Rep. Kaptur said, “When I heard Joan Holmes, president of The Hunger Project speak in May, I was overwhelmed. Finally, someone is saying it the way I know it. Joan has the roadmap. If we can but listen to her, and if more people could listen to Joan… I want to give Joan that forum. Joan, I've been here 21 years. You gave one of the best presentations I have ever heard. I think all the people here - all the representatives and their staff - should have the privilege of hearing it.”

Rep. Karen McCarthy of Missouri shared how the thinking of The Hunger Project had shaped her own perspective on the importance of women in international development as she visited US-funded international development programs in the field. In addition, she said “Everyone here in the room can give their money to The Hunger Project the way I do.”

Thank you for your partnership and participation in The Hunger Project. All of us can be very proud of this milestone in the larger impact we are making, and intend to make in the future.

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