Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

226 posts categorized "Foreign Aid"

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

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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.

Signatories:

Action Aid USA
Action Against Hunger
Alliance to End Hunger
American Jewish World Service
Bread for the World
CARE USA
Church World Service
Convoy of Hope
Edesia
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Feed the Children
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Poverty Project
Helen Keller International
InterAction
Maryknoll Office For Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
MercyCorps
Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
ONE
Oxfam
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

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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

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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.

 

Women: The Key to Ending Hunger

By Beth Ann Saracco

I recently traveled to East Africa to learn how international development policies in Washington, D.C., such as Feed the Future, impact and improve people’s lives on the ground in Uganda and Tanzania.

A powerful takeaway from the trip is that women are truly the chief agents the world relies on to fight hunger. But we need more women to be empowered.

That’s the message of our 2015 Hunger Report. And in celebration of Women's History Month, we’ve launched a new video that explains why. Watch the video.

Almost 60 percent of the world’s 805 million chronically malnourished people are women and girls. But if they are among the most vulnerable to hunger, they are also the best solution to the problem of hunger. The majority of the dramatic reduction in child malnutrition made in the developing world over the past few decades is due to improvements in the status of women. For instance, providing girls with just one extra year of schooling can increase individual wages by up to 20 percent.

Supporting Feed the Future can also empower women. It is a proven development program that can help the United States invest in women in agriculture worldwide. Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support upcoming Feed the Future legislation to improve global food security and better combat chronic hunger and malnutrition.

Learn more: Visit HungerReport.org to read the full report and explore interactive data tools that explain the crucial role of women in ending hunger.

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

Swedish Soccer Player Spreads Word About Hunger

By Jennifer Gonzalez

It’s not usual to see a soccer player covered in tattoos. But what about covering your body with the names of 50 people you don’t know?

May sound extreme, but that’s exactly what Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimović did as part of the 805 Million Names campaign promoting the World Food Program. Ibrahimović, born to a Bosnian father and a Croatian mother, both of whom emigrated to Sweden, revealed the tattoos during a Valentine’s Day match between Paris Saint-German and Caen at Parc des Princes.

The campaign’s aim is to show the world that millions of people are going hungry. The names adorned on the soccer player are all people living with hunger.

At Bread for the World, we know the importance of ending hunger – it’s our life’s work. Today, there are 805 million chronically undernourished people around the world, according to a new policy briefing paper by the Roadmap Coalition, a group of organizations advocating for an end to hunger and malnutrition. Bread for the World Institute is a member of the coalition.

This is unacceptable. The briefing paper provides a roadmap to ending global hunger. The U.S. government’s primary contribution to improving global food security is through the Feed the Future Initiative.

The initiative improves the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, strengthens maternal and child nutrition, and builds capacity for long-term agricultural growth. In fact, seven million small farmers grew more crops and provided nutritious food to 12.5 million children in 2013 alone under the program.

Traditionally, the program has been funded by Congress through annual spending legislation. Last year marked the first time Congress introduced legislation to authorize the program, which has been a long-standing Bread priority.

Unfortunately, the legislation did not pass and the future of this program remains in the balance without official statutory approval by Congress. Congressional champions have indicated a commitment to introduce and pass legislation in 2015.

Bread will continue to work hard to make sure that Feed the Future becomes law in 2015. Continue to read Bread Blog throughout the year for the latest information on how you can help. Learn more: Feed the Future.

 Jennifer Gonzalez is the associate online editor at Bread for the World.

What Comes After the Millennium Development Goals?

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Women’s empowerment is the focus of this year’s Hunger Report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger.  Stephan Bachenheimer/World Bank.


By Robin Stephenson

In 2000, governments across the globe agreed to make ending hunger a priority. They established measurable goals and a common framework that would drive policy decisions and ultimately cut extreme poverty in half by 2015.

Like me, you may have first heard about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through your church.

In 2008, as part of its Offering of Letters workshop, my church’s advocacy committee set up eight stations in our sanctuary to teach us about the hunger-reducing goals. After learning about each MDG, our task was to write our members of Congress and urge them to act.

The first station was a pedestal with a bowl of rice on it. As I let the individual grains sift through my fingers, I reflected on a question written there: Can we cut extreme poverty in half?

I’ll admit that I was more of a skeptic than an optimist. Extreme poverty means living on $1.25 a day. In 1990, that was the wage that 43 percent of the world earned each day. The question seemed overwhelming and the solution impossible.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

By 2010, the number of people who lived on $1.25 a day dropped to roughly 21 percent. In other words, we achieved the first goal and cut extreme poverty in half five years before the 2015 deadline!

Still, nearly 1 billion people continue to live on $1.25 a day. There is more work to do, but the MDGs expire in a little over 300 days.

Overall, the strategy was a success, and we have learned some surprising things. The world can and will galvanize around a plan to end hunger. We increase our impact when we have a shared strategy. By defining measurable goals, we now have data–even missing data–that can better inform a path forward.

Even when results were less than stellar, we gained valuable information. For example, women’s empowerment has been slow and uneven. In areas where the MDG framework helped empower women, progress against hunger is accelerated.

Fouzia Abdikadir Dahir, a Mandela Washington Fellow and native of Kenya, is one of those empowered leaders transforming her community.

Dahir founded the Northwestern Organization for Social Empowerment in her country. She contributed to this year’s Hunger Report, When Women Flourish…We Can End Hunger. “Being a pastoral woman from this region who has made it this far,” she writes, “I plan to use every opportunity to advocate for the rights of these women and girls.”

Now the question is what happens next. After another round of consultations with the world’s governments, the answer is coming in the form of a new framework: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs, expected to be adopted at a summit this coming September in New York, will set international development priorities through 2030. The suggested 17 goals aim to do more than halve extreme poverty – but end it.

Can we end hunger by 2030? After seeing what the world did in 15 short years, my answer is an emphatic yes!

In 2015, Bread invites you to learn about hunger and to join us in our effort to end hunger by 2030.

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

2014 Victories: Feed the Future Authorization/Global Food Security Act

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

Editor’s note: Bread Blog is running a six-part series highlighting Bread for the World’s legislative wins in 2014. Today’s post looks at the Feed the Future Authorization/Global Food Security Act.

By Bread Staff

Feed the Future, a global hunger and food-security initiative, improves the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, strengthens maternal and child nutrition, and builds capacity for long-term agricultural growth. In fact, seven million small farmers grew more crops and provided nutritious food to 12.5 million children in 2013 alone under the program.

The initiative was created in 2009 by the Obama administration. However, components of the initiative began during the George W. Bush administration as a U.S. response to the rapid rise in global food prices that occurred in 2007.

Traditionally, the program has been funded by Congress through annual spending legislation.  Last year marked the first time Congress introduced legislation to authorize the program, which has been a long-standing Bread priority.

On Sept. 18, 2014, H.R. 5656, the Global Food Security Act, was introduced by Reps. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), and Sens. Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced the companion bill (S. 2909) in the Senate.

This bipartisan legislation moved quickly through Congress, and on Dec. 17, 2014, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5656 by voice vote, a one-year authorization of Feed the Future. In a Congress known for gridlock, this was a major victory. While this bill did not pass the Senate, congressional champions have indicated a commitment to introduce and pass legislation in 2015.

The future of this program remains in the balance without official statutory approval by Congress. The bipartisan bills in the House and Senate would permanently codify and authorize this comprehensive approach to global food security, ensuring the initiative continues beyond the current administration.

 “Our legislative wins aren’t always grabbing headlines, but they’re significant and affect millions of lives,” said Amelia Kegan, deputy director of government relations at Bread for the World. “This list of legislative accomplishments reminds us that sustained, faithful advocacy really works and really does bring change. We’ve got our work cut out for us in 2015, but let these successes of 2014 motivate, inspire, and energize us for the path ahead.”

Bread will continue to work hard to make sure that Feed the Future becomes law in 2015. Continue to read Bread Blog throughout the year for the latest information on how you can help. Learn more: Feed the Future.

 

 

Urgent: Tell Senators to Pass the Global Food Security Act

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By Eric Mitchell

Thanks to your calls, letters, and emails, the House of Representatives just passed the Global Food Security Act late last night. The Senate has two days left to pass this bill into law.

People told us Congress was too gridlocked to pass this bill, but we proved them wrong. As people of faith, we spoke up with a united voice and convinced Democrats and Republicans alike to authorize Feed the Future, the program under this law. Last year, this program reached 12.5 million children.

Feed the Future is improving the lives of millions of people around the world, ensuring that young children receive the proper nourishment that enables them to grow and thrive. It also gives smallholder farmers access to new tools and technologies that improve yields and boost incomes.

If the Senate can pass the Global Food Security Act (S. 2909) in the next two days, Feed the Future will become law. We need the Senate to vote on this bill before leaving for the holidays. With only a couple of days left in the 113th Congress, we need you to act now!

Call (800/826-3688) or email your U.S. senators today. Urge your senator to pass the Global Food Security Act (S. 2909)!

God is moving in our time to end hunger, and the legislation Congress considers is a part of that movement. You are a part of this movement! A bill that once appeared blocked by gridlock is so close to becoming law. Call your senators today, and push S. 2909 over the finish line.

Eric Mitchell is the director of government relations at Bread for the World.

 

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