W.Va. Woman Joins Fight Against Extreme Poverty in Africa


A Morgantown woman is representing West Virginia in an international effort to fight extreme poverty in Africa. Jamie Williams was inspired by her faith and her previous volunteer work to take up the cause. 

Williams is a West Virginia University alumna. She made her first lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., in February for the ONE Campaign Summit. Co-founded by U2’s Bono, the ONE Campaign is an international group working to end extreme poverty and disease. Williams was in D.C. to urge members of Congress to take up the Electrify Africa Act.

The act directs Congress and President Obama to focus foreign aid on expanding access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa by building new infrastructure. 

“Really, the goals would be to partner with oversees private investments. So it really doesn’t cost anything to the taxpayers here,” she said.

Access to electricity helps businesses to grow, which leads to more investment and a rise in personal income, Williams said. Access to the utility can also improve health outcomes in African countries.

Williams said she was well-received by West Virginia’s Congressional delegation and is confident that ONE Campaign’s message was heard. Similar legislation passed the House of Representatives last year, but wasn’t taken up in the Senate.