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Safe from the Start Act deserves support

| November 14, 2021 1:00 AM

No matter how you feel about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, we can all agree that girls and women are more at risk and have fewer opportunities now that our troops are gone. One way that we can counter the effects of gender-based violence, including child marriage, in Afghanistan and other developing countries is to continue a 2013 Department of State/USAID initiative that provides training and education internationally: Senate Bill 765, the Safe from the Start Act.

We need to do this for the mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and granddaughters in our lives.

My 15-year-old granddaughter in Texas is fortunate to have the opportunity to get a good education and make her own choices as she transitions from teenager to young adult. Many girls and women in developing countries are not so fortunate.

Two important features of the bill are that it more actively involves women and girls in the design and implementation of the program, and it increases congressional oversight by requiring budget and progress reports. The bill contains no new spending. In fact, it authorizes funding at fiscal year 2018 levels.

I ask Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo to consider co-sponsoring the State from the Start Act, or at least get behind it. It won’t solve all the problems of gender-based violence, but it’s a significant step in the right direction. Please take a moment to communicate your support to the senators.

REV. STANLEY J. NORMAN

Sagle

World Vision volunteer advocate