Despite the fact that Food For All's international donations represent only 10% of its budget, the organization remains committed to funding world hunger projects.
As Food For All administrators point out, the original charge of the Food Industry Crusade Against Hunger was alleviating starvation in Africa. Larry McCurry, chairman of Food For All, told SN the organization has refocused its efforts on the international front. “We've turned the corner, stopped the bleeding and fixed what needed to be fixed.”
McCurry says Food For All is back on track in its international focus, which the organization sees as an important part of its heritage. Last year, $66,000 was donated in the form of grants to eight international anti-hunger organizations. What follows is a short summary of three organizations that have benefited from Food For All funding.
PROJECT CONCERN INTERNATIONAL
From Food For All's funding through Henry's Marketplace and its sister Wild Oats Markets, Boulder, Colo., a portion of the over $100,000 raised went to Project Concern International in San Diego. This year marked the first time Food For All has worked with this nonprofit.
PCI was founded 45 years ago by a doctor not only to provide food for the hungry but to prevent disease and provide clean water and nutritious food. The organization serves 3 million vulnerable people each year in 11 countries on four continents, including the United States.
George Guimaraes, PCI's president and chief executive officer, said the organization does a lot of work in food and nutrition, and manages a variety of programs to help families and communities improve the availability of food.
Some of the projects financed by PCI's $24 million budget last year included providing school children in Nicaragua with nutritious daily breakfasts and feeding 70,000 orphans in Ethiopia and Zambia. Such programs drew the attention of Food For All, Guimaraes said.
“We do everything from direct distribution of food to using food as means of payment for work. Through the Department of Agriculture, workers are compensated for their work with food for rehabilitating sanitation systems or rebuilding roads. We use food in a number of ways, and we are usually able to integrate other health programs around our work with food. We are an integrated health and development organization and food is a key element in our programs, but not the only element.”
He said nutrition is a critical element in the poverty equation. “We seeing a major push in ruling out retro antiviral therapy in Africa and seeing drugs distributed to people both living and dying of AIDS. However, without good nutrition the effectiveness of the drugs is severely compromised. You can't separate good nutrition and food availability from many other issues in the developing world.”
Guimaraes described the state of global hunger as a “need that far exceeds the available resources.”
“It takes a lot of contributors to do the work that needs to be done, and we are very grateful for those willing to sign up in our mission here,” he said.
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT EXCHANGE — IDEX
Since 1985, IDEX, based in San Francisco, has helped build the institutional capacity of grass-roots organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Currently, IDEX works with 15 partner organizations in Guatemala, Mexico, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, South Africa and Zimbabwe. IDEX's mission is to promote economic empowerment and social change in Africa, Asia and Latin America. IDEX partners with community-based organizations to support their initiatives by providing grants, fostering regional and international alliances, and engaging United States-based constituencies.
According to development director Anne Mawdsley, Food For All funding over the past two years has been applied to IDEX projects in Asia to ensure food security and address long-term hunger prevention. The grant will provide 1,000 women with the means to move out of poverty. Some of the on-the-ground activities that FFA grants help support are:
Organize new and strengthen existing self-help groups for 1,000 women from small and marginal farm households.
Give small loans to 500 self-help group members to develop income-generating projects such as food processing, backyard agriculture, small trade, vegetable cultivation, goat raising, cow rearing, etc.
Train 500 women farmers on alternative farming practices such as diversified land use and vermiculture, soil and water conservation, and crop production.
Construct rainwater harvesting structure and promote seed-banks.
The grant from Food For All also has helped IDEX leverage additional support from other foundations and individual donors.
“Finding long-term solutions to address hunger is critical to the Asia region as there are over 315 million people who are food insecure, a majority of them being women, children, rural dwellers and other marginalized groups,” Mawdsley said. “Food insecurity is a problem of poverty rather than total production of food. Solutions to this problem involve micro-finance at the community level and access to training to design the most effective land management and agricultural systems that are sustainable while simultaneously protecting the environment. The FFA grants allow us to work with local groups in this way.
“We find that companies associated with food production and distribution, such as supermarkets, would find resonance between their company's mission and the activities described. We imagine that we share a common interest in finding solutions to chronic hunger, and helping others in the world share in the abundance that we enjoy in this country.”
This nonprofit Christian humanitarian organization, based in Seattle, has been providing disaster response and community development programs for more than 50 years to peoples in Africa, Asia and the Americas.
The mission is to provide life, opportunity and hope to suffering people around the world. Projects include livelihood training; literacy and education; access to clean water; food and health care; disaster assistance; and special initiatives. The goal is to reach 7 million people by 2010.
The organization worked with the original FICAH in the early '90s.
With an $88 million budget, World Concern funds 20-30 projects in 19 countries. Of its annual budget, $77 million is spent on deworming medications.
Rebecca Sill, foundation relations, said getting the full benefit of nutrition is critical and that is why so much of the funding goes to these medications. “It's an amazing program. Even though it sounds like high value, we get the medications for a fraction of the value.
Food For All provided $5,000 to fund micro-credit loans in Afghanistan to help women start their own business. “Such programs touch a lot of people and it perpetuates because loans are granted over and over once they are paid off with interest,” Sill explained.
Other such programs included livestock training in Bolivia. A family is given a goat and when the goat has offspring they pay back with a goat and keep the rest of the offspring and another person gets a goat. “They raise those animals and it pays for their food, health care and education.”