A: Food for Peace is a program that has benefitted approximately three billion people over the past six decades – predominately women and children, and in more than 150 countries. We are not sure why this valuable program that improves nutrition, the ability for children to learn, and increases security and stability is rumored to be at risk for being completely cut.
We want to say thank you to the thousands of advocates who have spoken out in the last week for the foreign assistance budget – there are talks of cuts of up to 40 percent for this small, less than 1% of the U.S. Federal budget that saves lives. Different programs that fall under foreign assistance (think water, maternal health, education) could be affected in different ways and there are concerns that some of these programs may be eliminated entirely. One of these potential programs on the chopping block includes a vital food and nutrition assistance program known as P.L. 480 Food for Peace.
World Vision aims to address food insecurity and malnutrition in nearly 100 countries around the world, and U.S. government supported programs including Food for Peace helps to leverage our efforts, multiply our impact and the impact of other non-profits, and is able to help reach people beyond our programs. The Food for Peace program has been a critical foreign policy tool since it began over six decades ago, in 1954. Its emergency programs save tens of millions of lives each year. With famine recently declared in parts of South Sudan, and projected food crises and potential famines also likely in Somalia, Yemen, and Nigeria this year, robust support for Food for Peace is now more important than ever. In addition to serving as the first line of defense against food security emergencies, Food for Peace development programs empower vulnerable communities to address the underlying causes of hunger and malnutrition, improve agricultural production, and grow economies.
Concerned by any potential reductions in funding for the Food for Peace program, Senators Roberts (R-Kansas) and Stabenow (D-Michigan) drafted a letter in support of the program (click here to read). Before sending the letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, these Senators are seeking additional signatures from other senators and we urge you to contact your elected officials immediately and request they add their support. In doing so, we hope to send a clear message about the importance of this program in assisting the most vulnerable – those often impacted by violence and conflict – achieve one of life’s most basic need of feeding and nourishing oneself and their families and communities.
Call your senators (email works too) this weekend and ask them to add their name to the sign-on letter to support the Food for Peace program. If you are intimidated by the idea of making a phone call – consider calling tonight or over the weekend. You can leave a voicemail, and all of those voicemails on Monday morning will be counted and make a difference!
Photo: Kamama with oranges from her family’s orchard. With water close by, her mother, Julia, is able to water the orange, guava, mango, and lemon trees every day so that her family can enjoy healthy food. Kamama, age 5, lives in a community served by World Vision’s Mtelo water project in West Pokot County, Kenya. The gravity-fed water system supplies clean water to about 800 households as well as schools, churches, and a health center. © 2016 World Vision/ photo by Jon Warren