Next week, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP), the largest provider of food assistance in the world, is marking a milestone—we’re issuing a new 10-year food assistance and food security strategy. An office unique within USAID for its dual relief and development mandate, FFP’s new strategy focuses on getting results for millions of vulnerable people living in areas characterized by extreme poverty and deprivation.
The strategy draws on the full range of tools available to us, from much needed American food commodities and specialized nutrition products, to market-based interventions that allow populations affected by conflict and natural disaster to select healthful foods available locally. Its programmatic theory of change is steeped in evidence-based learning about what works to protect and enhance the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable.
Building on our 2006-2010 strategy, this one focuses more deeply on strengthening systems and institutions to sustain success, elevating governance, social cohesion and conflict sensitivity. It places a central emphasis on understanding local context and adapting to changing circumstances to remain relevant and effective. It re-embraces our long commitment to gender equity and acknowledges the importance of engaging youth to advance sustained food and nutrition security.
The new strategy captures the best of what we currently do, but challenges FFP and our partners to strive for greater impact with greater efficiency and sustainability. It also embraces “nutrition security”—deliberately signaling the importance of a wide range of nutrition, sanitation and health factors that contribute to improved food security outcomes.
The need for our work has never been more important, whether we consider the growing impact of humanitarian crises that have displaced more people than any time on record, or the more subtle but equally intractable issue of chronic poverty and recurrent crisis which today preclude millions of people from achieving their potential.
While the challenge is great, so too is our commitment. There is unprecedented consensus that building the resilience of vulnerable communities, including their food and nutrition security, is key to our larger goals of ending extreme poverty, enhancing stability and spurring economic growth. The communities we work with, driven to improve their lives—as well as the committed governments, NGOs, United Nations agencies, and private sector actors that support them—agree on the urgency of this agenda.
Since its establishment in 1954, Food for Peace has reached more than 4 billion people. And today, with an annual budget that tops $2 billion, we and our partners have an outsized role to play in the global development community’s goal to end hunger in our time.
We extend our thanks to the U.S. Congress and the American people for their sustained support of our global efforts. And to all of our partners, whose expertise and tireless efforts in some of the most challenging environments in the world shaped this forward-looking strategy.
Despite the challenging times in which we live, we look to the future with a positive vision and a passion to make that vision a reality.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dina Esposito is the director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace. Follow her on @DEsposito_FFP.
Check out more on USAID’s food assistance programs.
Read more on how we can #endhunger by looking beyond food.
Learn more about the new Food for Peace food assistance and food security strategy.
Follow @USAIDFFP; @DEsposito_FFP