Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

421 posts categorized "Global Hunger"

Global Goals? We're Getting There

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Bangladesh. Bread for the World.

By Stefanie Casdorph

At the beginning of the new millennium, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to shape a broad vision to fight poverty and its many causes and effects. This vision turned into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight goals that pledged to the world to fight for the principles of human dignity, equality, equity, and to free the world from extreme poverty.

Bread for the World has long supported the MDGs as a way to help the world’s poor move out of a cycle of hunger and poverty.

The MDGs addressed the important issues of poverty, education, women’s empowerment, health, children’s well-being, and the environment.

The first MDG was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. This goal had three objectives:

  1. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day.
  2. Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.
  3. Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

The United Nation’s MDG Report 2015 findings show that the world has made significant strides in fighting poverty and hunger under these goals. Although poverty is far from eradicated, here are some examples of progress that has been made in the last 25 years, according to the report:

  • The number of people living in extreme poverty around the world has fallen by more than half, from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015.
  • In developing regions, the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 percent in 1990 to 22 percent in 2010, five years ahead of schedule.
  • The proportion of undernourished people in developing countries has fallen by almost half, from 23.3 percent in 1990 to 12.9 percent in 2015.
  • The number of undernourished people in developing countries has fallen by 216 million since 1990.
  • The proportion of children under five who are underweight has been cut almost in half between 1990 and 2015. One in four children under five worldwide have stunted growth, but stunting - defined as inadequate height for age - is declining.

These goals have helped the world achieve so much. Millions of people around the world are escaping hunger and poverty. However, even after making such great strides, there are still over 795 million people going hungry.

The world has the tools and the knowledge to eradicate hunger. Using the momentum and progress generated by the MDGs, the U.N. is working with governments, civil society, and other partners on an ambitious task in creating a long-term sustainable agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals.

These new goals will replace the MDGs this September with an end goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Stefanie Casdorph is a summer intern in the communications department at Bread for the World.

Strategic Mobilizing Builds Momentum for the Global Food Security Act

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U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL-14), right, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), center, speak about global hunger with Lisa Bos of World Vision at the Justice Conference in Chicago, Ill. Jared Noetzel/Bread for the World.

By Rev. Douglas L. Meyer, Pastor Quentin Mumphery, and Rev. Brian Roots

“If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:10).

Sometimes an intentional effort from faithful advocates is all it takes to move our members of Congress. That has been our experience in Illinois, where Bread for the World members and faith leaders in the Chicago area and across the state are working to get the entire Illinois congressional delegation to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act, a bill that would secure and advance our historic gains against hunger and poverty around the world.

The bill passed the U.S. House last year but was held up in the Senate for procedural reasons. So getting as many cosponsors as possible this time around will help push this bill across the finish line.

Here in Illinois, our strategy has been simple. Leaders have been identified in every congressional district, and they have reached out to the appropriate congressional staffers with a simple message: Along with Bread for the World, I want to make sure my member of Congress is aware of the Global Food Security Act and would like him/her to cosponsor the bill. Can you look into this, and let me know what your boss thinks about the bill, or if there are any questions or concerns?

Leaders began with a phone call, sometimes talking with the intended staffer, and other times leaving a voice mail. Then we followed up with an email and shared Bread’s bill analysis. After that, we followed up again as needed. We have stayed in communication with each other, sharing updates and tips, and encouraging one another as we keep our eyes on the goal. If we are not hearing back from a particular staffer, we adjust accordingly, either having more leaders call, or trying a different staffer.

Before this campaign, there were no members of the Illinois delegation listed as cosponsors of the bill. As a direct result of the work of these Bread members and faith leaders, seven out of 17 representatives (both Democrats and Republicans) and one of our two senators have signed on so far! We thank U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush, Mike Quigley, Danny Davis, Jan Schakowsky, Bob Dold, Randy Hultgren, and Cheri Bustos, and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, for their leadership in cosponsoring the Global Food Security Act, and we are now calling on U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and the remaining representatives to join their colleagues in cosponsoring the bill.

Across the country, over the past couple months, the list of cosponsors has grown exponentially! Right now, there are 51 cosponsors of the House version, H.R. 1567, and seven cosponsors of the Senate version, S. 1252.

Where do your members of Congress stand on the Global Food Security Act? Click here to see if your U.S. representative is a cosponsor, and here to see if your U.S. senators are cosponsors. If they are, be sure to thank them. If they are not, encourage them to cosponsor the bill!            

ACT NOW: 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.

The blog post was written by Rev. Douglas L. Meyer of Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in Lincolnshire, Ill., Pastor Quentin Mumphery of New Hope Covenant Church in Chicago, Ill., and Rev. Brian Roots of Christ United Methodist Church in Deerfield, Ill.

The PUSH to End Hunger

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University leaders meet at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to discuss ways to address hunger and malnutrition. Photo courtesy of Auburn University.

By Shalom Khokhar

Universities are known for being places of concentrated education and research. So when it comes to the issue of hunger, universities are institutions that can engage in agriculture, nutrition, environment, and other related disciplines. To that end, university leaders have an official group to address hunger.

Scores of university leaders from Presidents United to Solve Hunger (PUSH) gathered earlier this month to begin to implement the group’s action plan, which will leverage the collective power of the universities to address hunger and malnutrition.

Nearly 80 universities spanning six continents are now members of PUSH, having signed the Presidents’ Commitment to Food and Nutrition Security. Among the universities are Iowa State University, The Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, Stenden University (Netherlands), University of California System, Cornell University, William V.S. Tubman University (Liberia), and University of Miami.

David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, attended the operational meeting and hunger forum, which took place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on June 17. The Alliance to End Hunger, an affiliate of Bread for the World, is a PUSH supporter, along with other organizations such as the World Food Program and Stop Hunger Now.

PUSH was spearheaded by Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute in Auburn, Ala. The PUSH action plan involves four core areas: teaching, research, outreach, and student engagement.

“PUSH is an effective mechanism for education, advocacy and engagement across national borders,” said Jay Gogue, Auburn University’s president.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez gave the Hunger Forum featured address. Hernandez has prioritized solving hunger and poverty in order to provide new hope to the youth of his country – many of whom flooded the shores of the United States last summer as illegal unaccompanied minors.

"I would never forgive myself if I had taken office as president and let slip a number of opportunities such as the one PUSH is offering the world," said Hernandez to the gathering of university, government, international organizations, business and civil society leaders.

Two Honduran universities are current PUSH members – Universidad Nacional de Agricultura and Zamorano University.

Food insecurity requires significant strides in areas like public policy, nutrition assistance, agricultural productivity, and community empowerment. These things can not only improve people’s lives locally, but can help us stay ahead of the hunger curve as global population increases and climate change affects harvest.

For instance, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (a PUSH supporter) is calling for a 70 percent increase in food production to meet the rising demands of an additional 2.3 billion people by 2050. In the words of attendee Shenggen Fan, director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), “Ending hunger will not be achieved unless there is a strategy supported by knowledge and research. Research institutes and universities play a key role in this endeavor.”

Now is the time to engage our resources and find sustainable solutions to hunger and malnutrition! Want to let your voice be heard and make a difference? Call/email Congress and ask them to protect and improve current nutrition programs such as SNAP, WIC, and the child nutrition bill.

Shalom Khokhar is a summer communications intern at Bread for the World. This post includes contributions from onsite reporters and press releases.

'Fighting the Good Fight'

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Lizaura "Lizzie" German, right, visiting with a staffer from the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez during Lobby Day. Jennifer Gonzalez/Bread for the World.

By Jennifer Gonzalez

Lizaura “Lizzie” German understands the issue of hunger. She manages a feeding program for Catholic Charities that serves people living in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Aside from offering food, the program also provides case management for individuals who need other resources.

But advocacy has never been a component of the program’s work – until now. Through a new relationship with Bread for the World, cultivated by Bread organizer Margaret Tran, clients of the feeding program are starting to find their voice.

In fact, clients have already participated in an Offering of Letters. Bread’s 2015 Offering of Letters: Feed Our Children is focused on ensuring Congress reauthorizes the child nutrition bill. The legislation is set to expire in the fall. 

To better help clients find their voice, German agreed to become a Bread for the World Hunger Justice Leader. HJLs, as they are affectionately referred to at Bread, are young faith leaders and clergy who come together to form intentional partnership and community with Bread to advance the work of ending hunger in our world.

When they go back to their hometowns, they work together with Bread staff, folks in their community, and other HJLs to engage more deeply in hunger justice ministry.

Ahead of Bread’s Lobby Day on June 9, German took part in training in Washington, D.C., that afforded her an opportunity to interact with likeminded individuals. “Sometimes you can get bogged down with the work we do,” German said. “You think, ‘I’m the only one going through this.’ So, getting a chance to speak with others around the country who are doing similar work to yours is reenergizing.”

German said the HJL workshops were "awesome." She especially liked workshops that focused on active listening. “I know it is common sense, but when you are doing a million things you forget to listen.”

As part of her HJL experience, she lobbied on Bread’s behalf. She visited with staffers from the offices of Sens. Bob Menendez and Corey Booker (and briefly with Booker himself) as part of a large New Jersey contingency made up of members from The Reformed Church of Highland Park, N.J.

She, along with the others, talked passionately about the need for Congress to reauthorize the child nutrition bill and pass the Global Food Security Act.

“Lobbying with the folks from New Jersey was amazing,” German said. “To see that you are not alone, that there are other people putting their faith into action along with you, was amazing. It’s like you are all fighting the good fight.”

She said she felt that everything she had experienced at Bread leading up to Lobby Day – the training, worship service, legislative briefing – prepared her well to go into the offices of members of Congress and lobby on behalf of hungry people.

She said she was able “to express why we were doing what we were doing and who we were doing it for.”  She added: “For someone who was unable to come to speak and worried about their children or not having enough food for themselves, we were sharing their story.”

The fact that the lobbying was taking place from a faith-based perspective added to German’s experience. “During Lobby Day, we were able to acknowledge a higher power at work,” she said. “That was so cool.”

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

 

Let Your Gift Help Feed the Future

By Rev. David Beckmann

Right now, Congress is headed into a critical period of debate over crucial hunger-fighting programs. Feed the Future, which helps smallholder farmers move themselves out of poverty and feed their families, is one of the programs whose future hangs in the balance if we don’t rally enough support to protect it.

But there is good news—a few generous Bread members have banded together to match all gifts before June 30, up to $50,000. When you donate today, your gift will go twice as far to advocate for hungry families in need. 7003205009_e59798ec75_o

Thanks to the support of compassionate people like you, Bread for the World is fighting tooth-and-nail to protect hungry families by speaking up for Feed the Future, ensuring smallholder farmers around the world have the tools they need to feed their families and provide their children with a more promising future. This program is a desperately needed lifeline—and it’s at risk of being reversed, which would deal a devastating blow to families around the world who can least afford it.

As the leading faith voice on Capitol Hill advocating for Feed the Future and long-needed food-aid reform, Bread for the World needs your support to ensure a faith-based voice is heard in this debate. Give now to raise your voice for hungry people and have your gift matched!

When Bread members speak out together, politicians and policy makers take notice. Last year, when a bill to reduce critical emergency food aid made its way through Congress, Bread members like you spoke out against it. Through the strength of our combined voices, we defeated the provision that would have cost families so much.

I know that you hear our faith’s call to end hunger. Right now—when the resources that help so many move themselves out of poverty are at great risk—it is more urgent than ever that we stand together to heed that call. We need your support now to ramp up our campaign to protect Feed the Future and other life-saving hunger programs from crippling cuts.

We know well that kindness begets kindness. Don't delay! When you give by June 30, your gift will be matched, up to $50,000!, making it go twice as far to help advocate for the most vulnerable children and families around the globe.

Rev. David Beckmann is the president of Bread for the World.

Photo inset: A woman in Bangladesh, a Feed the Future country, works in a potato field. Shykh Seraj for Bread for the World.

 

Lead with Your Faith and Contact Congress

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A nurse visits with a patient in Jinja, Uganda. Improving global health is an aim of the poverty-focused development accounts. Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.

By Bread Staff

A group of faith leaders from across the country will visit Capitol Hill on Wednesday to speak in support of funding for federal programs that are vital to helping people caught in disasters or who live in the daily grind of poverty. These individuals represent many faith backgrounds, but what unites them is their shared commitment to promoting the dignity of all people, including the world's most vulnerable. 

Will you join their efforts and call (800/826-3688) or email your member of Congress? You don't need to be a faith leader — just a person of faith. You can let your faith lead you to ask Congress to robustly fund humanitarian and poverty-focused development accounts within the International Affairs budget. PFDA accounts fund programs that reduce poverty and that carry out development and humanitarian assistance. These programs help to lift millions of people out of hunger, poverty, and disease around the world.

PFDA accounts provide both humanitarian relief and long-term, sustainable solutions to the problems of poverty and hunger. The work takes a wide variety of forms—agricultural development and nutrition, refugee assistance, emergency disaster assistance, global health, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, and more

As Christians, we are motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ. Alongside these distinguished faith leaders, you can make a significant difference in advocating for limited federal dollars for these programs, which continue to move millions of people out of hunger, poverty, and disease around the world.

Join these faith leaders from around the country and pray with us for an end to hunger and poverty in our world. But don't stop there. Ask Congress to robustly fund humanitarian and poverty-focused development accounts within the International Affairs budget.

Call (800/826-3688) or email your member of Congress today! Let’s work together to ensure that the world’s most vulnerable get the development and humanitarian assistance they deserve.

Women Farmers: 'The backbone of Africa'

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By Bread Staff

It’s imperative that the Global Food Security Act of 2015 (GFSA) is approved by Congress this year. Passage would make permanent the U.S. food and nutrition security program, Feed the Future.

So far, 48 House members and 6 Senators have cosponsored the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567/S. 1252). We expect to get even more cosponsors after our successful Lobby Day last week.

In fact, one Bread activists told her senator during last week's Lobby Day that it was important that the legislation pass because women farmers are the "backbone of Africa."

To date, Feed the Future has achieved impressive results, helping more than 7 million small-scale farmers increase crop production and providing nutritious food to more than 12.5 million children in 2013 alone. The GFSA would provide a first-ever comprehensive U.S. strategy to fight hunger and malnutrition, promote nutrition among pregnant women and newborns, and prioritize women smallholder farmers.

Both bills stress the importance of nutrition interventions, especially during the critical 1,000-day window from a woman’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday. Such interventions help reduce stunting, lifelong poor health, impaired cognitive and physical development, and diminished productivity.

Similarly, both bills focus strongly on women’s economic empowerment, a significant component, considering that women are often heads of households and smallholder farmers, making them especially vulnerable to food insecurity. By further engaging women, Feed the Future aims to increase women’s farm yields and total agricultural output and close the significant 20 to 30 percent yield gap that currently exists between male and female farmers. This could result in 100 million to 150 million hungry people getting the food they need.

The bills are moving in Congress. H.R. 1567 has moved out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is ready for a House floor vote. S. 1252 is still in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Even though there is progress, we still need your help to ensure that the bills make it to the House and Senate floors for a vote.

Act now! Call/email your U.S. representative and U.S. senators today (800-826-3688). Urge them to support this legislation to improve global food security and better combat chronic hunger and malnutrition!

 

G-7 Commits to Ending Hunger and Malnutrition for Millions

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Bread for the World

By Bread Staff

Early this week, the G-7 leaders during their annual summit in Schloss Elmau, Krun Germany, committed themselves “to lift 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.”

The theme of the summit—Think Ahead. Act Together — focused on food security and nutrition, the post-2015 development agenda, climate protection, and women’s economic empowerment, among other topics.

“We welcome the G-7’s decision to continue its focus on food security by committing to lift 500 million people in developing countries out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030,” said Asma Lateef, director of the Bread for the World Institute. “It builds on previous G-7 commitments on hunger and nutrition, specifically the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative, and ensures these actions continue to empower women, smallholder and family farmers.”

The G-7 is composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In advance of the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on all G-7 countries to end hunger and absolute poverty by 2030.

As a result of the G-7’s decision, Bread for the World is urging Congress to demonstrate the United States’ pledge to this goal by passing the Global Food Security Act. The bill would make permanent Feed the Future, which has helped more than 7 million small-scale farmers increase crop production and has provided nutritious food to more than 12.5 million children in 2013 alone.

Feed the Future works hand-in-hand with partner countries to develop their agriculture sectors and break the cycles of hunger, poverty, and malnutrition.

“The United States’ leadership has been important in focusing global attention on hunger and malnutrition. Congress should demonstrate similar leadership by passing the Global Food Security Act,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World. “This legislation has strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and we urge congressional leaders to move this legislation forward and support its passage.”

Last month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization announced that world hunger had dropped by 167 million in the previous decade, to 795 million. This was due in part to programs like Feed the Future, which are investing in small farmers in developing countries, increasing their productivity and their incomes.

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

Lobby Day 2015: A Great Day of Advocacy

By Jennifer Gonzalez

Over 250 Bread for the World activists descended on Capitol Hill on Tuesday in the summer heat of Washington to ensure that members of Congress support child nutrition in the U.S. and abroad, and also aid small-scale farmers around the globe. Bread activists specifically asked members of Congress to support the Summer Meals Act of 2015 and the Global Food Security Act of 2015.

The day was a success as activist after activist, young and old alike, met with senators and representatives (or their staffers). Some meetings were small, with just a handful of activists around a table, sharing their thoughts, while others were quite large.

About 15 members from the Reformed Church of Highland Park in New Jersey met with staffers of Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) office. The group later met with staffers from Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) office and got a surprise when the senator unexpectedly showed up and spoke to them. The group was not scheduled to meet with Booker, but instead, only with a couple of staffers.

Here are some highlights from Lobby Day 2015:

The morning got off to a great start with some inspiring words from Amelia Kegan, Bread’s deputy director of government relations. She spoke at Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, where activists took part in a worship service combined with a legislative briefing by staff members of Bread’s government relations department.

Activists spent the afternoon meeting with various members of Congress. A small group of Iowans met with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). They were accompanied by Rev. David Beckmann, Bread’s president, and Christine Melendez Ashley, a senior policy analyst at Bread.

Maria Rose Belding, a former intern at the Alliance to End Hunger (Bread’s sister organization), who now works at a nonprofit emergency food pantry system, stressed the need for Ernst to support the Summer Meals Act of 2015. “For every seven children who receive a free school lunch, only one gets a summer meal,” she said.

A handful of Bread activists from Alabama met with a staffer in Rep. Terri Sewell’s (D-07) office. Suzanne Martin spoke about the need for members of Congress, such as Sewell, to cosponsor the Global Food Security Act. The bill would make permanent Feed the Future, which has helped more than 7 million small-scale farmers increase crop production and has provided nutritious food to more than 12.5 million children in 2013 alone.

“What I love about this bill is that creates resiliency and sustainability,” Martin said. “I hope she (Sewell) becomes a big champion of this bill.”

The day ended with a reception and worship service at the Cannon House Office Building. Four members of Congress were honored as “hunger champions” during the reception: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.-37), U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.-01), and U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, (D-Calif.-40).

Lobby Day ended with activists relaying personal stories from their day on Capitol Hill. Thanks to all who participated in this year’s Lobby Day. We can’t end hunger by 2030 without your continued strong voice!

Take Part in Virtual Lobby Day Today

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Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

By Bread Staff

Tomorrow, hundreds of Bread for the World members will be in Washington, D.C., advocating for legislation that would help end child hunger in the U.S. and around the world. Real change is possible — and we're on the precipice with three critical pieces of legislation moving in Congress right now:

  1. Child nutrition reauthorization
  2. The Global Food Security Act
  3. Budget bills that fund these programs

We realize that not everyone can make the journey to D.C., but can you take two minutes today to join us virtually ? A quick phone call (800/826-3688) or email from you will help amplify our message in a powerful way.

Please call (800/826-3688) or email Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Tell Congress to:

  1. Support legislation, like the Summer Meals Act of 2015 (H.R. 1728/S. 613), that closes the hunger gap and connects hungry children with the meals they need.
  2. Cosponsor and pass the Global Food Security Act (H.R. 1567/S. 1252), making permanent the U.S. food and nutrition security program, Feed the Future.
  3. Prevent cuts to programs that invest in children in the U.S. and around the world. Pass a budget deal that prevents sequestration cuts.

Want more information on these bills and talking points? Visit our virtual Lobby Day page at www.bread.org/lobbyday.

Your call or email to Congress today will make a huge impact in our work together to end hunger at home and abroad. I’m so inspired to see and hear so many people of faith, together amplifying calls to enact policies that will further that cause.

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