This week two more Iowa cities will join the “One” campaign that seeks an end to extreme poverty and AIDS in Africa. Reverend Russ Melby, the Iowa director for the Church World Service, is a volunteer leader for the “One” campaign in Iowa. “Iowans, historically since I’ve been here 21 years, have a great interest, it seems to me, in confronting the reality of hunger both in the state of Iowa and throughout the world,” Melby says.
According to Melby, the continent of Africa is plagued by both poverty and AIDS. Melby was in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in January, 2005 and he saw the “crushing realism” of how devastating AIDS is to the middle generation — with parents are dying, leaving behind orphaned children. The British charity “Save the Children” said today (Monday) that nine million children in Africa have lost a mother to AIDS.
Melby says it’s time for decision-makers like Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle — chairman of the House Budget Committee — to act. “Our message to Mr. Nussle is to respectfully request that he increase the amount of money that will go from our government to a variety of organizations that are combating HIV and AIDS in so-called third-world countries, particularly the continent Africa where the crisis is most severe as of today,” Melby says.
The cities of Ames, Cedar Falls, Clinton and Manchester have joined the “One” campaign. The Des Moines City Council will pass a similar resolution this (Monday) evening and the city council in Iowa City is scheduled to take action tomorrow (Tuesday). Governor Vilsack previously signed a proclamation declaring Iowa part of the “one” campaign, too. The “One” campaign was launched by rock star Bono. The group’s address on the Internet is www.one.org.