Water advocates meet with Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) on Capitol Hill.

An online survey conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation found that 97% of Hill staffers surveyed said that constituent visits have ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of influence on a Member of Congress. The recent enactment of the Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014 supports this statistic, illustrating the far-reaching impact of constituent visits and citizen advocacy.

In 2014, Schrayer & Associates worked with World Vision to plan H2O:DC, a two day conference that brought supporters from across the country to our nation’s capital to advocate for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs abroad. As a part of their advocacy efforts, leadership from World Vision and humanitarian groups like WASH Advocates, Food for the Hungry, and Micah Challenge met with key legislators on Capitol Hill to increase U.S. efforts to improve global access to clean water and sanitation.

On December 19, 2014, the Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014 was signed into law. The bill, which aims to provide clean water and sanitation to 2.5 billion people who do not have access to basic sanitation and to 750 million people who lack access to clean water, was passed in large part due to the citizen advocacy and grassroots efforts of humanitarian groups like World Vision, who have worked passionately and tirelessly with legislators from across the aisle for over seven years.

Citizen advocacy works, and this case (among many others) is proof.

I applaud bipartisan leaders, Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ted Poe (R-TX) and Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bob Corker (R-TN), who were crucial in enacting this legislation, and I commend the citizen advocates who added their voice in order to make a difference for billions of people around the world. It’s a wonderful reminder about the power and effectiveness of citizen voices.