The Five Best Ways USAID Helped Nigeria in 2016
As 2016 ends, USAID has announced encouraging news in regards to their long-time relationship with the country of Nigeria. Going forward, USAID plans to add $92 million to their humanitarian assistance program for the country. This move is symbolic of the year the two partners have shared; one rich with progress in support of refugees displaced and suffering from the Boko Haram insurgency. Here are five more ways USAID helped Nigeria in 2016:

  1. In November 2016, USAID and Chi Farms, which invests in emerging Nigerian economies by making use of local resources, partnered to add roughly 4,000 tons of catfish to the country’s water bodies. Part of USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, the two will also train 6,000 farmers and entrepreneurs in order to establish a more stable backbone for Nigeria’s economy.
  2. One of the most effective ways USAID helped Nigeria in 2016 was through its humanitarian assistance to those affected by the Boko Haram insurgency near the Lake Chad Basin. As of August 2016, more than 2 million people were internally displaced due to the conflict. USAID provides stability for refugees by administering such simple things as electronic vouchers, which cover things like food and household supplies in local shops – not only does the family benefit, but so does the local business. By August 2016, USAID had given $98 million in humanitarian aid to this region of Nigeria.
  3. In June 2016, USAID donated 160 metric tons of seeds to 6,000 Nigerian households, which they now estimate effects the lives of 60,000 internal refugees. Food insecurity has proven an endemic problem since the beginning of the conflict with Boko Haram, and this ambitious initiative lends a great deal of stability to families throughout the country that are now in control of their food supply. The donation of seeds also includes food packets to help sustain families as they await the harvest.
  4. USAID deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in November 2016 to confront increasingly dire food insecurity in areas affected by the conflict. A study conducted by the organization in October estimated that 20 to 50 percent of children in the past six months suffered from acute malnourishment. The humanitarian crisis currently puts 9.2 million in need of help, and the arrival of DART means assistance can spread to more people, and more quickly.
  5. Assisting with food security wasn’t the only way USAID helped Nigeria in 2016 – they also trained personnel to staff 44 private hospitals for family planning counseling and implementation. As part of their USAID SHOPS project (Strengthening Health Outcomes for the Private Sector), the organization worked to increase quality and accessible family planning services throughout Nigeria. Completed in 2016, the project ran for five years and reached six states, and also trained 115 pharmacists to provide counseling to families. As a result, local healthcare facilities are reporting an increase in the use of effective contraception.

Since 2015, the U.S. has been the largest donor to Nigeria, giving $291 million in the 2016 fiscal year toward humanitarian aid. With the incredible news of their upcoming $92 million increase, USAID has extended help to tens of thousands more people and strengthened a partnership that will continue to improve the lives of millions of Nigerians.

Emily Marshall

Photo: Flickr

In Honduras, as in many places, gender conceptions influence national prosperity. Reimagining the ways that men and women can contribute to their communities and economies and learning how to share the societal load can stimulate poverty alleviation.

More than 1.7 million people in Honduras live in poverty, and many live on less than $1.25 per day. Many impoverished people live in rural areas. In fact, 46 percent of all Hondurans live in rural areas, where the primary occupation is farming. About 38 percent of all Honduran employment is in agriculture, and many farmers are struggling to make ends meet.

USAID and Feed the Future have made significant strides in assisting the Honduran farming community by improving technologies and management practices to help farmers increase the value of their agricultural products. However, there is still a long way to go, particularly in regard to supporting female farmers.

Income gaps and marginal political representation have crippled Honduran women’s leadership in the agricultural sector, despite the fact that in western Honduras alone, more than 40 percent of farming households are headed by women.

For three years, USAID and Feed the Future have partnered with Lutheran World Relief (LWR) in a project called Gender in Agriculture: From Policy to Practice (GAPP). Aiming to stimulate women’s leadership in Honduran agricultural communities, the program is training female farmers in leadership, public speaking and investing. Its hope is that as female farmers become more involved in local political processes, they will gain access to public funding and loans that tend only to benefit male farmers.

One recent GAPP success is a municipal agreement that part of the civic budget reserved for gender activities be specifically applied to women-led agricultural enterprises.

In addition to empowering female farmers in Honduras to demand their own rights, GAPP also funds programs to educate male leaders about the importance of gender equity in agriculture.

Using the concept of “new masculinities,” GAPP teaches male community members to appreciate women’s crucial role in the agricultural sector. According to one male GAPP advocacy training participant, Maximo Mejía, “Being a man isn’t, as they say, being a big shot, but understanding and seeking equality with your partner.”

While the provision of funding and new technologies does alleviate the difficulties faced by female farmers in Honduras, helping people rethink gender roles and stereotypes will help ensure that economic stagnation dissipates.

Feed the Future continues to train women to grow home gardens, farm fish and utilize the latest farming technologies, while GAPP teaches female farmers in Honduras how to use their voices to gain the civic support they need.

At the same time, Honduran men are relearning not only women’s roles in their economy, but also their own roles in caregiving and family health. This mutual empowerment of men and women will help break the poverty cycle in Honduras.

Robin Lee

Photo: Flickr

Feed the FutureThe White House Summit on Global Development opened with a panel analyzing Feed the Future, a government initiative focused on improving global food security.

In July 2016, President Obama signed the Global Food Security Act of 2016. This shows that increasing growth in the developing world and eradicating poverty are national security interests for the U.S.

The Obama Administration has shown dedication to improving global food security by implementing government organizations to address the various problems of global food security. One of those government organizations is Feed the Future.

Feed the Future began in 2009 and has focused on improving the agriculture industry of partner countries and nutrition to combat poverty and hunger. Their approach is as follows:

  1. Selection
    Nineteen countries have been selected based on five criteria:

    • Level of need
    • Opportunity for partnership
    • Potential for agricultural growth
    • Opportunity for regional synergy
    • Resource availability
  2. Strategic Planning
    The selected countries and the U.S. work together to make plans to create a more sustainable society through policy reform and domestic and foreign investments.
  3. Implementation
    The U.S. makes core investments in the countries’ agricultural sectors, as well as women, nutrition and agricultural infrastructure.
  4. Review and Scaling Up
    Progress reports of Feed the Future programming are published annually and reviewed so that programs can be improved upon for the future.

In 2015, Feed the Future helped over 9 million farmers gain access to improved technologies and management practices. This increased agricultural productivity and boosted the agricultural economy by more than $800 million. The organization also improved the nutrition of over 17 million children under the age of five.

In September 2015, many countries — including the U.S. — adopted a set of 17 goals to ensure a sustainable planet in the future. These goals, which are expected to be achieved by the year 2030 include, but are not limited to, no poverty, no hunger, good health and well-being, quality education and gender equality. Feed the Future is a vital part of the U.S. government’s role in achieving these goals.

As the Obama administration comes to a close, one can only hope that government initiatives like Feed the Future will continue to prosper and take significant steps towards ending poverty and hunger.

Ugochi Ihenatu
Photo: Flickr

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 as the population continues to increase.

Every country depends heavily on its 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 two billion people on earth.

Currently, 800 million individuals around the world suffer from chronic hunger, mainly due to poverty. With two 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% and maternal mortality rates by 40-65%. This amazing feat was achieved by providing mothers and children with supplements, vaccines and bed nets — actions that save about six million children per year.

A Truly Life-Saving Organization

USAID saves more than three 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