Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

231 posts categorized "Foreign Aid"

Building Resilience for Women Farmers Through Trade

AGOA will help women farmers, like Anna Gaye from Senegal, increase economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest prevalence of food insecurity.

By Robin Stephenson

Give a woman a fish, and she will feed her family for a day, but teach a woman to fish, and her family will never hunger. Give her access to a market, and her community will prosper.

Last week, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade preference bill, passed out of the Senate. If made law, the bill is one more piece of the puzzle to help women farmers – and their male counterparts – in their efforts to feed both their families and communities in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest prevalence of food insecurity in the world.

Boosting the earning power of women as food producers to increase gender equality is a theme in the 2015 Hunger Report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger. Women are the primary agents the world relies upon to end hunger. They are also critical to a nation’s economic growth.

AGOA was established in 2000 to spur market-led growth in sub-Saharan Africa by providing duty-free access to American markets. In the past 15 years, AGOA has boosted energy and apparel exports, contributing to job creation. The current legislation expires at the end of September. 

The bill passed by the Senate extends the trade policy for 10 years and includes improvements to increase agricultural exports. U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) introduced an amendment that will strengthen the trade capacity of smallholder women farmers. Only about three percent of AGOA exports are agricultural, according to the Brookings Institution.

An estimated 80 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for their livelihood; 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 70 percent of employment comes from agriculture. Creating opportunity in markets can spur greater economic growth and reduce poverty.

Over half the farmers in the region are women, but historically they have had unequal access to resources. The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) estimates if women had the same access as male farmers to resources, agricultural output could increase by up to 4 percent in developing countries. Gender inequality impedes a country’s potential to compete and prosper in a global economy. 

Feed the Future is a U.S.-led initiative that addresses the agency of women farmers. The program aims to increase gender equality and bolster food security in developing countries. (The future of the program also depends on congressional action). In 2013 alone, seven million smallholder farmers increased crop production and provided nutritious food to 12.5 million children with the help of Feed the Future.

AGOA builds on the work of Feed the Future and can open up markets and new opportunities for women farmers to sell their excess product. The House must vote on the bill next.

Women can and are overcoming hunger and poverty in their communities when given the opportunity. Increasing women’s agency as food producers is the first step in creating food security. Getting them to market will complete the journey.

Read Bread for the World’s press release:  U.S.-Africa Trade Legislation Passes in Senate.

Robin Stephenson is the national lead for social media and a senior regional organizer at Bread for the World.

Let's Build Food Security For Women and Children Everywhere

Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

By Beth Ann Saracco

If you have a garden, you are probably enjoying flowers or are seeing green shoots this spring. In Washington, D.C., the seeds you planted with your advocacy through Bread for the World are also taking root and growing.

Just last week, the Senate introduced S. 1252, The Global Food Security Act. This legislation makes permanent the U.S.’s food security program, Feed the Future. It also calls for a first-ever comprehensive U.S. strategy to address hunger and malnutrition in developing countries.

Let's move this legislation forward! Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. senators and urge them to support and cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (S. 1252).

Last month, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed H.R. 1567, the Global Food Security Act, a companion bill to S. 1252. This was no small feat, and thanks to you and other Bread members, our advocacy continues to push these bipartisan bills forward in the legislative process. Now, with a bill also introduced in the Senate, not only are these seeds taking root, but we can also envision the fruit they will soon bear.

These acts could improve the livelihoods of over 500 million small-scale farmers in the world, many of whom are women. The legislation’s efforts to address nutrition among mothers and children will help the U.S. achieve its goal to end preventable child deaths, almost half of which are caused by malnutrition.

Feed the Future is already successful. In 2013 alone, more than seven million smallholder farmers grew more food, and more than 12.5 million children received nutrition interventions.

However, Feed the Future is currently not a permanent program. In order to ensure it continues beyond the current administration, Congress needs to pass the Global Food Security Act, and the president must sign it into law. Call your U.S. senators today, and ask them to cosponsor S. 1252. Let’s bring our advocacy efforts to fruition!

Beth Ann Saracco is a senior international policy analyst at Bread for the World.

Feed the Future Legislation Moves One Step Closer to Law

By Robin Stephenson

Renowned anti-hunger crusader and U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says he loves Feed the Future, a U.S.-led initiative that combats hunger and malnutrition and improves global food security. 

Three-year-old Tunda Ramiya is a living testament to what the program can do. 

New Approaches to Nutrition Bear Fruit in MorogoroTunda was born in Tanzania’s Morogoro region. Forty-four percent of children in Morogoro under age five are chronically malnourished, robbing them of normal cognitive and bodily development. But Tunda is thriving.

Feed the Future gave her mother the resources and knowledge to ensure Tunda - and the rest of her family - eats a healthy and nutritious diet.

There are roughly 165 million children worldwide who deserve the same opportunity as Tunda. Instead, these children grow up stunted and will never reach their full potential. 

“Hunger is a political condition,” McGovern said in a recent interview about the program’s efficacy. “I mean, we have all the ingredients and know how to end it,” he said. “What we haven’t had in the past is the political will to put it all together and actually implement a plan. Feed the Future is the first big step in that direction.”

Feed the Future is the first-ever comprehensive U.S. food security strategy to address hunger and malnutrition in developing countries and take a holistic approach to ending hunger. 

Since the successful program was created in 2009, it has depended on the good will of Congress for a yearly appropriation. By authorizing (making permanent) Feed the Future, further gains will be made in improving the livelihoods of these smallholder farmers, strengthening maternal and child nutrition, and building capacity for long-term agricultural growth.

In other words, we need to make it a law.

Last month, the Global Food Security Act – the legislation that would make the program codified into law – passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (H.R. 1567).

The bill got one step closer to becoming law yesterday. U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Johnny Isakson (R- Ga.) introduced the Global Food Security Act of 2015 (S. 1252) last night in the Senate.

Read more in Bread for the World's statement to the press released earlier today: Bread for the World Applauds Introduction of Global Food Security Act in Senate

Take Action: Call your senators TODAY (800-826-3688). Urge them to co-sponsor the Global Food Security Act (S. 1252) to improve global food security and better combat chronic hunger and malnutrition!

Photo: Tunda and her family. Africare via Feed the Future

Robin Stephenson is the national lead for social media and a senior regional organizer at Bread for the World.

We Pray for Nepal

Farmer in Nepal.  USAID

By Bread Staff

Join us as we pray for the people of Nepal.  A magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit central Nepal on Saturday, from Mount Everest to Katmandu and points west, killing hundreds of thousands and leaving more than 100,000 homeless and in desperate need of relief.

The death toll is now at roughly 3,800, according to news reports.

We also pray for our many partner organizations, such as Catholic Relief Services and Church World Service, among many others, who are working hard to save lives in Nepal.

Nepal is a Feed the Future country.  As the poorest country in South Asia, two out of every three Nepalese suffer from food insecurity each year. The earthquake will make both short- and long-term food assistance critical. 

Please join in prayer for the people of Nepal. This prayer is from the Catholic Relief Services resource center.

Loving God,

We pray for all those affected by the earthquake in Nepal as we offer the words of the psalmist, “Be strong and take heart, all who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:25)

May those who are paralyzed by fear …
Be strong and take heart

May those who have lost or are still searching for loved ones …
Be strong and take heart

May those who remain trapped under rubble …
Be strong and take heart

May those rescue workers who provide relief and recovery …
Be strong and take heart

May those who are moved with compassion to help …
Be strong and take heart

God, whose love knows no bounds,
fill all those who suffer with your comfort and peace.
We ask all this through Christ, our Lord. Amen

Interested in helping? Go to these denomination's relief organizations to find out what you can do: World Vision, Lutheran Disaster Response (ELCA), Church World ServiceUCC International Emergency Relief FundCatholic Relief ServicesUnited Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

How Good Policy Translates to Success

Paprika pepper farmer in Tanzania. USAID.

By Beth Ann Saracco

Congress is listening to you! Less than two weeks ago, we asked you to contact Congress and urge your representative to cosponsor The Global Food Security Act. As a result of your advocacy, the bill passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee this morning!

Let’s keep this important legislation moving forward! Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. representative. Urge your representative to support and cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567).

On a recent trip to East Africa, I met with a women’s cassava cooperative outside Sengerema, Tanzania. I was struck by the progress they were making in improving their lives and their families’ lives. The women plant cassava, process it into flour, and then sell the flour at the market. With the extra income they earn, standards of living in the community are rising, and the women and their families are seeing a higher quality of life.

This success is a prime example of the progress being achieved on farms throughout the world. Because of programs like Feed the Future, seven million small farmers grew more crops, and 12.5 million children received nutritious food. Such progress has occurred in tandem with the progress of the Global Food Security Act in Congress.

The Global Food Security Act would support efforts like those of the Tanzania cassava cooperative throughout the world. More families will be able to send their children to school, buy nutritious foods to supplement their children’s diets, and further invest in their land and businesses.

From Washington, D.C., to Tanzania, we are making great strides in our efforts to end global hunger and malnutrition. Yet our work remains unfinished. We need the House of Representatives to pass the Global Food Security Act. Making this global food and nutrition security program permanent will ensure progress against hunger continues.

Call (800/826-3688) or email your representative. Urge your representative to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567).  Let’s stand with programs like the women’s cassava cooperative in Tanzania by praying for an end to hunger and engaging in faithful advocacy alongside them.

Beth Ann Saracco is an international policy analyst at Bread for the World

Tell Congress to Put an End to Global Hunger

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Women farmers tending to their crops in Kamuli, Uganda. Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.

By Bread Staff

Asma Lateef, the director of Bread for the World Institute, recently wrote about the integral role the Feed the Future initiative plays in ending global hunger. The U.S. House of Representatives recently reintroduced The Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567), which would make the Feed the Future program permanent law.  

Lateef's commentary appeared on the Feed the Future website. Here are some excerpts:

“Ending global hunger depends on giving people and communities access to the tools they need to feed their families and build stronger local food systems. That’s why Bread for the World’s grassroots members and staff have long advocated for U.S. leadership in investing in agriculture and food security in developing countries.

Feed the Future was created to do just that. It is the American response to the 2007-2008 global food price crisis that devastated tens of millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world.” 

“Bread staff members have traveled to Bangladesh and Nepal to see the impact of Feed the Future. In southern Bangladesh, women with little formal education were coming together in “garden talks.” After a brief refresher on what good nutrition requires, the discussion moved to local foods that were rich in the various essential nutrients. In western Nepal, Bread staff went to a cooking demonstration. Along with a group of mothers with toddlers, they learned how to make a snack of potato patties more nutritious. The mothers were shown how they could do this without spending a lot of extra money, by cooking the patties in an egg batter and adding local vegetables they could grow themselves.

Food prices have stabilized in recent years and Feed the Future programs are enabling farmers and families, like these women, to learn how to make the best use of the resources available to them. Over the last five years, Congress has increased funding for agriculture and nutrition and is now considering a bill that would make Feed the Future permanent.

Bread for the World is working toward the day that all families are able to grow or buy enough nutritious food for an active, healthy life. Feed the Future – the program itself and its leadership by example – is bringing that day closer."

Feed the Future can save lives. But it's important to act right now to ensure it continues. Call or email your U.S. representative today. Urge your U.S. representative to co-sponsor The Global Food Security Act.

Food Aid Reform Gains Momentum in Senate

USAID-donated rice distribution in West Point, Liberia. (Morgana Wingard/USAID)

By Bread Staff

Sweeping policy change can take time; but when that policy can potentially save millions of lives, faithful advocates remain vigilant.

Last year, thousand of you sent letters and emails and made phone calls asking Congress to reform food aid as part of the 2014 Offering of Letters campaign.  By the year’s end, your advocacy stopped harmful policy changes that would have increased shipping costs and reduced food to hungry people. You also set the stage for the Food for Peace Reform Act – legislation that can get more food to millions in need at no additional cost.

We begin the next stage of our advocacy as the Senate holds the first-ever hearing on food-aid reform.  American Food Aid: Why Reform Matters begins at 9:30 a.m. EDT this Wednesday. Bread for the World and several of our partners will live tweet the hearing using the hashtag #FixFoodAid.

In advance of the hearing, Bread for the World and a broad coalition of partners sent the following letter to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  You can help build the momentum to pass food-aid reform too:  Contact your senator and urge him/her to cosponsor the Food for Peace Reform Act today.

As a diverse coalition from the nonprofit sector, we are strongly in favor of U.S. food assistance that delivers results faster, more effectively, and more efficiently. We applaud the leadership of the Chair and Ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senators Bob Corker and Ben Cardin, for elevating the importance of the life-saving Food for Peace program and the need to maximize its reach and efficiencies.

For more than five decades, U.S. food aid programs have been assisting the poorest, most vulnerable people in the wake of disasters and other crises. We urge Congress to pursue common-sense reforms that increase the ability to reach more vulnerable people with both emergency and non-emergency assistance.

These common-sense reforms would come at no additional cost: In fact, increasing the flexibility of existing funding and delivery mechanisms can significantly increase the reach of our current programs to millions more people at no additional cost. The United States should be empowered to better utilize the tools necessary to respond to hunger and to match the type of assistance with the reality of any situation – including utilizing cash transfers, local and regional procurement, vouchers, and the delivery of U.S. commodities.

Small increases in flexibility in the 2014 Farm Bill and the FY2014 appropriations bills have already benefitted vulnerable people around the world. In the past year alone, these reforms have reduced costs, allowed a wider range of programming options to improve program outcomes, helped achieve more sustainable results, and reached 800,000 additional people, more quickly.

Flexibility in food aid has helped feed millions of refugees and internally displaced persons affected by the crisis in and around Syria. This includes a wide range of programs such as a U.S.- funded food voucher program for Syrian refugees in Turkey as well as distributing life- sustaining food bars purchased in the U.S. to Syrian refugees in Erbil, Iraq.

This is an important opportunity to expand the impact of one of our most vital international programs. We stand ready to work with Congress to ensure these gains can be realized.


Action Aid USA
Action Against Hunger
Alliance to End Hunger
American Jewish World Service
Bread for the World
Church World Service
Convoy of Hope
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Feed the Children
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Poverty Project
Helen Keller International
Maryknoll Office For Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
Save the Children
The Borgen Project
The Hunger Project
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church ,General Board of Church and Society 28. USAID Alumni Association(UAA)

Tell Congress to Feed the Future

Bread for the World.

By Beth Ann Saracco

April showers bring May corn, sweet potatoes, and beans. Yet, throughout the world, millions of people still go hungry.

Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. representative. Urge your U.S. representative to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567). Your advocacy today could make a lifesaving difference for hungry people around the world.

The rainy season has begun in East Africa — and so has the planting season for farmers there. If the weather cooperates, in just a few short months, these farmers will have produced enough corn, sweet potatoes, and other crops to feed their families — and some extra to sell at the markets for a profit.

Smallholder farmers in poor countries are very dependent on the weather. When all you have is a small plot of land, a turn from the normal weather patterns to drought or floods can spell disaster for you and your family. While hope is planted for many as crops go into the ground this season, 805 million people around the world are going hungry today.

But this can change — and our Congress can do something about it. The U.S. government plays an important role through Feed the Future, a global hunger and food-security program. This initiative operates in 19 countries. In 2013 alone, seven million small farmers grew more crops, and 12.5 million children received nutritious food. Improvements in food processing, production, and selling have made a significant difference in the lives of many farmers.

Recently, The Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567) was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would make the Feed the Future program law — a permanent program. This smart approach recognizes that, in order to end hunger, we don't just need to grow more food through building strong agriculture systems. We need quality, nutritious food as well.

Feed the Future can save lives. But it's important to act right now to ensure it continues. Call or email your U.S. representative today. Urge your U.S. representative to co-sponsor The Global Food Security Act.

Also, please join us on June 9 in Washington, D.C., for Bread for the World's annual Lobby Day. It’s a chance to speak to your members of Congress directly about these vital U.S. government programs that are helping to end hunger in so many ways. Visit our website to learn more and register.

Beth Ann Saracco is the international policy analyst at Bread for the World.

Thank You for Your Advocacy

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Bread for the World staff.

By David Beckmann

Thank you for your advocacy last week! Congress was busy voting on budget proposals, and you heard from us a lot. Because of your efforts, hundreds of calls and thousands of emails went to Congress.

At the end of the week, the House and Senate both passed their budget resolutions. Their budgets included some drastic proposals to cut anti-hunger programs. But we know your voices — your calls and emails — made a difference.

The Senate considered a number of very bad amendments. Some drastically cut foreign assistance funding. Others cut or negatively impacted SNAP (formerly food stamps), the earned income tax credit, and child nutrition programs. Thanks to your advocacy, these amendments failed or were withdrawn, which means they didn’t get a vote.

Your voice helped ensure these troubling proposals were defeated. One amendment to cut international affairs funding by 50 percent only got 4 votes of support. The last time this proposal was up for a vote, at least 20 senators voted in favor of it.

The House and Senate have passed their budget proposals, but our work continues. These budgets set the tone for anti-hunger policy for the rest of this year and beyond. But your faithful advocacy throughout the year will be critical in making sure these proposals do not become law.

We’re asking you to make one more call this week. See how your senators and representative voted on the budget resolution. If they voted against it, call (800-826-3688) and thank them for their vote. If they voted in favor, call and express your disappointment in their vote for a budget that would increase hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world.

Thank you for continuing to raise your voice to end hunger.

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World.

Urgent: Say No to Vote-A-Rama Amendments That Target Poor People

http://bread.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341d945753ef017d42340f38970c-piBy Bread Staff

As budget debate and voting continue in the Senate today, Bread for the World is deeply concerned about several proposed amendments that would cut critical programs that serve vulnerable populations.

Yesterday, the House passed a budget resolution, which would balance the budget on the poorest in our nation. We need your voice to tell the Senate they must not do the same. 

Budgets are moral documents. A faithful budget values ending hunger and protecting the most vulnerable - not cutting programs that would make it harder to end hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world.

Please call 800-826-3688 and tell your senator that this budget is unacceptable.  

  1. OPPOSE any amendments that cut foreign assistance or the 150 account including Paul Amdt #940, which increases the defense budget by cutting the entire international affairs budget by 50% over two years or a $42 billion reduction. These proposed cuts can severely impact funding for humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance, including critical life-saving programs like maternal child health treatment, agriculture development and nutrition interventions, and humanitarian relief to millions of refugees. Amendment #940 failed in a recorded vote of 4 yays and 96 nays.
  2. OPPOSE any amendments that cut SNAP (formerly food stamps), change eligibility, or reduce benefits and oppose amendments that cut or make harmful changes to school nutrition programs. SNAP and school meals provide more than 21 million children with meals they need to learn and grow. Specifically, we urge senators to oppose Inhofe Amdt #375 and Rubio Amdt #547. Withdrawn.

  3. OPPOSE any amendments that cut Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), change eligibility, or establish barriers that make it more difficult for low-income working families to put food on the table. TANF is often the only source of support for families who receive it. Specifically, we urge senators to oppose Inhofe Amdt #372,which creates a financial burden on taxpayers and states while unfairly punishing children and familiesWithdrawn.

  4. OPPOSE any amendments that prevent individuals from claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Child Tax Credit (CTC), including Grassley Amdt #469. The EITC and CTC prevent more people from falling into poverty than any other program in the United States (outside Social Security). These tax credits reward work, promote economic mobility, and have a long history of bipartisan support. Withdrawn.

It is urgent to contact Congress in order to stop the cuts. Call your senators now - even if you have already reached out to them. This message is so important it must be repeated until they hear us and act. Call 800-826-3688 during the next 24 hours. Urge them to oppose cuts to programs that are working to end hunger and poverty in the U.S. and around the world.

If you use Twitter, please tweet your senators here: Aid Saves Lives.


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