Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

124 posts categorized "Millennium Development Goals"

Africa on the Ground: A Reflection by Rev. Derrick Boykin

In October 2011, Bread for the World hosted a delegation of religious leaders during a visit to three African countries -- Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania -- that are known as SUN countries for their commitment to "scaling up nutrition." The group was able to witness, first-hand, small but mighty successes on the ground. Rev. Derrick Boykin, Bread's associate for African American leadership outreach, was among the group. In this video reflection on his journey, he asks African-Americans to join him in speaking up for Africa.

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Donald M. Payne International Food Assistance Improvement Act of 2012. This bipartisan-supported legislation is one of the first bills to highlight the importance of nutrition during the critical 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child's second birthday.

If passed into law, this bill will significantly benefit women and children in developing countries, especially those in Africa. That this legislation was even introduced demonstrates the growing understanding among congressional leaders that good nutrition is critical to improving the lives of poor people around the world.

African countries are also taking nutrition and development into their own hands. An exciting example of this is the growing number of African leaders who recognize the devastating impact of malnutrition during the 1,000-day window. Twenty African countries have committed to turning the tide on malnutrition by joining the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement — a committed effort to reducing malnutrition in the developing world.

 

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

 


The Agricultural Gold Rush for Africa

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Jane Sabbi, left, is a farmer with 12 acres of land in Kamuli, Uganda and a mother of seven children. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl.

At this year’s G8 Summit, which was chaired by President Obama, the G8 nations committed themselves to maintain this focus on food security and nutrition.  But they put new emphasis on the private sector.    

International investment in Africa is already increasing rapidly.  Ten percent of all the foreign direct investment in the world last year was in Africa.  A score of international companies have worked with political leaders in Africa to develop “Grow Africa,” a framework for international investment in African agriculture.  These companies have committed themselves to invest in African agriculture in ways that increase production, reduce poverty, and also reduce greenhouse gases.

Then last month, the G8 announced a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.  Simultaneously, 45 international companies announced $3 billion in planned investment in Africa.  Three African governments – Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Ghana – committed themselves to new private-sector oriented reforms, and the G8 government said that they will focus some of their increased funding for agricultural development in these and other countries that become part of this New Alliance.

In effect, African governments and G8 governments are jointly committing themselves to facilitate a major expansion of private investment in African agriculture.

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the New Alliance.  It will be led by a high-level committee of government and private-sector leaders.

But African leaders, certainly Africa’s ambassadors to the United States, have repeatedly said that what they most want from the U.S. government is help in attracting trade and investment, and this initiative is a major new step in this direction.  The planned expansion of investment will presumably also increase trade.

Civil-society groups have important roles to play as this New Alliance takes shape.  Some NGOs can help international companies connect with African farmers in ways that really do contribute to development.  NGOs will also need to monitor the expansion of international investment in Africa.  It can do a lot of good, but it’s also likely to do some harm.

The expansion of international investment in African agriculture is a bit like a gold rush.  World demand for agriculture is expanding rapidly, and sixty percent of all the undeveloped arable land in the world is in Africa.  Africans can benefit from the expansion of private-sector investment in African agriculture, but civil-society groups will need to monitor what’s going on and be active in advocacy. While I believe this effort to facilitate international private-sector investment in agriculture is an opportunity, it is also a risk, and that is why monitoring and advocacy by civil-society groups will be important.

David-beckmannDavid Beckmann is president of Bread for the World. This blog post is taken from remarks that Beckmann made at the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act Civil Society Forum about the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

 

Leaders Make Bold Commitments to End Hunger at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs

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Secretary Hillary Clinton was just one of the many speakers at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs on May 18, 2012. See video of all of the speakers. Screenshot from The Chicago Council on Global Affairs livestream.

This morning leaders in development gathered at the 3rd Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, held in Washington, DC, by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. During this event, numerous speakers presented on the issue of global development, nutrition, and agriculture, including President Obama, who delivered the first speech on hunger by a sitting president. The G-8 Summit, which meets this weekend in Camp David, MD, also will focus on global food and nutrition security issues. Below, we have culled some of the best quotes from today's event from a variety of speakers:

"For every dollar you invest in nutrition, the payoff is $138 in better health and better productivity. It's about fiscal management because the consequences of not dealing with nutrition and good food, all of the consequential costs of health insurance and drug needs -- all of those consequential impacts that we have to deal with because we haven't invested in nutrition in the critical first 1,000 days, and that period is the most critical." --Beverley J. Oda, Honorable Minister of International Cooperation in Canada 

"We need to reduce the number of meetings and learn to act accordingly. Preach water and drink water." --Jacqueline Mkindi, executive director of Tanzania Horticulture Association

"As the wealthiest nation on earth, I believe the United States has a moral obligation to lead the fight against hunger and malnutrition and to partner with others.  So we take pride in the fact that because of smart investments in nutrition and agriculture and safety nets, millions of people in Kenya and Ethiopia did not need emergency aid in the recent drought. But when tens of thousands of children die from the agony of starvation, as in Somalia, that sends us a message we still got a lot of work to do.  It's unacceptable.  It's an outrage.  It's an affront to who we are." --President Barack Obama on global agriculture and food security.

"I think what we are seeking to do with our investments in global agriculture is not just to solve the problem of hunger, we also want to solve the problem of extreme poverty, and agriculture in our opinion may be the best intervention point to do that. Development dollars spent on agriculture have the greatest impact on poverty reduction. More than money spent in any other sector. So if we want to make big gains in the fight against poverty, agriculture is the best way to do that. And there is no place that that is more true than in Africa, where there is such great potential for gains in agricultural productivity." --Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on global food safety.

“We need  aid. Of course we still need aid. Of course we do. Does anyone disagree? ... The L'Aquila promises must be kept and must be a baseline going forward. And we've got to keep overall aid budgets on track, which is a really tough sell sometimes. ... Very few countries have been courageous enough to keep their promises on aid. ... If there's one thing I've learned in 25 years doing this stuff, it's that paternalism, the old way we did development, is no match with partnership. It's through partnership we can hasten the day when the developing world will not only feed itself, but feed the rest of us ..." --Bono, founder of ONE and member of the band U2

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David Beckmann and Lucy Sullivan in The Hill: Child Nutrition and the G8 Summit

120518-childnutrition[This article originally appeared in The Hill. Click here to read the full article. Below is an excerpt.]

If you had $75 billion to spend on solving some of the world’s greatest challenges, where would you start? An expert panel of Nobel laureate economists known as the Copenhagen Consensus recently answered that question. After extensive research and consultation, they determined that the single best investment the world could make to advance health and prosperity would be to fight malnutrition in young children.

We have always known that tackling child malnutrition is the right thing to do. Perhaps now that it’s seen by experts as the smartest thing to do, we will be able to mobilize the investment needed to finally tackle a condition that plagues close to 200 million children, robbing them of their health and future potential.

Thankfully, we already know how to prevent the needless suffering and the nearly 3 million child deaths that result each year from malnutrition. Simple interventions such as breastfeeding and inexpensive treatments for diarrhea management in young children could save more than 1 million lives a year.

We also know that proper nutrition early in a child’s life—particularly during the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday—can help break the cycle of poverty by ensuring healthy brain development, stronger immune systems, better performance in school, and higher earning potential. 

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World. Lucy Sullivan is executive director of 1,000 Days.

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Photo caption: Constantia and her son Gustavo live in Cobue, Monzambique. Gustavo became severely malnourished after contracting malaria. Constantia took him to a clinic where she learned how to feed him a fortified milk formula with a syringe every few hours around the clock. Soon he was eating Plumpy'nut, a high-protein therapeutic food. A year later Gustavo is healthy and eating normal foods. Photo by Rebecca Vander Meulen.

Keeping Children Nourished in Nepal

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Sharmila Chaudhari feeds her daughter Sanjana, 19 months, at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. This Nutrition Rehabilitation Home in the western part of the country is run by an NGO in Nepal called the Rural Women's Development and Unity Centre (RUWDUC). Children eat meals and snacks at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m., and they drink milk at 10 p.m., 1 a.m., and 4 a.m.

Forty-one percent of Nepali children under age 5 are short for their age (stunted), according to the preliminary 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey. Stunting is an indicator of malnutrition, so ensuring children are properly nourished in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2 is vital to a child’s development.

Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

Happy Mother's Day to Mothers Around the World

What would we do without our moms to comfort us, guide us and love us? Here's to all mothers around the world -- including mine. Happy Mother's Day!

Photo 1 - Mother and child in Haiti: A mother and child sit in a meeting with Fonkoze, a micro-finance institution in Debriga, Haiti. Mothers brought their children to receive Vitamin A capsules on Wednesday, October 13, 2010. Nicole Cesar Muller led the discussion and gave the babies the vitamins, which were donated by Vitamin Angels. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

Photo 2 - Alli and André: Alli Morris, from Bend, OR, depends on SNAP, WIC, and other domestic feeding programs to care for her son André, who lives with a serious medical condition that affects his hormonal system. Photo by Brad Horn

Photo 3 - Neelum and Shuvam: Neelum Chand carries her son, Shuvam, 1, through the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in Dhangadhi, Nepal, after lunch on Sunday, April 29, 2012. The NRH, a project of the Rural Women's Development and Unity Centre, a Nepali NGO, works to restore malnourished children to health. Forty-one percent of Nepali children under age 5 are short for their age (stunted), according to the preliminary 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey, and stunting is an indicator of malnutrition. Ensuring children are properly nourished in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2 is vital to a child's development. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

Photo 4 - Guatemalan mother and daughter. Photo by Margaret W. Nea.

Photo 5 - Tohomina and Adia: Tohomina Akter bathes her daughter Adia, 17 months, at the neighborhood well in Char Baria village, Barisal, Bangladesh, on Thursday, April 19, 2012. Tohomina participates in a maternal and infant nutrition program called Nobo Jibon run in part by Hellen Keller International. The program stresses proper nutrition in the 1,000 days between pregnancy to age 2, with an emphasis on breastfeeding and cultivating home gardens. The goal is to encourage social and behavior change and prevent stunting in children. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

Photo 6 - Sharmila and Sanjana: Sharmila Chaudhari feeds her daughter Sanjana, 19 months, at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. This Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in the western part of the country is run by an NGO in Nepal called the Rural Women's Development and Unity Centre (RUWDUC). Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.

Photo 7 - Janaki and Binti: Janaki Rana, 20, poses with her daughter, Binti Rana, 2, in Dhangadhi, Nepal, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. Janaki and Binti were once residents at the NRH in Dhangadhi, which is run by RUWDUC. Children and their mothers receive three follow-up visits after they leave the NRH. Photo by Molly Marsh/Bread for the World

Photo 8 - Mother and daughter in the United States: A mother and daughter enjoy a block party in Washington, DC. Photo by Crista Friedli/Bread for the World.

Photo 9 - Catherine and Laura: Laura Elizabeth Pohl, Bread's multimedia manager, at church with her mom, Catherine, in Newport News, VA. Photo courtesy of Laura Elizabeth Pohl.

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

 


Church Women United and Bread for the World Sponsor a Mother’s Day Webinar

120508-womenoffaithIn the last year, Bread for the World has partnered with many denominational women’s organizations in the 1,000 Days movement, aimed at improving nutrition for women and children in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday. In honor of mother’s day, Church Women United and Bread for the World are co-sponsoring a webinar to teach women (or anyone, really) about the 1,000 Conversations initiative, in which individuals and groups are pledging to have 1,000 conversations in 1,000 days about maternal and child nutrition. (Join our Women of Faith for 1,000 Days Facebook page.)

Improving nutrition in the 1,000-day period between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday is a unique opportunity to shape a healthier, more prosperous future for children. Proper nutrition during this time has a profound and lasting impact on a child’s growth, learning, and eventual economic productivity. Mitigating or overcoming malnutrition in young girls can “break the cycle” so that they enjoy better health and grow into women who have healthier babies.

The webinar will share more information about nutrition, background information on the movement, and how to have conversations with your friends, family, church, and your Senators and Congresspersons. We hope that you will join the webinar on Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. (EST) and invite the mothers in your life to join. Register here and we will send you information about how to log in.

Nancy-nealNancy Neal is associate for denominational women's organization relations at Bread for the World.

 

Photo caption: A Zambian mother and daughter. Photo by Margaret W. Nea.

Postcard from Nepal: A Lift from Mom

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Neelum Chand carries her son, Shuvam, 1, through the Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) in Dhangadhi, Nepal, after lunch on Sunday, April 29, 2012. The NRH, a project of the Rural Women's Development and Unity Centre, a Nepali NGO, works to restore malnourished children to health. Forty-one percent of Nepali children under age 5 are short for their age (stunted), according to the preliminary 2011 Nepal Demographic and Health Survey. Stunting is an indicator of malnutrition, and ensuring children are properly nourished in the 1,000 days between pregnancy and age 2 are vital to a child's development. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World

FAQ's About Poverty-Focused Foreign Assistance

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120316-questionsGot any questions about poverty-focused foreign assistance? You're not alone. To help answer your most frequently asked questions, we've put together a nice little questions and answers sheet. Here's an excerpt, but visit our Offering of Letters website for the full document.

I keep hearing that poverty-focused foreign assistance programs address the root causes of poverty. What does that mean?

Addressing the root causes of poverty involves more than simply building a road so farmers can transport their goods to market. It involves teaching a community how to build and maintain that road so it can provide transportation for the harvest of future generations. Building sustainable development takes time, but by investing in programs that serve and partner with communities, we begin to win the battle against hunger and poverty. 

Times are tough in the United States. Is now the time to keep investing in poverty-focused foreign assistance?

U.S. investments in developing countries are an important component of our national security and foreign policy. U.S. poverty-focused foreign assistance supports political stability in developing countries and fights the hopelessness that can lead to instability and conflict. 

Research shows that economically stable countries are less likely to pose a threat to their neighbors or to the United States. For example, for every 5 percent drop in income growth in a developing country, the likelihood of violent conflict or war within the next year increases by 10 percent.2 In addition, investments in poverty-focused foreign assistance save us from costly interventions later on.

What’s the difference between international food aid and poverty-focused foreign assistance?

Poverty-focused foreign assistance includes a variety of programs that address hunger and poverty, including international food aid programs. International food aid is often an emergency or humanitarian response, while poverty-focused foreign assistance programs seek to address the long-term causes of hunger and poverty.

+Click here for more questions and answers about poverty-focused foreign assistance.

+Learn more about the mini-campaign on poverty-focused foreign assistance for the 2012 Offering of Letters.

Photo by Flickr user alexanderdrachmann

More than 900 million People Suffer from Chronic Hunger

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120312-janesabbiGlobally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen by 400 million since 1990. This is mostly the result of much hard work by poor people themselves, but U.S. foreign assistance has played an important role. 

Still, more than 900 million people around the world suffer from chronic hunger. These numbers are daunting, but U.S. poverty-focused foreign assistance saves lives and helps improve conditions for millions more by giving people the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

Funding for these programs comprises only 0.6 percent of the U.S. federal budget. Yet this small amount of money is crucial. Each year, U.S. poverty-focused assistance:

  • can save more than 1 million lives by focusing on adequate nutrition during the 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age 2.
  • provides medications that prevent more than 114,000 infants from being born with HIV, and provides counseling to more than 33 million people affected with HIV since 2004.
  • saves 3 million lives through immunization.
  • helps bring safe drinking water sources to poor communities, impacting 1.3 billion people over the last decade.

These programs don’t provide long-term handouts, but they fight systemic poverty and provide a chance for people to thrive. For example, a U.S.-funded project in Honduras successfully raised participating farmers’ purchasing power by 87 percent, compared to an 11 percent increase for non-participating farmers.

Funding these programs is not only the right thing to do, it also demonstrates U.S. leadership, protects our own national security and economic future, and helps create a more stable world by counteracting the desperation that can lead to political unrest, conflict, and extremism. These programs address the root causes of poverty, which helps ensure new markets for U.S. goods and services.

Check back on the Bread Blog every day this week for tips, stories, and resources on conducting an Offering of Letters at your church or community around poverty-focused foreign assistance.

Photo caption: Jane Sabbi farms some of her 12 acres of land in Kamuli, Uganda. This mother of seven children is a client of VEDCO, a Ugandan NGO that helps people improve agricultural practices and grow more nutritious food. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl

Molly-marshMolly Marsh is managing editor at Bread for the World.

 

 

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