The Weekly Pulse
News From Organizations and Coalitions in Advocacy for Children and Young People Globally
Vol. 150: #TakeItDown, Ready, Set, READ!, & House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing
September 18, 2023
ChildFund launched their #TakeItDown campaign to address the alarming rise in Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) circulating on online platforms. CSAM refers to any content depicting sexually explicit activities involving children, a heinous crime with profound and lifelong consequences for its survivors. Last year, over 27 million unique CSAM files were reported, which represents a 23% increase over the prior year. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports that 59% of the victims are prepubescent and 8% are infants or toddlers.
In the United States, tech companies have a legal obligation to report child sexual abuse imagery once it comes to their attention. However, they are not mandated to actively search for such content. Furthermore, there are no consequences for platforms that fail to promptly remove this material, and there is a lack of established standards concerning transparency and accountability in addressing this issue.
Recently, The #TakeItDown campaign is quicklly gaining prominence and building public interest on this issue. MSNBC's Morning Joe featured the campaign. Both wDanielle Lilly, Director of Policy at ChildFund, and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) participated in the program to underscore the importance of tackling CSAM head-on and to engage in a meaningful conversation about the campaign's objectives. ChildFund is reaching out to mobilize individuals, organizations, and policymakers to join the effort in combating CSAM and ensuring a safer online space for all children. To learn more about the #TakeItDown campaign, click here.
Foreign Policy Magazine and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) held a virtual event titled "Defending Democracy". This event explored how young changemakers are reshaping the democratic landscape. Speakers included U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA); Lu Argueta, Secretary General, Latin American Youth Network for Democracy; Marina Csikós, Project Officer, Phiren Amenca International Network; Abby Finkenauer, Special Envoy for Global Youth Issues, U.S. State Department; Maggie Lake, Veteran Journalist and Founder, Maggie Lake Media; and Eliud Luutsa, Co-Founder, Innobid & YE! Advisor, International Trade Centre in Kenya. They spoke about how youth populations worldwide has become increasingly disengaged from traditional politics, leading to a decline in formal political participation and trust in established institutions. This generation has faced complex challenges like economic inequality, environmental degradation, and geopolitical conflicts. They brought together policymakers and rising youth activists who discussed how this younger generation views democracy, how they are redefining it to address their unique challenges, and ways to support them in tackling broad-based democratic issues. It was an opportunity to engage in a crucial conversation about the future of democracy with these esteemed speakers. To learn about this event, click here.
UN Women published their new report “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2022.” The report highlights concerning trends in achieving gender equality by 2030. Despite the SDG Goal 5 aim to advance gender equality, the latest data indicates that the world is falling behind in this regard. Various factors, such as the impact of COVID-19 and challenges to women's sexual and reproductive health and rights, are further hindering progress. High levels of violence against women persist, exacerbated by global crises like health, climate, and humanitarian emergencies, particularly affecting the most vulnerable women and girls. Additionally, women continue to feel less safe than before the pandemic, and their representation in positions of power remains below parity. The lack of available data makes it difficult to track progress effectively, rendering women and girls largely invisible in these efforts. Furthermore, the report stresses the central role of women and girls in leading the way towards achieving these important development goals. The report is a call to action, emphasizing that the time to act is now to ensure a more equitable and inclusive future for all. To read the report, click here.
The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations held a hearing titled “Children are not for Sale – Global Efforts to Address Child Trafficking” The panel of witnesses for the hearing included Tim Ballard, Senior Adviser, The SPEAR Fund; Jeanne Celestine Lakin, Survivor-Expert; and Jennifer Podkul, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). During the hearing, attendees gained valuable insights into global efforts to combat child trafficking and the critical work being done to protect vulnerable children around the world. The panelists referenced the importance of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and other protective measures, such as ensuring legal counsel and social services for unaccompanied children, safe return and reintegration of unaccompanied children, strengthening border screenings for trafficking, and expanding the Central American Minors (CAM) Program. It was an informative session highlighting the prevalence of child trafficking and describing effective ways for addressing this pressing issue. The witnesses called for government oversight of the private sector to ensure appropriate work relating to children and emphasized the need to invest in protective measures for children in their countries of origin to address the root causes of child migration. Click here to learn more and to rewatch the hearing.
GCE-US, UNICEF USA, Humanity & Inclusion, Together for Girls, World Vision, Kenya Education Fund, Building Tomorrow, NABU, World Learning, International Rescue Committee, JRS USA, Basic Education Coalition, RESULTS, ChildFund, and the Youth Alliance Working Group held a hill event titled "Ready, Set, READ!" This event celebrated International Literacy Day and highlighted the transformative power of literacy and education. It also underscored the importance of U.S. foreign assistance in education, especially for marginalized children and youth who face educational barriers, including girls, children with disabilities, and those affected by crises and conflict.
Distinguished speakers from Congress, USAID, partner organizations, and youth advocates gathered to promote the reauthorization of the READ Act, which otherwise is set to expire in September 2023. The event featured remarks from congressional and government leaders, as well as prominent figures in the field of education, such as Former Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA); Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL); Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL); LeAnna Marr, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Acting Senior Coordinator of United States International Basic Education Assistance, USAID Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation’s Center for Education; Carol Jenkins, President and CEO, World Learning; Dr. Joanne Carter, Executive Director, RESULTS; Ngozi Lawal, Principal, Early Actions; Dr. Alison Byrant, Chief Research, Data, and Impact Officer at Sesame Workshop; Maha Shoaib, Fulbright Scholar from Pakistan; and Francine Niyomuhoza, Youth Leader, Global Partnership for Education.
The READ Act Reauthorization Act of 2023 (H.R.681/S.41), introduced by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Grace Meng (D-NY), along with Senators Dick Durbin and Marco Rubio (R-FL), is an extension of the 2017 READ Act. This legislation aims to renew the READ Act for an additional five years, maintaining the United States' commitment to providing quality education to children globally. The reauthorization includes provisions for updating the U.S. government's approach to enhancing foundational literacy and numeracy in basic education, emphasizing the importance of rigorous monitoring, evaluation, and annual reporting to Congress and the public. To learn more about this event and the READ Reauthorization Act, click here.
REPORTS, ARTICLES, & RESOURCES
For more information, visit the Children’s Policy and Funding Initiative website: www.childrensinitiative.net
Vol. 150: #TakeItDown, Ready, Set, READ!, & House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing
Vol. 149: PEPFAR, UNICEF Child Alert, & Foreign Policy Event
Vol. 148: READ Act Reauthorization, US-Nepal Child Protection Compact, & UN Child Rights Mainstreaming
Vol. 147: Sanctions on Russia, Sudan, and Girls Not Brides Event
Vol. 146: New USAID Indicator, International Youth Day, & Lancet Article.
Vol. 145: READ Reauthorization Act, U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Youth Power 2 event.
Vol. 144: USAID 2023 LGBTQI+ Inclusive Development Policy & Georgetown University event.
Vol. 143: YPS Act Reintroduction, Senate Commerce Committee Hearing, & U.S. Helsinki Committee Hearing.
Vol. 142: Strengthening Efforts To End Violence Against Children Act (H.R. 4748), Child Labor Prevention Task Force, & U.S. Senate Appropriations Hearing.
Vol. 141: FY 2024 Appropriations Bill, International Children with Disabilities Protection Act, & Georgetown Event.
Vol. 140: USAID Climate Strategy, UNICEF report, & Sesame Street Ukraine Workshop.
Vol. 139: M-mama emergency transportation system & House Appropriations Committee Republicans draft fiscal year 2024 SFOP Appropriations bill
Vol. 138: DRI Report, USAID FY22 Localization Report, & U.S. Department of Labor event.
Vol. 137: USAID Youth in Development Policy and Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Policy Sign-On Letter, UNICEF Report, & Children’s Week 2023.
Vol. 136: United States-Jamaica Child Protection Compact, FTC order, & U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence
Vol. 135: U.S.-Australia Joint Statement, InterAction Farm Bill article, and House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing
Vol. 134: HFAC Roundtable Discussion, ChildFund and World Vision Event, & GCE-US Spotlight Event.
Vol. 133: Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation, House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing, and Decolonizing Education Financing.
Vol. 132: Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 2023 International Summit on the Teaching Profession & Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools to Transform Education for All Children event.
Vol. 131: USAID Budget Hearing & Cities Summit of the Americas.
Vol. 130: USAID Budget Hearing & Cities Summit of the Americas.
Vol. 130: USAID Youth in Development Policies, USAID report on tracking funds for children and youth, and Hill Hearings.
Vol. 129: U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls, InterAction Aid Delivers Report, & How to Engage the World Bank Around Child Rights event.
Vol. 128: GWI WPS White Paper, DRI NYT Letter to the Editor & The Global Boyhood Initiative and Equimundo event.
Vol. 127: USAID Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment Policy, World Vision Policy Paper, & Summit for Democracy.
Vol. 126: USAID Policy Launches, U.S. Department of State Country Reports, and U.S. Department of State Women and Youth Fireside Chat.
Vol. 125: White House GPC, House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing, and 12-year anniversary of the war in Syria.
Vol. 124: U.S. President’s Budget FY24, UNICEF Report, & International Women’s Day.
Vol. 123: Calls to Action, White House GPC Report, & UN Human Rights Council 52nd Session.
Vol. 122: WHO EDC Guidelines & Cities Summit of the Americas.
Vol. 121: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, ECW High-Level Financing Conference, & First Focus Child Immigration Webinar
Vol. 120: President Biden’s State of the Union, Earthquakes in Türkiye & Syria, and International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Vol. 119: InterAction Aid Delivers 2023 report, 20th Anniversary of PEPFAR, & multiple Calls for Submissions
Vol. 118: READ Reauthorization Act Reintroduced, PLAN International Report, & Education in Emergencies Event
Vol. 117: Education in Emergencies: A Global Call for 222 Million Children, UN 92nd session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, & the World Economic Forum.
Vol. 116: FY2023 omnibus appropriations numbers & language, Sign-on Letters, & Global Rights for Women.
Vol. 115: FY2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, & the U.S. Strategy on Global Women’s Economic Security.
Vol. 114:2022 U.S. Strategy to Prevent Gender-Based Violence Globally, reintroduced International Violence Against Women Act, & the Youth Alliance Working Group Updates
Vol. 113: International Children with Disability Protection Act Event, APCCA Event, & Safe from the Start ReVisioned launch.
Vol. 112: C is for Cookie Social, 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, & U.S. Department of State Special Envoy for Global Youth Issues.
Vol. 111: COP27, U.S. Department of State Agency Financial Report FY2022, & EU Digital Services Act.
Vol. 110: Children & Youth at COP27, GCE-US Community of Practice Meeting, & USAID Grants.
Vol. 109: First Focus Scorecard, The Brave Movement, & GCE-US Call-to-Action
Vol. 108: Congressional Caucus for Children & Youth Globally, UN Security Council Debate, & Upcoming Events.
Vol. 107: The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, The Brave Movement, & AAP Global Mental Health Summit.
Vol. 106: The International Day of the Girl, First Focus & ForeignAssistance.gov, and the "What Makes Me?" Report.
Vol. 105: First Focus Children’s Budget Book 2022, World Mental Health Day, & Bureau of International Labor Affairs Child Labor Reports.
Vol. 104: The International Children with Disabilities Protection Act, the READ Act Reauthorization, & Keeping Girls in School Hill Event.
Vol. 103: The Transforming Education Summit, Organizational Sign-On Letter, & Youth Protection and Safeguarding.
Vol. 102: UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Together for Girls Report, and CPFI Youth Alliance Working Group Update
Vol. 101: UNDP Report, Updated COVID-19 Orphan numbers, & Lancet Report.
Vol. 100: First Focus Sign-On Letter, U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa, & The End Tuberculosis Now Act of 2022.
Vol. 99: GCE-US OMB Letter, WHO Youth Council, & New UNICEF publication.
Vol. 98: First Focus backgrounder, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) brief, & Event on Youth Perspectives on the Nexus of Climate and Peacebuilding
Vol. 97: Children’s Interagency Coordinating Council, International Youth Day 2022, & Biden’s Africa Agenda.
Vol. 96: The Children’s Safe Welcome Act, Washington Post Op-Ed, & USAID Policy Framework: Draft for Comment virtual event.
Vol. 95: Keeping Girls in School Act MarkUp, USAID Policy Framework draft, & various House and Senate Foreign Affairs hearings.
Vol. 94: Global Education Advocacy Day, The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, & U.S. Department of State report.
Vol. 93: The Brave Movement, the Youth Alliance Working Group, & Devex World 2022.
Vol. 92: Devex & The Hill Op-Eds, G7 Summit Final Communique, and How to Child Rights Event.
Vol. 91: International Children with Disabilities Protection Act, Reach Every Mother and Child Act (Reach Act), USAID Humanitarian Policy, & G7 Summit.
Vol. 90: The FY 23 House of Representatives State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict (IDESVC), & USAID comments on US Global Water Strategy draft.
Vol. 89: U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing, Together to #ENDviolence Leaders Event, & Children’s Week 2022.
Vol. 88: FY 2023 President’s Budget Request and Congressional Budget Justification Appendix 2, USAID Menstrual Health and Hygiene guidance, & USAID’s Leading Through Learning Global Platform.
Vol. 87: First Focus Legislative Scorecard, Youth Alliance Working Group, & United Nations held the 90th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.