Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

51 posts from August 2012

A New Image of Africa

Africa 8.31.12
Workers at a business in Lusaka, Zambia. (Photo by Racine Tucker-Hamilton/Bread for the World)

by Derrick Boykin

Ian Birrell, the former deputy editor of the Guardian newspapers, has written a fascinating essay that challenges common perceptions that many Americans and Europeans have of Africa. “Our Image of Africa is Hopelessly Obsolete” highlights social, political, and economic indicators of an emerging continent. He asserts that Africa is “on the edge of economic takeoff similar to those seen so dramatically in China and India,” having shaken off the malaise of colonial exploitation, cold war politics, famine, conflict, and war

Birrell makes a compelling argument, substantiated by undeniable facts.

My travels last year to three African nations opened my eyes to this burgeoning African Renaissance. Meetings with government officials, clergypersons, and civil society leaders challenged many of my own beliefs. While I saw firsthand some of the colossal challenges still facing the continent—related to hunger, poverty, disease, infrastructure, and governance—that was only part of the story.

There are clear signs of progress. Brilliant, courageous, and determined African leaders are rising to the occasion by taking their continent’s destiny into their own hands. During my travels, I met one such leader—Dr. Mary Shawa. This champion is successfully leading the charge against malnutrition and HIV/AIDS in her home country of Malawi, with her voice being projecting broadly throughout Africa.

Economic development in many of the African nations I visited is apparent. In city centers like Lilongwe, Lusaka, and Dar es Saalam, this fact is undeniable—evident in the numerous development projects under construction. These are but a few empirical examples of the untold story of today’s Africa that I was blessed to experience firsthand.

In light of this progress, as Birrell suggests, it is imperative that our national perspective shifts to embrace the current realities on the continent. More importantly—as people of faith who will not rest until hunger, poverty and disease are eradicated in Africa—we must urge our nation’s decision makers to embrace policies that support the remarkable progress being made.

Maintaining a circle of protection around funding for poverty-focused foreign assistance programs helps nurture that progress. That is why I stand behind the Senate Appropriation Committee's FY13 funding levels and support reauthorizing and strengthening the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).

Yes, a new Africa is emerging. Let’s be part of that success.

Derrick-boykinRev. Derrick L. Boykin, is Bread for the World's associate for African American leadership outreach

 

Hunger QOTD: David W. Brooks

Hunger QOTD 8.30.12 
Sharmila Chaudhari feeds her daughter Sanjana, 19 months, at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

"If we are going to stop wars on this earth, we are going to have to make war on hunger our number one priority."

David W. Brooks, member, Presidential Commission on World Hunger 

The Group Affect in Full Effect

Group affect 8.29.12
 
Bread for the World multimedia manager Laura Pohl videotapes interview with Bread staffer Lamont Thompson and Racine Tucker-Hamilton monitors audio. (Photo courtesy of Racine Tucker-Hamilton/Bread for the World)


by Racine Tucker-Hamilton

When I walk into the Bread for the World office each morning, I never know what my day will hold…literally. Earlier this week I was “holding” a microphone and monitoring audio during a video shoot.

Despite my day-to-day surprises, one thing is a constant, whatever I’m doing—writing press releases, creating  Facebook posts, or pitching to reporters—I know that my work will be part of a team effort. I am fortunate to work with a very talented communications department. Many of my team members are newsroom professionals, and they not only embrace the idea of collaborative thought and teamwork—they live by it. I know that my pitch to a reporter isn’t as compelling without the best photos or videos from our multimedia manager; my copy editor ensures that my media releases don’t include typos or errors; and our online creative unit makes sure that my message is disseminated widely with strong, reinforcing graphics.

Last October on a trip to Africa, I witnessed teamwork in full effect in a small village in southern Malawi. The women from Malawi’s Jombo village gathered for group cooking classes as part of a joint USAID and Catholic Charities project. Together, the women learned how to prepare nutritious foods and then returned to their homes to dish up healthy meals for their families. These woman understood that they can accomplish a great deal collectively, that as a team they can improve the lives of their families, especially babies and young children.

You too, are part of a team that can make a difference in the lives of hungry and poor people here in the United States and around the world. When you contact your members of Congress and tell them that you want them support legislation that helps poor people lift themselves out of poverty, you are making an impact. 

But imagine what could happen if you ask members of your church or book club or parents at your child’s school to join your efforts: your group approach would surely get the attention of your Congressional representatives.

Put the group affect in full effect.

Racine-tucker-hamilton

Racine Tucker-Hamilton
 is media relations manager at Bread for the World.

Hunger QOTD: Buzz Aldrin

HQOTD 8.28.12
(Photo by Flickr user BobMacInnes)

"If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger."

Edwin Eugene "BuzzAldrin, Jr,was the second human to walk on the moon.

Why 1,000 Days?

ITD blog 8.27.12
In early 2011, Desire came to Omoana House, a rehabiliation center in Njeru, Uganda, as a malnourished young girl. But with proper healthcare and feeding – including nutrition supplements provided by USAID, she has grown healthy. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

by Inez Torres Davis.

Nutrition for the pregnant woman and her child through the age of two years is such a critical window of opportunity. Women with our own children or women who have never given birth, but have participated in nurturing children “get” how critical this is. And, maybe it’s easier for us to have these conversations for this reason, but I would really like to see men of faith step up for this one and make the commitment to have these conversations!

The 1,000 Days Movement addresses the need for those who “have” to be sure that child-bearing women, women who are pregnant, and infants from birth to two years of age receive the nutritional diet they require to avoid life-threatening physical and mental health issues such as stunting, protein deficiency, and cyclical starvation. Cyclical starvation is when the body has a hunger season each year in which important nutrients are completely lacking from their diets thus providing short term and long term health problems and in many cases, death.

While visiting three countries in Africa with Bread for the World in 2011, I saw the raw and measurable difference nutritionally caring for pregnant women and infants makes in the life of a community as well as in the life of a child. One Malawi village had not had a single case of cholera since learning how to secure clean water, sanitation, and create supplemental nutrient-rich feedings for pregnant women and babies. Dozens of Zambian infants are receiving healthy starts in health clinics and through the campaign for non-HIV positive mothers to nurse their babies.

Here in the United States, programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the food stamp program) provide a nutritionally sound base for children who would otherwise suffer the debilitating effects of malnutrition. Dollar for dollar supporting the nutrition of pregnant women and babies is money “best” spent whether it is spent domestically or as international development aid.

The call of the gospel is the call to be present with the disenfranchised. I can’t think of a more disenfranchised or disempowered person than the infant born to a malnourished woman. Simply put? This is the work of the gospel. Start to share this good news!

 

Ineztorres-davis-230wInez Torres Davis is director for justice at Women of the ELCA.

How Cold Soup Could Help End Tomato Farm Worker Abuses

Recipe for Chage 8.27.12

                                                                                                   (Photo by Flickr user photo _ de)

by Racine Tucker-Hamilton.

Earlier this summer we told you about Bread for the World partner, the International Justice Mission’s campaign, “Recipe for Change”. The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness about the issue of abuses in America’s tomato fields. The campaign asks major supermarket chains to support the Fair Food Program and develop a zero-tolerance policy against the mistreatment of workers on Florida’s tomato farms. Each week Recipe for Change features a tomato recipe from a guest writer and this week’s contribution is from Bread’s president, Rev. David Beckmann. Learn more about how you can be a part of “Recipe for Change” and make a mean bowl of gazpacho.

Racine-tucker-hamilton


Racine Tucker-Hamilton is media relations manager at Bread for the World.

Striving for Better Grades

Better grades blog 8.24.12

(Photo courtesy Meals on Wheels)

by Kristen Archer

We can all recall the nervous anticipation of waiting to receive our report cards in school—hoping we were able to bring that C+ in chemistry up to a B, praying we were able to maintain a solid A in history, dreading the look on our parents’ faces when our geometry grade was finally revealed. 

Our days of receiving quarterly report cards for our own academic performance may be over, but there is one report card we should take note of: The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger’s Senior Hunger Report Card

Distributed at an aging conference earlier this week—Perspectives on Nutrition and Aging: A National Summit—the report card grades our nation in eight areas with regards to senior hunger:

  • overall performance,
  • economics
  • geography
  • women’s studies
  • multicultural studies
  • home economics
  • health and physical education
  • and ethics.

Surprisingly, the nation failed to score higher than a C-minus in any of the categories. 

Continue reading "Striving for Better Grades" »

Can You Make It Through the Month?

 Spent. 8.24.12

(image courtesy Urban Ministries of Durham)

by Robin Stephenson

Simulating poverty does not give one the lived experience of poverty, but it can begin to expose the truth about choices—or lack thereof—that people working low-wage jobs face every day.

We are called to compassion—meaning to suffer together, but it can be hard to make a compassionate connection when paths don't cross. So when I’m invited to speak to church groups, I  emphasize personal stories, knowing that statistics don’t always engender compassion and solidarity.

A few years ago I gained greater compassion and  insight into the realities of poverty when I participated in an elaborate simulation. Even though it was imaginary, the activity made me stop and think about poverty as a time consuming and complicated condition.

Continue reading "Can You Make It Through the Month?" »

Celebrate the Farmer

Marie-Crise

Marie Crise is able to use her SNAP benefits to purchase fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables at the Abingdon Farmers Market in Abingdon, Va. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

by Eric Bond

On Monday, New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman wrote a tribute to the farmer—and the joy to be had from fresh produce. He points out that as much as chefs are in the spotlight these days, the bulk of the hard work and artistry in a meal happens on the farm:

These are tasks that take weeks, if not months, of daily activity and maintenance. Like anything else, you can get good at it, but the challenges that nature ... and the market ... throw at you are never even close to being under control in the same way that a cook controls the kitchen.

As Bittman revels in the fruits of labor coming to farmers markets in the waning days of summer, he recognizes the reality that many people do not have the access or the finances to enjoy the pleasures of fresh produce. Bittman calls for the following actions, which will better support small farmers, feed more hungry people, and share the bounty of a functioning farm system:

Continue reading "Celebrate the Farmer" »

Quote of the Day: Simone Weil

Simone-weil-wide

It is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has a chance of coming to his assistance.  Simone Weil

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