The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is working to alleviate global poverty in the world and doing a shockingly good job so far. USAID believes it can wipe out extreme poverty (earning less than $1.90 a day) by the year 2030, and USAID has three presidential initiatives working to attain this admirable goal: Feed the Future, Global Climate Change and Global Health.

Feed the Future

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Because nearly 800 million people go to bed hungry every night, Feed the Future works to diminish that number by spurring economic growth to increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and malnourishment.

USAID believes that Feed the Future will be a lasting initiative with long-term success since the program is deeply rooted in government and organizational partnerships. This adaptivity is key, especially since the population continues to increase.

Every country depends heavily on their environment to provide essential resources, such as food, water, shelter and energy. Unfortunately, these resources are under incredible strain due to the world’s tremendous increase in population; by 2050 there will be roughly an additional 2 billion people on earth.

Currently, 800 million individuals around the world suffer from chronic hunger, mainly due to poverty. With 2 billion additional people on earth by 2050, the number of chronically hungry individuals will only increase without initiatives such as Feed the Future.

Global Climate Change Initiative 

USAID’s Global Climate Change Initiative works to help impoverished countries manage and benefit from their natural resources. USAID can alleviate countries out of poverty for good by helping them manage their supporting land tenure policies and resource rights, fight deforestation and plant trees, protect biodiversity and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Global Health

USAID’s Global Health Initiative “seeks to advance world safe and secure from infectious diseases and to promote global health security as an international health priority.”

USAID works towards this goal by decreasing maternal mortality and infant death rates as well as lessening the number of HIV infections found in children. In the past 50 years, USAID has helped child mortality rates decline by 70 percent and maternal mortality rates by 40 to 65 percent. This amazing feat was achieved by providing mothers and children with supplements, vaccines and bed nets — actions that save about 6 million children per year.

A Truly Life-Saving Organization 

USAID saves more than 3 million lives annually through their immunization programs, three large initiatives and many smaller poverty-alleviating acts. USAID has educated over 850,000 people on HIV prevention and over 50 million couples worldwide use family planning because of USAID’s population program.

USAID plays a critical role in our nation’s effort to stabilize countries and build responsive local governance. Most importantly, USAID strives to not only alleviate extreme global poverty, but also keep individuals from having to make impossible choices between food, medicine, housing or education daily. Incredibly, this organization does all in its power to make sure people are able to afford their basic human needs.

Bella Chaffey

Photo: Flickr


With nearly 842 million people suffering from chronic hunger, the role of the United States in eradicating global poverty is becoming more important.

President Obama’s Feed the Future program aims to “strengthen food security and nutrition for millions of people by focusing on the smallholder farmers at the foundation of the world’s agriculture system.” USAID reported that targeting the agricultural sector, like the program does, is “at least twice as effective at reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.”

Initiatives similar to Obama’s Feed the Future give the appearance that the United States is doing enough for the poor globally. The Center for Global Development produces an annual report called “The Commitment to Development” Index, which rates a country’s finance, technology, environment, trade, security, migration and overall aid in the past year. The United States was ranked 21 out of 27 developed countries, which puts them in the bottom third based on foreign aid.

While ranked 6th in both trade and security aid, the Center for Global Development rated the United States as 27th and 26th in the finance and environment aid categories. That puts the most prominent developed nation behind countries in economic snafus like Greece and Ireland in those categories. The data analysis blames the low ranking on “improper environmental monitoring and a low score on the Financial Secrecy Index.”

A PhD student from Stanford University named Lauren Prather researched why countries like the United States post such low foreign aid numbers. Her study compared a population’s desire to give with the amount that was actually given. In the end, she found “a clear relationship between citizens’ support for foreign aid and the amount their country gives.”

Does that mean that the average person in the United States is not doing enough for the poor globally? Prather conducted another study measuring an American’s chance of providing aid based on where it is going. Prather a survey of 1000 people and found that “A majority of Americans supported giving both food and money to their conationals, while a majority supported cutting both entirely for foreigners.”

Prather’s research and “The Commitment to Development” Index reveal the United States’ lack of urgency when it comes providing foreign aid. In addition, a Gallup poll released in 2014 shows that African approval of U.S. leadership dropped to a record low of 59 percent.

Research indicates that procrastinating the objective of poverty eradication is a threat to the global political and economic order. “The weaknesses of poor states could destabilize the entire international system,” asserts Vincent Ferraro, author of a Wilson Center report titled “Should Global Poverty be a U.S. National Security Issue?”

The perception that the United States is doing enough for the poor globally via foreign aid is quickly corrected by research and data done by several organizations. Programs supported by USAID like Feed the Future can provide another way forward in the global arena of poverty relief. Ferraro concludes by saying, “A reformulation of the national interest to include global interests is necessary because our world scarcely resembles that of 17th century Europe.”

Jacob Hess

Photo: Flickr

Feed_the_FutureA Nov. 5 event on Capital Hill co-hosted by NGO alliance InterAction announced the progress of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

In 2014 alone, the organization reportedly reached nearly 19 million households and helped nearly seven million farmers gain access to new tools and technologies.

New data demonstrates that through Feed the Future and other U.S. government efforts, childhood stunting rates have declined in Ethiopia, Ghana and parts of Kenya. These rates have dropped between 9 and 33 percent in recent years while areas in Uganda have seen a 16 percent drop in poverty.

In Honduras, Feed the Future is helping to reduce both poverty and stunting for its program participants.

Led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the organization is working towards pioneering a comprehensive approach to ending hunger and creating global change. Feed the Future draws on the resources and expertise of 10 other U.S. government partners.

The organization currently focuses on small farm holders, particularly women, across 19 countries globally.

“Through Feed the Future, the United States is partnering across borders and across sectors to unlock the transformative potential of agriculture,” Eric Postel, the Associate Administrator for USAID, said.

“This global effort is empowering rural farming families to lift themselves out of poverty and hunger, and the results are clear. From Asia to the Caribbean to Africa, Feed the Future is helping raise crop yields and incomes, reduce stunting and poverty, and improve child nutrition.”

With nearly 800 million people suffering from chronic hunger, and with the world’s population projected to increase to more than nine billion by 2050, ensuring that everyone has enough nutritious food to eat will require a 60 percent increase in agricultural production without adversely affecting the environment.

According to Postel, “Going forward, USAID and our partners will continue working to ensure everyone has the nutritious food they need to lead full, healthy lives.”

Kara Buckley

Sources: Feed the Future 1, Feed the Future 2, USAID
Photo: Flickr


Ghana is one of the most successful countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region in combating hunger and malnourishment. The proportion of undernourished people went from 23.5% in 1996 to 2.9% in 2013, allowing them to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1) target for halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger.

In northern Ghana, 63% of the population lives in extreme poverty, and most rely on crop production. Most of the service and industrial industries are in the south, where poverty is less prevalent.

School feeding helps keep malnutrition low: every day, 368 million children around the world eat a meal at school. The World Food Programme (WFP) provides monthly rations to families who send their daughters to school, and they provide scholarships for secondary school to those who complete the program with an 85% attendance rate.

Over 1.7 million children every day are fed through the Ghana School Feeding Program. The Partnership for Child Development (PCD) is collaborating with the government to link nutrition with school meals and community training. One way the PCD is developing nutritious school meals is through the use of an online meal planner.

The web-based planner allows the user to create and add the costs from local ingredients. It links prices from local markets and displays the total cost of each meal. Only 12.3% of the population has access to the Internet, so for those who do not have access, the PCD developed an offline meal planner.

“By coupling high-tech digital resources such as the meals planner with low-tech engagement, integrated school feeding and health programs are vital if governments are to tackle the malnutrition crisis facing the next generation,” said Dr. Lesley Drake, executive director of PCD.

PCD is also combating malnutrition in Ghana through community meetings and 400 community-based champions of health and nutrition in order to convey the importance of proper nutrition and hygiene.

Feed the Future is fighting for food security in Ghana by focusing on rice, corn and soybean production to help farmers where poverty is most prevalent. The agricultural industry needs more support in order to do more research for crop-yielding and improve irrigation infrastructure.

USAID is committed to sustaining agricultural productivity by managing natural resources. Feed the Future and USAID activities support Ghana’s goals of reducing poverty and increasing food security.

Malnutrition in Ghana is declining due to programs like the online meal planner and the work of organizations like Feed the Future and USAID. Undernourishment and hunger continue to decline, but since 2007, the prevalence of underweight children under the age of five in Ghana has only dropped 0.5% after declining 11.8% between 1997 to 2007. Today, 13.9% of children under five in Ghana are underweight.

Donald Gering

Sources: HGSF, Impatient Optimist, Knoema, Social Progress Imperative, UNDP, USAID WFP 1, WFP 2
Photo: Modern Ghana

Daniel Obare used to be a subsistence farmer. His family ate most of the tomatoes and green peppers he grew, and he sold the surplus on the side. Today, he cultivates watermelons on three acres of land and uses cutting-edge farming techniques. His family and him have experienced a huge lifestyle improvement thanks to the agricultural guidance of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative.

Most Tanzanian farmers do not have the training or equipment required to properly use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They use untreated seeds planted at random distances apart in sunken beds and often rely on rainfall for precious irrigation. These inefficient techniques result in lower yields, farms that are more vulnerable to extreme weather and high levels of pollution caused by chemical runoff.

In September 2014, Obare attended a farmer’s convention in Mbeya called the Nane Nane Fair. There, he met members of the Tanzania Horticultural Association, a group run by Tanzanians and supported by USAID.

With their help, Obare learned more modern farming techniques and dramatically increased his yield. “My lifestyle has completely changed. For instance, my daughter, who was in a government school, has been transferred into a private school that has more facilities. I can confidently pay 1.5 million TZS [$740] for her annual school fees,” Obare said.

Obare’s experience in Tanzania is indicative of a greater trend throughout Africa. USAID’s Feed the Future initiative works in 12 African nations supporting groups like the Tanzania Horticultural Association. The programs differ by country, from the small farmer training and support in Tanzania to trade hub programs in Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique.

“The trade hub provides targeted technical assistance to governments, the private sector and civil society organizations to advance regional trade within southern Africa while incorporating gender integration, environment compliance and strategic outreach in all activities,” a USAID report stated.

Feed the Future is ultimately trying to give developing nations a strong economic base in sustainable agriculture. Their initiatives focus on efficiency, resilience in the face of a changing climate and gender equality. Their impact has been felt by small farmers and administrators alike.

James Bever, a former mission director for USAID, is enthusiastic about the program’s potential. When asked about the Feed the Future programs in Ghana, he told reporters that agribusiness has the potential to really take off, especially in northern Ghana.

“It is a sustainable model and we are extremely excited about it,” he said. “I think Ghana is in the path to an agricultural revolution that really can turn the northern part of the country to a bread basket and reduce imports. The north is where there is a real potential for quick improvement in grain production such as rice, white and yellow maize and sorghum, which are marketable.”

The dedication of local agricultural groups is turning USAID’s support into skills and their goals into reality. More farmers are being helped every day, and despite the challenges they face, small farmers in Africa are living markedly better lives.

– Marina Middleton

Sources: Feed the Future 1, Business Ghana USAID 1, Feed the Future 2 USAID 2
Photo: Flickr

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of petroleum oil and has an unemployment rate approximately 64 percent lower than the rest of the world. Through this economic success, malnutrition in Saudi Arabia remains a prevalent issue.

The indicators of nutritional imbalances among children 5 years or younger include stunting, wasting, being underweight and overweight. Stunting refers to a low height at a given age and wasting refers to a low weight for a specific height at a given age. Nutritional imbalances such as these result in malnutrition.

In the 2000s, malnutrition in Saudi Arabia for children 5 or younger was significant: 5.3 percent of the youth were underweight, 9.3 percent of the children were stunting, 11.8 percent of children were wasting and 6.1 percent of children were overweight.

These percentages of malnourished youth in Saudi Arabia may seem small and insignificant, but when compared to U.S. percentages of malnourishment it provides perspective to the real issue at hand.

During that same years, only 0.5 percent of children in the U.S. were underweight, 2.1 percent were stunted, 0.5 percent of children were wasting, and only 6 percent of children were overweight.

Although a portion of Saudi Arabia’s 28.7 million population live in wealth, approximately 20 percent of Saudi Arabia live in severe poverty. This percentage of individuals living in poverty correlates to malnutrition in Saudi Arabia.

Malnutrition in Saudi Arabia stems directly from families living in poverty who lack the resources to eat meals that supplement a healthy, balanced diet.

Saudi Arabia provides free healthcare and education resources to families who cannot afford it but Saudi Arabia neglects assisting families in poverty with food and meals. It is common for poverty ridden families to rely on citizens to give them free food handouts.

Malnutrition is not only affecting Saudi Arabia but also nations across the entire globe. According to Action Against Hunger, malnutrition is the cause of 50 percent of all child deaths.

While Saudi Arabia is working to boost citizen health and nutrition, the U.S. is implementing programs to help cut hunger in poverty struck nations.

In 2009, President Barack Obama developed the Feed the Future initiative which is a global food nutrition program working to reduce hunger and poverty. Feed the Future is currently running in 19 countries; unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is not one of those countries.

Although programs like Feed the Future are engaging the U.S. in helping reduce hunger and malnutrition in 19 countries, nations like Saudi Arabia are being neglected. With the implementation of more food nutrition programs, the U.S. could strive to make a global impact in increasing health and nutrition.

– Danielle Koontz

Sources: MSU, WHO, Time, Feed the Future, Action Against Hunger
Photo: Sat7UK

Feed the Future
According to USAID, “More than 800 million people across the globe go to bed hungry every night.” In order to bring this famine to an end, the agency has teamed up with the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative.

The strategy of this approach is much more effective than simply delivering crates of food to different regions of the world. Feed the Future focuses on educating farmers on more efficient ways to increase agriculture. Since climate changes affect the way crops grow in some of the world’s poorest countries, the plan finds better ways to cultivate food.

“Recent studies suggest that every 1 percent increase in agricultural income per capita reduces the number of people living in extreme poverty by between 0.6 and 1.8 percent,” says Feed the Future.

Although its focus is on ensuring food security, Feed the Future also focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment. In most developing countries, women possess less power in the agricultural market, working for free with no control over farmland.

“There is consistent and compelling evidence that when the status of women is improved, agricultural productivity increases, poverty is reduced, and nutrition improves,” says Feed the Future.

One of its approaches is to introduce farmers to new technologies to help production. Written in Feed the Future’s progress report, a farmer in southern Bangladesh says, “This modern technology reduces my time in the field.”

So far, the initiative has helped nearly 7 million farmers and fed 12.5 million children. These farmers and children belong to countries in Central America, Africa and the Middle East.

Along with women’s empowerment and farm education, Feed the Future believes “a healthy, productive life requires adequate nutrition.” Since poor health can lead to disease and distraction from education, it directly correlates to the rate of poverty. By educating developing nations on proper health, these nations improve living conditions, as well as the physical and mental health of children.

Feed the Future also works with the Global Health Initiative and USAID Office of Food for Peace to secure meals across the world. As it continues to work with multiple sectors and partners, Feed the Future is looking for more ways to improve food security in developing countries. By focusing on the effects of greenhouse gases, and “by sustainably boosting agricultural yields and household income,” it is progressively finding ways to help farmers deal with climate changes.

Although the initiative has made great progress, its fight is not over as it continues to work with farmers across the globe.

Kimberly Quitzon

Sources: Feed the Future, USAID
Photo: USAID

Over the years, The United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, has supplied 46 million people with food and protected 1.5 million children from preventable diseases. They hold 87 missions around the world, and are partnered with 3,500 companies and organizations. However, they only use one percent of the federal budget. Regardless of the minimal support from the government, USAID continues to create better living conditions for the world’s poor. Four recent developments are taking place in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Manila and Mozambique.

USAID has funded $62 million on Tetra Tech, a company focused on engineering and program management. Tetra Tech will focus on helping to develop the government system in Afghanistan. According to Business Wire, the company will “strengthen the linkages between the central government and provincial levels for strategic planning, budgeting and service delivery.” With this investment, the state will better develop communication to help citizens.

In Nigeria, USAID is helping farmers increase cocoa production to compensate for the fall in oil prices. Cocoa is a key export for Nigeria, and with the education to grow more effectively, it will support and diversify the economy. AllAfrica has recognized Mathew Burton, Director of Economic Growth and Environment for USAID, who believes “there are obviously opportunities for Nigeria to explore in the development of her cocoa sector.” With the search for investors to further help boost production, this can be a tremendous help for Nigeria’s economy and development.

After the multiple natural disasters the Philippines has endured, USAID has announced a partnership with the “Education Governance Effectiveness Project, which will help elementary public schools in the target provinces get back on track towards improving learning outcomes.” The mission is focused on helping students in grade school to help implement a solid learning foundation for their future education. Since education correlates to the rate of poverty, this will be a stepping stone for the country’s further development.

Feed the Future is the U.S. government’s initiative to end world hunger. USAID is assisting in helping farmers in Mozambique use “more productive agriculture technologies, improving nutrition and health, and connecting farmers to markets.” This initiative not only helps decrease starvation, but also increase the economy by selling goods in markets. USAID has educated farmers on proper agricultural techniques and partnered with the Government of Mozambique.

The progress USAID has made gives more reason to why they deserve better funding from the government. With consistent efforts to make better living conditions for the world’s poor, they are a beacon of hope to ending world poverty. The more USAID works to create plans across the globe, the less we will see famine and disease in poor countries.

– Kimberly Quitzon

Sources: USAID 1, USAID 2, Business Wire, All Africa, Feed The Future
Photo: Flickr

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has recently funded startup programs aiming to address global poverty at several universities. The agency hopes investments will promote innovative projects that will be economically sustainable once start-up dollars run dry.

“The old model was we need something built, we hire a contractor,” USAID head Rajiv Shah said. “The new model is solve these huge and challenging problems with innovators and entrepreneurs who can come together and create the kind of solutions that can scale up to reach tens of millions of households.”

Development labs at seven major universities so far have received funding from USAID. The labs are field-testing a variety of new products, ranging from hand-held medical diagnostic technology to sanitation devices.

While diverse, all products are consistently cheap enough to dispense broadly and efficiently, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

Most recently, the agency granted Kansas State University $50 million towards their Feed the Future Initiative.

“With four Feed the Future Innovation Labs now hosted by the College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension,” said dean of the College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, John Floros. “USAID is making a nearly $100 million investment in Kansas State University’s ability to provide leadership to the global food systems research, teaching and extension efforts.”

Feed the Future works to promote research and innovation, expand proven workable technologies, and expand nutritional programs for global food producers and their families. Last year alone, the campaign expanded new technologies and management to more than 7 million farmers

Another project endorsed by USAID is Gram Power, an entrepreneurial firm considered a pioneer in off-grid renewable energy in India. This project was kickstarted by Yashraj Khaitan, a UC Berkeley student originally from India.

“I wanted to use technology to work on something high impact,” said Khaitan.

The firm’s model is projected to vastly expand electrical power to Indian homes, according to vice president of infrastructure at Google and guide to the Gram Power effort, Eric Brewer.

“We are looking for ways to find more Gram Power type projects,” said Ticora Jones, director of university-based projects for USAID. “We want to populate a pipeline of innovators.”

Gabrielle Sennett

Sources: USAID, LA Times
Photo: The Guardian,

poverty in africa
A new report released by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) claims the Feed the Future program has bettered the lives of millions of people who suffer from poverty and chronic hunger. In 2013, Feed the Future reached 7 million farmers, teaching them how to achieve a higher crop yield by using new technologies, and provided vital nutrition to 12.5 million malnourished children.

The program, which is the U.S. government’s global health and food security initiative, was established by the Obama Administration in 2010 and aims to reduce extreme poverty and starvation around the world. Feed the Future asserts hunger and poverty are inextricably linked and cyclical, and breaking this cycle will promote global prosperity and stability. Currently, the initiative focuses on 19 countries, which were selected based on level of need, opportunity for partnership, potential for agricultural growth, opportunity for regional synergy and resource availability. These countries are located in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Feed the Future is led by USAID, and works alongside other federal agencies, including such organizations as the Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the U.S. African Development Foundation, to achieve its goal of reducing poverty and hunger by at least 20 percent in each area that the program is established.

In order to break the poverty cycle, the program establishes important relationships with impoverished countries to strengthen their agricultural growth, empower women, educate people on proper nutrition and eco-friendly farming and create partnerships between the private sector, civil society and research community. By working on the ground, Feed the Future has made real, tangible progress.

Countries where Feed the Future has achieved the most success are Senegal, Bangladesh and Honduras. In Senegal, dependence on food imports has fallen significantly, specifically in regard to rice. The country’s rice imports have fallen by more than 20 percent and the country has grown enough rice to feed 400,000 Senegalese for one year. In Bangladesh, rice crop yields increased by 20 percent, and in Honduras, horticulture sales increased by 125 percent, which enabled more than 4,300 families to move above the poverty line of $1.25 a day.

In addition to these advancements, Feed the Future has also brought in billions of dollars of fundraising. For agricultural progress in African countries alone, $7 billion in private sector funds were raised. The organization also holds events, such as symposiums and summit meetings, to educate audience members on different branches of the initiative, and meet with world leaders to discuss further advancements of Feed the Future.

According to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Feed the Future is not only “pioneering a new model of development,” but “delivering results that are changing the face of poverty and hunger.” The full progress report released by USAID can be found here.

– Taylor Lovett

Sources: All Africa, Feed the Future, The New York Times