USAID Impact Photo Credit: USAID and Partners

Archives for Food Security

Working with Our Partners to Lead the Fight Against Global Hunger

Yesterday, we celebrated Howard Buffett and Bill Gates as recipients of the World Food Program USA’s 10th Annual George McGovern Leadership Awards for their extraordinary efforts to fight global hunger. Their work and vision is exemplary, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah joined a panel at the Global Hunger Conference to discuss how leadership and thoughtful partnerships can make a difference in fighting hunger, poverty, and undernutrition.

At USAID, we lead Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. We working with partner countries and the private sector to advance broad-based economic growth that increases incomes, reduces hunger, and supports better nutrition outcomes. By leveraging private sector resources, we can maximize our reach and effectiveness, and strengthen the long-term sustainability of local systems. We are working with partners like the Word Food Program to do just this, and are supporting its Purchase for Progress initiative to help smallholder farmers gain access to markets so to improve their economic opportunities. This is one example of how we can work together toward a common goal of fighting global hunger and ensuring a better future for generations to come.

View video of Josette Sheeran, Executive Director for the World Food Programme, as she addresses how leveraging private sector resources and working together can help advance food security efforts, improve nutrition, and promote a better future for all.

Join a Discussion on Ending Hunger Through Development

Originally posted on DipNote the U.S. Department of State Official Blog.

On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, Tjada McKenna, Deputy Coordinator for Development, U.S. Feed the Future Initiative will hold a conversation with David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World, on “Ending Hunger Through Development.” The discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, and streamed live on www.state.gov and DipNote at 2:00 p.m. (ET). You are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions in the comment section of this blog entry.

Through Conversations With America, leaders of national nongovernmental organizations have the opportunity to discuss foreign policy and global issues with senior State Department officials. These conversations aim to provide candid views of the ways in which leaders from the foreign affairs community are engaging the State Department on pressing foreign policy issues. From Afghanistan to India, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and internet freedom to world water issues, the Conversations With America series showcases how both the U.S. government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.

View other Conversations With America by following this link and by accessing the Conversations With America video podcasts on Apple iTunes.

Blog Action Day: Highlighting the Devastating Crisis in the Horn of Africa

Ed note: This post originally appeared on the White House Blog. As part of Blog Action Day, the White House’s Courtney O’Donnell, who traveled to refugee camps in Kenya this summer with Dr Jill Biden, reflects on how we can all make a difference in the lives of those suffering in the Horn of Africa.

Blog Action Day and World Food Day provide an opportunity for individuals all over the world to spark collective action around the pressing global issue of food. This is particularly important now, as drought in the Horn of Africa and famine in parts of Somalia threaten millions.

Tragically, the worst drought in 60 years is being complicated by a chaotic political situation in Somalia. People are facing not only hunger, but also terrorism and violence.

In August, I traveled to Kenya along with my boss, Dr. Jill Biden and several other U.S. officials to visit the to the largest refugee camp in the world, in Dadaab, Kenya, where nearly 1,300 people arrive every day. We met with families who had walked for days or weeks, often barefoot, with no possessions, desperate to find food and medical care.

We spent time with a mother who had walked for over two weeks with her malnourished children to get to the camp. Her baby was sick with diarrhea; an ailment that seems minor to many of us but in these circumstances could be fatal. Like many of the women in the camps, this mother had walked day and night, through very dangerous conditions to try to save her children.

While the U.S. Government and the international community has mobilized and we are helping millions of people in the region – the scope and pace of this crisis is relentless. Without additional assistance, hundreds of thousands more could die. And most of those deaths will be children.

But there is hope.

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Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food

For several years, aid organizations have used Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the community-based treatment of severe malnutrition. The product’s effectiveness has been called nothing short of miraculous as emaciated children were nursed back to life in their own homes using this nutrient-dense, highly fortified paste. Instead of children being hospitalized for several weeks, RUTF provides an option for outpatient treatment of severe malnutrition, where the caregiver provides a child two, 92-gram packets of RUTF per day. The two packets provide about 1,000 calories, plus a very broad range of vitamins and minerals. As long as a severely malnourished child has enough appetite to consume them, the recuperative process will be complete in about six to ten weeks.

In the past, RUTF was not available as a USAID-donated commodity. Aid organizations had to buy the product using precious donor funds. But in response to the desperate need of victims of famine, war, and drought in the Horn of Africa, and recommendations of a recent USAID Food Aid Quality Review, USAID added RUTF to its list of commodities available to partners implementing humanitarian programs.

As a long-time food technologist for both USAID and the U.S. Army, I am very excited we have received the first shipments of RUTF from three valued suppliers: Edesia, Tabatchnick Fine Foods, and MANA Nutritive Aid Products. The product is able to bring many of those children back from the brink of starvation, and it is just one of many steps that will be taken to expand and improve the humanitarian foods provided by USAID.

I am acutely aware of the critical 1,000 days between pregnancy and a child’s second birthday, when providing the proper nutrition can positively impact the rest of a child’s life. As we commemorate another World Food Day, I am proud of USAID’s commitment to changing the future by changing the lives of those most vulnerable children, and I am honored to be a part of that effort.

Stephen Moody, Senior Advisor for Food Technology, Office of Food for Peace, USAID. Stephen provides USAID with advice on formulation, development, processing, and packaging technologies for new and existing food products for humanitarian assistance and emergency feeding programs. He received a MS in Food Science from Kansas State University in 2000. Stephen is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists, a senior member of the American Society for Quality, and holds dual certifications as an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor and ASQ Certified Quality Engineer. He retired from active duty in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps after 24 years of service. Among his many positions was that of Food Safety Officer for the US Army Central Command in the Persian Gulf where he was responsible for the inspection and approval of local sources for food and bottled water in East Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

The Important Role of Women in Feeding the World’s Population

In this Feed the Future video, narrator Matt Damon discusses the importance of increasing food production around the world and notes the importance of equipping women with the right tools, training, and technology to see as much as a 30 percent increase in food production. Feed the Future is the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative.

Visit http://www.state.gov/video for more video and text transcript.

Scaling Up Nutrition: Supporting country-led efforts to promote healthier lives

Through Feed the Future and the Global Health Initiative, the U.S. Government supports the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, which helps children in countries like Mozambique maximize their potential by staying healthy. Photo Credit: Kelly Ramundo/USAID.

Back in June, I posted here about the negative impacts of global undernutrition as my colleagues and I prepared for Feed the Future’s agriculture and food security Research Forum in Washington, D.C. This week, as I attend two meetings for the international Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement during U.N. General Assembly week in New York, I’m moved to reflect once again on the issue because, quite frankly, we can’t give it enough attention.

The numbers haven’t changed since my last post, nor should our sense of urgency. The fact remains that two billion people in the world do not consume enough nutrients to live healthy, productive lives; and nearly 200 million children under age 5 suffer from chronic undernutrition. To put that last number into perspective, that’s about 24 times the population of the densely inhabited city where these U.N. meetings are currently taking place. That’s 24 New York Cities full of little children who deserve a better future.

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This Week at USAID – September 12, 2011

Administrator Raj Shah participates in a panel discussion about “Leveraging Malaria Platforms to Improve Family Health” during the The Summit to Save Lives, which is presented by the George W. Bush Institute.

Later in the week, Administrator Shah heads to Haiti to meet with USAID Mission staff and to visit an agricultural training center.

The World at 7 Billion People: Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg speaks at the National Geographic Society Headquarters to raise awareness around global population issues related to women and girls.

Assistant to the Administrator Susan Reichle talks about USAID’s progress towards implementing President Obama’s Policy Directive on Global Development at a town hall hosted by the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network.

This Week at USAID – September 6, 2011

After a hiatus, we will be continuing the “This Week at USAID” series on the first day of the work week.

Thursday, September 8th is International Literacy Day. The Center for Universal Education at Brookings, the Education for All-Fast Track Initiative, and USAID will mark the day by hosting a series of panel discussions on how a range of education stakeholders are addressing the challenge of improving literacy, particularly at lower primary levels, to help fulfill the promise of quality education for all.

Stephen Haykin will be sworn-in as USAID Mission Director to Georgia.

Raja Jandhyala, USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, will testify before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights on the long-term needs in East Africa.

Alex Their, USAID’s Assistant to the Administrator and Director of the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs, will testify before U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on development programs in Afghanistan.

From Emergency Aid to Economic Empowerment

Last week, I traveled with four of my USAID colleagues to a drought-stricken area of Ethiopia as part of a larger visit to the Horn of Africa region. The worst drought the region has seen in 60 years has put more than 12.4 million people in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia in need of urgent assistance.

One purpose of our visit was to observe the drought emergency, but we were also there to determine how to better merge USAID’s drought recovery programs with long-term development programs like Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s multi-agency global food security initiative. It all seems simple enough, but the more we saw, the more we realized the complexities of our work.  As difficult as it is to feed people in the midst of a crisis, it is much harder to prepare them before a crisis so food aid will not be required in the first place.

The Bokko Health Center in Ethiopia’s East Hararghe Zone is a lone outpost in the battle against this drought. There we found 10 skeletal children clinging to their mothers, trying to take in as much therapeutic food as they could. I have seen many severely malnourished children over a career spanning 30 years, but it never gets any easier to see a child who is two years old but weighs only 10 pounds. You just can’t help but compare your own children’s robustness with the hard circumstance of these kids. Our job is to make sure these kids get the right foods to keep them alive and give them the chance to grow.

After three more stops to view a health center and two USAID-supported projects in topsoil restoration and pastoralist market support, we began to work our way back to Addis Ababa. We stopped at the small farm of Wozro (Mrs.) Terunesh.  A thin woman and a widow, with the distinctive neck tattoos of Oromia, Mrs. Terunesh is the quintessential entrepreneur. With help from a USAID-supported Land O’Lakes dairy livestock program, she now has two cows that give milk and help support her. But she hasn’t stopped there; she has moved on to raising chickens. She also formed a women’s group that uses drip irrigation to grow tomatoes and onions that bring in more income. Most importantly, she is the master farmer who teaches some 50 other local women how to be better farmers. She had the drive to improve her circumstances, and fortunately USAID could give her the training that she needed to go even further than she could have on her own. With women making up 70% of the agricultural workforce in many African countries, projects like the one helping Mrs. Terunesh are essential to lessening gaps in gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the welfare of women and girls.

Our trip took us from drought to terrace to land tenure to livestock to diversified smallholder. Seeing it all firsthand, we felt that we better understood how USAID is helping a very diverse set of actors improve their livelihoods. Ethiopia still faces the deepening pain of this drought, which continues to cause many children to struggle for their lives. But we are working to reach more and more of these children through our comprehensive programs, from therapeutic feeding to dairy, to make a lasting difference. Ultimately, we aim to help them develop the resources and capacity so that in the future, they are more resilient to the more frequent droughts plaguing the Horn of Africa.

A Mother’s Bond: My Visit to an Ethiopian Therapeutic Feeding Camp

I have a one-year-old little girl at home, just like Aisha, the mother I photographed during my visit to the drought-impacted region of Ethiopia. Just like this Aisha, I hope that I am nourishing my daughter’s body, mind, and spirit by providing her everything within my means. Unlike Aisha, my daughter weighs nearly three times more than her one-year-old little girl, and she has come to this therapeutic feeding camp because it is her best hope for food for her daughter and for herself.

A woman named Aisha holds her daughter at a therapeutic feeding camp in Ethiopia. Photo Credit: Aysha House-Moshi/USAID

While visiting Ethiopia last week, I saw examples of how USAID is serving the entire food continuum – food aid projects for the hungry, resilience projects for those able to work for food, and food security projects to support smallholder farmers who are delivering prized harvests to markets. All of these projects are making a difference, but as I looked at the growing numbers of hungry, risking their lives to migrate to camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, I couldn’t help but to focus on my fellow mothers risking everything to feed their children and feed our future.

I visited the Bisle Nutrition Site, which serves at least 7,500 mothers and children just like Aisha and her daughter. The community, mainly pastoralists, is in dire straits. Eligible mothers stand in line, with babies in tow, patiently awaiting food and water rations; while swarms of mothers of hungry children outside of the targeted age group wait for anything that can be spared. The men sit aimless, while elders, particularly the elderly women, are left to rely on the community to care for them.

The Bisle Nutrition Site, in the Shinile Zone, is located in the northeastern part of Somali Region of Ethiopia. It borders Djibouti to the north, Somaliland to the east, and Oromia to the south and west. In normal times, the Shinile Zone receives rain during March to May and July to September. But during this drought, the area i

A view of the camps. Photo Credit: Aysha House- Moshi/USAID

s bone dry and the heat so abrasive that it hits you in the face, pounding your skin with every slight movement.

As I drove away, I thought of the mothers and children at Bisle. I hoped that peace, rain, and life would fill their immediate future. I wished that the hunger would pass and the land would awaken from the drought.

USAID knows how to respond to drought, and we know how to provide for the immediate and the long-term needs of the hungry. We are poised to do more, and the United States and the international community will continue to work together to make a difference for those in need.

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