Category Archives: School feeding

Obama, Congress, Global Hunger and Plumpy’nut

Refugees about 200 meters from the Somali Border Refugees at the pre-registration center, about 200 m from the Somali Border, wait to enter into the transit center in Ethiopia Credit: WFP/Judith Schuler

President Obama and Congress need to work together in an area where bipartisan cooperation has been present before : fighting hunger.

With high unemployment at home, the demand for food banks is increasing. Child hunger rates in the U.S. are alarming. A recent Feeding America report says, “There are 314 counties in the U.S. where approximately one-third of children are struggling with food insecurity.” Is your county one of them?

Children are struggling to access food. Nothing threatens America’s future more than hungry and malnourished children.

Catherine D’Amato, president of the Greater Boston Food Bank, states, “These new statistics are staggering. Children suffer disproportionately from hunger. Not only are they more likely to experience hunger than adults, the impact on their young and growing bodies can leave lasting damage in the form of developmental delays that affect their health and school performance.”

While hunger is growing in the U.S., support from the federal government is down. Food banks around the country face the prospect of empty shelves, unless action is taken.

The Federal Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) needs to be fully funded for the rest of 2011, and also be assured of congressional support for next year. TEFAP provides supplies for emergency food banks around the country. Even with the increased demand for food aid, TEFAP is currently about 37 percent below last year’s funding level of 655 million. Food banks are facing supply shortages because of this. In addition, Congress has proposed reducing next year’s TEFAP funding level.

Vicki Escarra, the president of Feeding America, says “With the holiday season approaching and with food banks still facing the very real possibility that federal funding for food programs could be cut in FY2012, more help is still needed.”

On the global scene, hunger is so powerful a force that, if unchecked, will devastate America’s foreign policy. There is a famine taking place in East Africa, and tens of thousands of children have perished.

There are many other hunger crisis points where lack of food threatens lives, stability and development. Take the country where peace has remained elusive for years: Afghanistan. Fighting hunger is an essential part of the solution to the problem of peace in Afghanistan. Yet they too are experiencing drought. We can hear the warnings of a hunger storm there.

Silke Buhr of the UN World Food Programme says, “WFP is concerned that drought conditions in the country have had a significant impact on crop production and will lead to more people needing food assistance. These new needs come at a time when we are already facing major resource shortfalls and have already had to make some really tough decisions to priorities how we use our resources.”

WFP relies on voluntary funding for its hunger relief missions. Yet funding has been so low it has been forced to reduce the number of children who will receive school meals. What could be more inexpensive and basic to a country’s reconstruction than a school lunch? Yet right now almost 500,000 children are not able to get them. In developing countries, meals at school are often the only one children receive all day.

In Yemen, hunger and malnutrition threaten our effort to help bring stability to the Middle Eastern country. Special foods like plumpy’nut are needed by UNICEF to treat cases of child malnutrition in Yemen. This special peanut paste is produced by Providence-based Edesia and other factories around the globe. However, low funding prevents Yemen from obtaining the supply of plumpy’nut they need.

Plumpy’nut requires no special storage or preparation which is critical for a country in turmoil like Yemen. The constant power outages there can make food unsafe for children which leads to sickness and more malnutrition. Foods like plumpy’nut are safe for the children.

In Haiti we have to follow through and support the national school lunch program and agricultural reconstruction projects.

The focus also has to go beyond reacting to hunger crisis points to establishing conditions where these emergencies are less likely to occur. At least, their impact can be minimized. This means a year-round commitment to fighting and preventing hunger. The U.S. needs to be the leader.

If Congress goes through with proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole school lunch program, we place millions of lives in peril. Our own national security will be at risk too.

As Ronald Reagan once said, “people who are hungry are weak allies for freedom.” Hunger and suffering overseas create another generation of children stunted in growth and mind. American’s simply cannot afford to let that happen.

Article first published as Obama, Congress, Global Hunger and Plumpy’nut on Blogcritics.

Leave a comment

Filed under Africa, drought, East Africa, East Africa drought, Edesia, global hunger, Ivory Coast, Josette Sheeran, Kenya, malnutrition, Middle East, plumpy'nut, School feeding, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, West Africa, World Food Programme

Josette Sheeran of WFP Ranked 30th Most Powerful Woman by Forbes

Josette Sheeran, the director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has been ranked by Forbes as the 30th most powerful woman in the world. The Forbes rankings were just released this week. Others on the list include Angela Merkel (1), Hillary Clinton (2), Oprah Winfrey (14) and Queen Rania Al Abdullah (54). You can view the complete list at Forbes Magazine .

Sheeran has emerged in recent years as the lead “food ambassador” in the struggle to fight global hunger. As the head of WFP, Sheeran runs the largest agency fighting the hunger that afflicts nearly one billion people worldwide. WFP relies on voluntary donations from governments and the public to fund its relief activities in over 70 countries. The agency constantly seeks to elevate the issue of global hunger in the public consciousness and in the halls of government.

During Sheeran’s tenure numerous challenges have emerged, including the “silent tsunami” of high food prices, the earthquake in Haiti, flooding in Pakistan, unrest and hunger in the Middle East, and this summer’s massive drought and famine in East Africa. Sheeran has rallied support for life-saving missions in each of these disasters, while also pressing for long-term solutions to hunger and poverty.

WFP, for instance, has programs aimed at boosting the production of small farmers in developing countries. WFP’s Fill the Cup campaign calls for school meals for every child. Food for children at school wards off malnutrition and increases class attendance and performance.

Sheeran’s accomplishments continue a family tradition. Her father James, a paratrooper during World War II, organized food aid for a town in France after World War II.

The coming months will be extremely challenging for Sheeran and WFP. Food aid is needed for over 11 million people in East Africa. There is also drought in Afghanistan putting millions more at risk of hunger and malnutrition. Unrest in the Middle East is escalating the hunger crisis in Yemen and other countries. Focus must also be kept on building food security in Haiti.

WFP faces funding shortages for these operations and will need to rally enough support to meet the massive, escalating global hunger crisis.

You can learn more about the World Food Programme and how you can get involved on their website .

Article first published as Josette Sheeran Ranked 30th Most Powerful Woman by Forbes on Blogcritics.

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, drought, East Africa, East Africa drought, global hunger, Josette Sheeran, malnutrition, School feeding, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, World Food Programme

A New Friendship Train to Fight Global Hunger

When hunger ravaged Europe after World War II how did Americans respond? They started a Friendship Train to feed the hungry and help win the peace after the war.

Let’s start a New Friendship Train today to reach the hungry overseas starting first with East Africa which is suffering from famine and a severe drought. Then the train will move to provide relief to drought afflicted Afghanistan. Yemen, Haiti, the Ivory Coast and many other countries also need support.

Start the New Friendship Train. You can donate at these aid agencies……
 

First Destination: East Africa…To Feed the Hungry and Malnourished…..

Train images courtesy of Shortlines of Chicago Historical Society. Crossing lights image courtesy of Amazing Animations.

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Catholic Relief Services, drought, East Africa, East Africa drought, global hunger, History, malnutrition, plumpy'nut, Save the Children, School feeding, Somalia, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, UNICEF, World Food Programme, World Vision

The Roadmap to End Global Hunger

During 2009 the global hunger crisis escalated with the number of people suffering from hunger climbing over one billion. This great humanitarian crisis calls for action on the part of world leaders. In countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Sudan hunger threatens hopes for peace. This book includes press releases, interviews and perspective on The Roadmap to End Global Hunger legislation in Congress. This bill (H.R. 2817) was introduced during 2009 by U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.). The legislation is based on the recommendations made by groups such as Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, Friends of the World Food Program, World Vision and others. Inside you will hear from offiicials from these organizations as they discuss the Roadmap and its importance in fighting hunger. Also you will see how you can get involved to support the Roadmap to End Global Hunger. Also included in the book is a special historical perspective section on Fighting Hunger and World War II.

The Roadmap to End Global Hunger is available from:

Amazon.com

Google Ebookstore

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Catholic Relief Services, drought, East Africa, global hunger, History, Ivory Coast, Kenya, malnutrition, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, School feeding, Somalia, Sudan, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, West Africa, World Food Programme, World Vision, World War II, Yemen

Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World

The book Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World features over 50 interviews with officials from the United Nations World Food Programme, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, the Barefoot Foundation and ChildsLife International. Each interview shows the status of these critical child feeding programs and the potential for expanding them to achieve universal school feeding. The interviews also focus on the impact school meals have for children in developing countries as well as how people can help these programs. Some of the countries profiled are Afghanistan, Sudan, Colombia, Somalia and Pakistan. The interviews published in the book originally appeared online at Blogcritics magazine. The interviews were arranged by William Lambers in conjunction with the UN World Food Programme office in Washington DC.

Ending World Hunger is available at:

Amazon.com

Google Ebookstore

Barnes and Noble

View the short film Ending Child Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World from William Lambers on Vimeo.

1 Comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Books, Catholic Relief Services, East Africa, Ivory Coast, Kenya, malnutrition, School feeding, Somalia, Sudan, West Africa, World Food Programme, World Vision, Yemen

Haiti: Keeping Focused on Fighting Hunger

Tropical storm Emily just passed through Haiti, fortunately never developing into a hurricane. But it should serve as a reminder that Haiti is still very vulnerable to the shock of these storms. It’s important to build up Haiti’s resiliency so it can better withstand the risk of flooding that comes with these heavy rains.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), as it seeks to help Haiti boost its food production, sponsors projects aimed at preventing damage to agriculture from flooding.

In addition, other WFP Food/Cash for Work projects are aimed at rubble removal, still very much a task even more than a year after the earthquake. There is still a long way to go in Haiti’s reconstruction. That is why the World Food Programme is urging support for its programs in Haiti. Malnutrition and poverty are still massive challenges for Haitians to overcome

WFP’s Stephanie Tremblay reports that the agency is facing a funding shortage for its programs. Without this funding, programs to protect the poor and boost agriculture and other projects will be at risk. WFP’s biggest project, school feeding, will be in jeopardy without funding.

Tremblay says, “We need an additional $14 million to purchase food – that will cover the needs of our school meals and nutrition programs – It also includes a take-home ration that we give students at the beginning of the school year to help families cope with back-to-school costs.”

WFP currently is reaching 1.1 million students with school meals as it helps the government build a national program. There is a long way to go to provide school meals for all children in Haiti.

Currently, there are many children in Haiti not yet enrolled in school. A national school lunch program needs to be developed to reach all these children. The food is what encourages parents to send their children to school.

Principal Sister Bernadette says Haitian children would “simply be too weak to study if they weren’t able to eat something at school. It’s important for them to have a meal here, most of them come from very poor families.” Marie Anika, 8, speaks for all children worldwide when she says, “It would be terrible if we didn’t get a meal at school. I really wouldn’t like that.”

WFP also needs $27 million to keep its cash/food for work projects, which are critical to the reconstruction, moving in the right direction.

The media spotlight may have moved on from Haiti, but the tremendous need is still very much present.

Article first published as Haiti: Keeping Focused on Fighting Hunger on Blogcritics.

Leave a comment

Filed under malnutrition, plumpy'nut, School feeding

Somali Child: I Just Want to Go to School Again

Mindy Mizell of World Vision is traveling through the Horn of Africa to report on the relief efforts for famine and drought victims. Amid so much chaos and horror Mizell finds rays of hope, such as 13-year-old Abdillahi, a Somali refugee living in Dadaab, Kenya. His family was forced to flee Somalia to find food and escape the violence.

Here is a child confronted with war and famine and Mizell said he never uttered a single complaint or talked about how unfortunate he was. Instead, he remained positive and upbeat.

Mizell writes, “I guess I expected him to say that he wanted more food, more water, better clothes or maybe a soccer ball. Instead, Abdillahi told me he wanted to go to school again! Not only did Abdillahi believe he had a bright future, but he spent several minutes advocating on behalf of his Somali friends and telling me that they all needed to go to school in order to find good jobs someday.”


World Vision’s Mindy Mizell interviews Abdillahi, 13, in the Dadaab refugee camp. (World Vision photo)

Young Abdillahi just pointed the way to what can end hunger and build peace in the Horn of Africa: education and food.

In responding to the drought in East Africa, it’s vital to ensure that all children can receive school meals and an education. This is extremely challenging, especially in areas where there are refugees and host communities all with great needs.

Lisa Doherty of UNICEF explains, “In some cases there have been massive influxes of communities and school-aged children into urban areas where there aren’t school facilities to absorb them all.”

UNICEF states that “school feeding, provision of learning materials and teacher incentives and additional learning spaces are the top priorities in order to ensure that children can access learning opportunities, many for the first time.”

Rozanne Chorlton, UNICEF Somalia Representative says, “Education is a critical component of any emergency response. Schools can provide a place for children to come to learn, as well as access health care and other vital services. Providing learning opportunities in safe environments is critical to a child’s survival and development and for the longer term stability and growth of the country.”

This is similar to what the U.S. Army did after World War II. For example, in Vienna, Austria, the U.S. military government helped reopen schools and start a feeding program. They did not want children roaming the streets, and giving them food at school was a top priority with post-war malnutrition rates climbing. The Army and food ambassador Herbert Hoover recognized the such programs were critical and needed to be strengthened and expanded. School feeding provided by the Allies and others after the war was a key defense, as famine threatened to attack many nations at that time.

Today, school meals play an urgent role in providing for refugee children in East Africa. Sandra Bulling of CARE says, “we are currently planning to set up lunch programs for the accelerated learning program of newly arrived refugee children, many of whom have never been to school before.”

Aid agencies are mobilizing to help children through this crisis and open the door to a better life in the future. But will there be enough funding? Fighting hunger and building children’s education is an area of neglect in the foreign policy of many governments. How do you change this?  It’s up to the public to tell their representatives in government that it should be a top priority for all children to receive school meals and an education.

That is what can make a difference in the long term for children in East Africa and elsewhere who just want to go to school again.

See videos from the World Food Programme’s WeFeedback page.


Article first published as Somali Child: I Just Want to Go to School Again on Blogcritics.

Leave a comment

Filed under drought, East Africa, East Africa drought, Kenya, malnutrition, School feeding, Somalia, Uncategorized, UNICEF, World Vision, World War II