First lady talks up aid successes in Africa
First lady Laura Bush toured the Zambian capital of Lusaka Thursday as part of a four-nation swing through Africa, visiting a unique U.S.-funded project that taps a...
LUSAKA, Zambia — First lady Laura Bush toured the Zambian capital of Lusaka Thursday as part of a four-nation swing through Africa, visiting a unique U.S.-funded project that taps a network of 12,000 Zambian HIV/AIDS volunteers to distribute mosquito nets designed to fight another major challenge: malaria.
But the $2.5 million program is also unique in another way — half of it is being funded by American corporations, including Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and the NBA.
The companies are part of an alliance that calls itself the Global Business Coalition, which is working with the U.S. government and a consortium of non-governmental organizations, ranging from World Vision and CARE International to local church groups throughout this largely rural and poor country of 11.5 million people.
It's just the kind of program that the Bush administration is trying to promote as it focuses attention on the billions of aid dollars it is spending in Africa to combat disease. The administration is also asking Congress to double its HIV/AIDS funding commitment abroad over the next five years to $30 billion.
"I think all of the programs we'll see that are supported by U.S. taxpayers are a good example of what Americans are really like," the first lady told reporters on the flight to Senegal, her first stop in a trip that took her to Mozambique Wednesday and will end today in Mali.
In Mozambique, she announced $507 million in assistance from the U.S.-funded Millennium Challenge Corporation to build roads and battle malaria.
Bush, along with her daughter Jenna on Thursday christened a "Play Pump" at Regiment School in Lusaka. The device, essentially a merry-go-round that pumps water out of the ground as children play on it, is also part of a $60 million public-private venture.
The first lady is also using her trip to support the role of faith-based organizations in foreign-aid efforts. She planned to visit two such efforts in Zambia, where the vast majority of people are churchgoing Christians.
Canisius Banda, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said Zambia placed "great importance to the role of faith-based organizations in ... the fight against HIV and AIDS."
But he said such groups were not always supportive of certain aspects of the U.S.-backed prevention message that focuses on abstinence and faithfulness, along with condom use.
U.S. officials say they recognize that condoms are key to fighting AIDS, but argue prevention is a more effective message when aimed at an appropriate audience.
In Zambia, Bush told reporters that abstinence "is a very important component of the program."
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
(The Associated Press) Fuel rules get support A Consumer Federation of America survey conducted in April found that a large majority of Americans R...
Post a comment