Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

31 posts categorized "Development"

African-American Voices for Africa: Behind the Scenes of Our Public Service Announcement

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Screen grab from our African-American Voices for Africa PSA video. (Shot by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

By Laura Elizabeth Pohl

"I've got an idea," my colleague Racine Tucker-Hamilton said to me, excitement lighting up her face. "What do you think about producing a public service announcement?"

A television network had been asking Racine if we here at Bread had a PSA about our African-American Voices for Africa (AAVA) initiative, which aims to get African-Americans involved in advocating for policies that eradicate hunger, poverty, and disease in Africa. I loved Racine's idea and had seen plenty of PSAs but never produced one myself.

We both started by studying classic PSAs, like "Brain on Drugs" and "You Could Learn a Lot from a Dummy" from the '80s. We read articles about producing effective PSAs. And most importantly, we found other creative people to work with, including Robert Wesley Branch, a radio talk show host and former producer for the Discovery Channel, TLC, BET and TV One.

And so began our seven-week journey into creating a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) raising awareness about AAVA. Seven weeks might sound like a long time but it's not when you still have other work to do.

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Laura Pohl videotapes interview with Bread staffer Lamont Thompson and Racine Tucker-Hamilton monitors audio. (Photo: Racine Tucker-Hamilton/Bread for the World)

We went through almost a dozen script revisions (who was it that said, "I would have written a shorter letter but I didn't have the time"?—writing short really is difficult). Our overall concept changed twice. We enlisted our New York-based colleague Derrick Boykin to narrate the piece and found an audio producer there, Natasha Del Toro, who recorded his narration for us. Two D.C.-based colleagues, Kristen Archer and Lamont Thompson, agreed to the only two speaking parts in the video. I spent hours researching music (jazz, classical, trance, rock—I listened to it all). I sifted through dozens of film clips I had previously shot in various African countries. Then I edited through the very best ones, cutting out short snippets that flowed well together, fit with our positive message and reinforced the narration. In all, there were five PSA versions before we settled on the final one.

We had such fun producing this piece. I often say the best work comes out of collaborating with smart, creative people. This is definitely the case with our PSA. Watch below and let us know what you think.

Laura Elizabeth Pohl is the multimedia manager at Bread for the World.

Why 1,000 Days?

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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.

The Large Cost of a Small Operation

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A farmer in the Mississippi Delta region. People who earn their living as farmers have a unique role in society as stewards of an essential public good—an agriculture system that feeds and nourishes everyone. (Photo by Todd Post/Bread for the World)

by Gabrielle Hall

Unbeknownst to most people, thousands of local farmers across the country work tirelessly to harvest enough to get by each year. Unfortunately, the current food system in United States creates hardships for small farmers to stay afloat.

“It's very important to look at our broken food system, which actually comes from a broken agriculture system. For many years, the big guys were the only ones that counted and the little guys had to do the stuff by themselves.” said Robin Robbins, food safety and marketing manager at Appalachian Harvest, a company that supports small farmers and purchases from local farms to put together truckloads of fruits and vegetables.

Here is a look at some of the other challenges small farmers face:

Continue reading "The Large Cost of a Small Operation" »

What Do Liberia and Virginia Have in Common?

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A market in Liberia. (Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

by Kristen Archer.

Liberia is about the same size as Virginia, but its poverty rate is nearly quadruple that of African-Americans in that state. 

“Hunger and poverty among African-Americans mirror the unjust circumstances many people in African nations endure,” said Rev. Derrick Boykin, associate for African-American leadership outreach at Bread for the World. “However, hunger and poverty impacts many African nations more severely, often resulting in disease or even death.”

Continue reading "What Do Liberia and Virginia Have in Common?" »

American Drought Could Be a Disaster for Developing Countries

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Faustine Wabwire (left) interviewed by VOA-TV about the global impact of the U.S. drought.

by Racine Tucker-Hamilton

Wheat, corn, and soybean prices have risen more than 30 percent since mid June.

Not a big deal, you think? Well, for some families in the developing world it could mean the difference between life and death. Poor people spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food, and when there is the slightest increase in price it could mean the difference between eating and going hungry.

The current U.S. drought could have a devastating impact not only in this country but around the world. This afternoon, Faustine Wabwire—a senior foreign assistance policy analyst with Bread for the World Institute—discussed the issue with Voice of American correspondent Ndimyake Mwakalyelye. The interview will air next week on the VOA television program "In Focus."

To learn more about how the drought in the American Midwest will be felt around the world, read Wabwires's blog post “Is Another Food Crisis Brewing?

Racine-tucker-hamilton

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

 

Have You Thanked a Farmer Today?

Have You Hugged a Farmer

The new Food Resource Bank T-shirt inspires Dulce Gamboa, who had an opportunity to thank many farmers at the FRB annual meeting.

by Dulce Gamboa

Well, I hadn’t had the chance to thank a farmer until I read the slogan on a Foods Resource Bank (FRB) staff T-shirt last Saturday during the FRB annual meeting in Kidron, Ohio. Thankfully, I was in a room full of farmers! It was a good reminder about the key role that they play in our daily lives.

The Foods Resource Bank connects farmers locally and globally as a Christian response to end hunger. Through community growing projects, FRB members and volunteers raise money in the United States to sustain agricultural projects overseas.  The model is straightforward: farmers support farmers.

At the FRB annual meeting, farmers talked about the challenges of small-holder agriculture. Arlyn Schipper, from Iowa, explained common problems, such as excess or scarcity of water, soil erosion, and price volatility.

This year Arlyn is praying for rain on his own land. He needs five to seven inches of rain to maintain his cattle and crops, but so far has gotten only around three inches. Arlyn stressed that he will be okay even if he doesn’t get more rain, thanks to his insurance. But farmers in developing countries don’t have the same support. That is why the FRB partners with 15 organizations, like Catholic Relief Services and the Mennonite Central Committee, to make sure that small-holder farmers around the world have access to credit, new technology, and best farming practices.

Arlyn’s efforts on behalf of fellow farmers extend to Washington, DC.  He has made Heart of the Hill visits to the nation's capital. This joint effort of FRB and Bread for the World fosters interaction between farmers and their members of Congress. These visits delivery two strong messages at the core of the FRB: local ownership increases the sustainability of agricultural projects overseas and U.S. farmers support an increase in productivity and sustainability by all small-holder farmers.

For example, during the FRB annual meeting, Rory Lewandowski, a Wayne County extension agent, talked about his work in Central America, where he has been working side by side with small-holder farmers.  From earning their trust to implementing and adapting the latest technology under challenging environments, Rory is living proof of what farmers are doing now to end hunger in our time.

Dulce Gamboa is a project coordinator for the church relations department at Bread for the World.

PEPFAR's Vital Role in the Fight Against AIDS

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U.S. foreign assistance programs like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has helped reverse the growth of HIV/AIDS in many developing countries and could provide tactics for reducing the epidemic in the United States. Photo courtesy The Bill and & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To a large degree, the International AIDS Conference under way in Washington, DC, is a celebration of life. Yes, the deadly disease continues to loom over our world, with no known cure, but HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence—for those who realize that they have the disease and have access to life saving medicines. After doctors began treating HIV with powerful combinations of antiretroviral drugs in 1996, life expectancies for those infected changed from months to a full, normal spans.

Around the world, the number of people newly infected has steadily declined in recent years as has the number of AIDS-related deaths. According to Dr. Diane Havlir, U.S. Co-Chair of AIDS 2012, new scientific breakthroughs have given leaders in the AIDS movement hope that we may be beginning to see an end to the epidemic.

Progress against HIV/AIDS has been a remarkable achievement in which diverse communities worked together to apply political pressure, find funding, conduct research, and share tactics. U.S. foreign assistance programs like the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has provided support to tens of millions of people through prevention, treatment, and care. Bread for the World members have advocated for funding for PEPFAR since it was launched in 2003.

In 2009, Bread for the World shared the story of Florence Chakulya, a midwife in Zambia who is preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child, one pregnancy at a time—with resources provided by PEPFAR. Although she often must work by candlelight, Chakulya is able to give each of her clients an HIV test and adminster Nevirapine, a drug that helps to prevent transmission of the HIV virus from a mother to her baby during delivery. In this way, the battle against AIDS is being won.

Continue reading "PEPFAR's Vital Role in the Fight Against AIDS " »

How Can We Get There Without a Map?

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Photo by Anne Poulsen/ World Food Programme

Did you ever try to get to a far-off destination without a map?  It’s not easy.

Today, Bread for the World will join a coalition of 50 faith-based, humanitarian, and advocacy groups to present A Roadmap for Continued U.S. Leadership to End Global Hunger. At a Capitol Hill event later this afternoon, members of Congress, policymakers, and NGO leaders will officially unfold the Roadmap, charting a course for a hunger-free world through smart investments.

The document reviews progress over the last three years towards the goals set out in the original Roadmap and offers recommendations to ensure continued effectiveness of U.S. global food security programs.

The Original Roadmap

In the wake of the global food price crisis of 2008, a broad-based coalition of non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, and faith-based organizations developed a document titled the Roadmap to End Global Hunger, which was endorsed by over 40 organizations and became the basis for legislation introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2817).  The Roadmap presented a vision for a comprehensive and integrated U.S. strategy to increase global food security, including suggested levels of financial support for emergency, safety net, nutrition and agricultural development programs over five years. 

Hunger remains one of the world's most pressing challenges, with almost a billion people—or one in seven worldwide—suffering chronic hunger.  In addition, each year up to 100 million more may face acute hunger brought on by natural disasters and conflicts.  Women and children are disproportionately affected by hunger and malnutrition.  With population growth placing a strain on a limited natural resource base, and changing weather patterns creating more droughts and floods, feeding the world of the future presents a serious challenge.

Continue reading "How Can We Get There Without a Map?" »

Upholding the Bipartisan Consensus on Development

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ACDI/VOCA's Kenya Maize Development Program nearly tripled maize yields for small-scale farmers in Kenya, about a third of whom are women. New technologies like improved seeds helped farmers realize these gains. Photo by ACDI/VOCA.

Ambassador Mark Dybul, former U.S. global AIDS coordinator, writes that a battle is brewing in Congress over whether or not to uphold an existing bipartisan consensus on health and development. At issue is U.S. support for self-sufficiency programs in developing countries, setting the goal for those countries to take primary responsibility for their citizens’ health and well-being.  

Fortunately, the brewing battle is not between Republications and Democrats.

“The reason for the strong bipartisan agreement is rather simple: it’s the right thing to do for the American taxpayer to save and lift up more lives with the highest return on investment—and that, in turn, is good for our national economy and security,” writes Ambassador Dybul in a recent op-ed in The Hill.

Those who favor this consensus argue that local organizations are closer to the ground and, thus, can accomplish more with less money. The days of paternalistic development are over, say supporters; developing countries no longer welcome support run by foreign governments or development institutions.   

Those who are against increased support to self-sufficiency programs often cite corruption as an issue. They also argue that local organizations cannot manage large, complex development projects.

“A change in mindset is needed," writes Ambassador Dybul, a leader of the Consensus on Development Reform (a project of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network). “U.S.-based organizations should begin to shift from being primary implementers of programs to agents of technical support and exchange.”

The result of this battle will affect two major programs, in particular, for which Bread for the World activists advocated—and which they continue to support: the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the  Millennium Challenge Corporation. Both were started by Republicans and continue to be supported by Democrats. Such programs are keys to our efforts to modernize U.S. foreign aid

Adlai-amorAdlai J. Amor is director of communications of Bread for the World.

The Jamay Jalisco Club

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The Jamay Jalisco Club in Los Angeles raises money for community projects in the town of Jamay, Mexico. Screen shot from video by Jon Vidar for Bread for the World.

Across the United States, people like Pedro Ochoa are raising funds for community projects in poor Mexican towns they left behind when they migrated (watch video below). Ochoa, vice president of the Jamay Jalisco Club in Los Angeles, is part of a vast network of U.S.-based Hometown Associations that send money — remittances — to Mexico and Central America. Ochoa's latest project is getting a school bus to Jamay, Mexico, his hometown, so children there don’t have to walk far to school.

“Our plan is to do what they do here in the States: pick up the kids from wherever they are,” said Ochoa. “I don’t have much family in Jamay but I have my heart to help people in it.”

But while remittances can improve community infrastructure, they rarely result in jobs or investments that give people alternatives to migrating from their countries for work. There’s a growing recognition in the diaspora that there need to be more projects resulting in sustainable income in hometowns. Agencies like the Inter-American Foundation are already working with diaspora investors to support small businesses and agricultural enterprises in high-migration countries like El Salvador. Larger agencies like the Millennium Challenge Corporation and USAID can expand these programs to places like Jamay in Mexico and throughout Central America.

To learn more about the links between remittances, immigration, and development, read my colleague Andrew Wainer's latest paper on the topic and visit Bread's immigration web page.

Laura-pohlLaura Elizabeth Pohl is multimedia manager at Bread for the World. Follow her on Twitter @lauraepohl.

 


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