$6 A Day is Not Enough

$6 a Day is Not Enough

Thankfully for this family however, there is a lifeline – And it’s YOU!

Because of your compassionate support, there are some exciting projects going on in their village that are bringing help and change for children like Pedro and Jose. Our school meals program provides children with a hot, nutritious meal five days a week. Children like Pedro and Jose now have a large, nutritious meal every school day that is helping them to grow healthy and strong.

Your faithful support as a child sponsor is impacting the community where your child lives by providing help like deworming medication for children, education and literacy programs, sanitary water, and other educational activities that are building a healthier, thriving community.

Every dollar you generously give – every month – is an act of love that is truly transforming communities, families and the futures of children like Pedro and Jose. Without your help, their chances for a better tomorrow would be slim.

Thank you for your generous support. Children like Pedro and Jose are smiling and filled with joy because of friends like you. You are changing the world… one child at a time.

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The Importance of World Water Day

Written by Caitlin Duncan, Government Relations Fellow

For World Water Day 2017, we at Feed the Children (FEED) would like to invite you to imagine a few simple scenes. First, imagine a sweltering summer day and how much you would savor a cup of cool water. Next, imagine finally getting to bathe after a long day of work or travel. Lastly, think of getting up early to cook a big pot of oatmeal for your family’s breakfast. Now in your mind’s eye, was the cool water you drank a cloudy yellow color? Did you have to walk a mile or more to bathe in a murky river or pond? Did you consider that your family might become ill from the food you cooked with contaminated water?

The UN has declared access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) a human right. And for many who read this, clean water is so readily available that we may have never considered how different our lives would be without it. Our water is always clear and clean, which is something to be grateful for. However, for the estimated billions of people around the world without easy access to safe, clean water, this lack puts a constant strain on their health and time. Ensuring adequate WASH practices is a key global health initiative, and FEED works diligently to develop and maintain Health & Water program activities to this end. These activities vary from building water pans to collecting water from underneath dry riverbeds; from capping springs to providing safe water containers and water-treatment products.

The following anecdote provides a snapshot of the difference that such interventions can make.

In Northern Uganda, four-year-old Kidega Julius lives in a community where food insecurity had long lingered and the only water source used to be a stream in a swamp, a good distance from his home. The milky-white water was shared communally with all the people and animals in the village. It contained snakes and frogs, and it was unsafe for domestic use. With donor support, FEED constructed two shallow wells in Kidega’s village so that clean water is no longer scarce. Children can drink it, parents can cook with it and everyone can wash with it.

Clean water and proper hygiene also make a huge difference in nutritional outcomes. It doesn’t matter how healthy a child’s diet is, if all the child drinks and washes with is dirty water. That is why our Health & Water projects include presentations, home visits and campaigns to encourage proper hand washing and to teach communities how to avoid common waterborne illnesses.

While Kidega’s life has changed for the better with access to clean water, the UN estimates that more than 2 million people die every year from diarrheal illnesses linked to poor hygiene and unsafe water, and that 1.8 billion people still get their drinking water from a source that is contaminated with fecal matter. So this World Water Day, we at FEED hope that you are inspired to take action on WASH issues. You might decide to generate awareness in your community, donate to programs that provide access to clean water or keep abreast of how your congressional representatives vote to fund WASH initiatives. So how will you celebrate World Water Day?

Read more about our Health & Water work, and consider shopping our gift catalog to provide clean water to communities around the world.

Celebrating National Agriculture Day

Written by Andrew McNamee, Manager of Public Policy

Today is the Agriculture Council of America’s (ACA) National Agriculture Day! The ACA began the National Agriculture Day program in 1973, and it has continued during National Agriculture Week every subsequent March. National Ag Day celebrates the contributions of agriculture to our everyday lives, and encourages Americans to understand how their food products are produced and the role agriculture plays in the economy.

At Feed the Children, we gratefully recognize the critical role America’s farmers play in our shared prosperity. Thanks to continual innovation and research, the U.S. enjoys an agricultural surplus unrivaled in human history. However, on this National Ag Day, we recognize there is still room for improvement, because prosperity in food production does not guarantee food security or a nutritionally aware population. The fact is that we still struggle to ensure that our most vulnerable children—even children in the same rural farming communities where so much food is produced—have access to a healthy, nourishing diet. We have spent nearly four decades working to fill in the gaps, whether through food distribution by our trucking fleet, the delivery of backpacks containing food and hygiene essentials, or the provision of summer meals to food-insecure kids when school is out. We work with donors, volunteers and corporate partners to make sure that our country’s food security and nutritional health match our agricultural accomplishments.

We are also active internationally, with programs in 10 countries, working to share America’s agricultural abundance with the world. You can learn more about our domestic programs and our international programs.

International Women’s Day

Written by Caitlin Duncan, Government Relations Fellow

International Women’s Day was initially meant to bring the plight of working women’s rights and issues into the public eye. It has since grown into a global movement to promote women’s rights as human rights and to rally for equal inclusion in political, social, and economic spaces. Whether living in the savannahs of East Africa or an apartment in East L.A., all women should have equal access to justice, education, health care, safety, economic opportunities, political influence, and every other tool necessary to reach their full potential.

At Feed the Children (FEED), we strive to provide hope and resources to those without life’s essentials so that they can reach their potential. We also believe that wherever there is adequate support for women, the whole community stands to benefit. This is why the four pillars of FEED’s international programs—Food & Nutrition, Health & Water, Education, and Livelihoods—all include aspects that benefit women, especially mothers. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Be Bold for Change,” and FEED is proud to be part of the bold work to advance gender parity around the world, and even more proud of the hard work and tenacity of the women we serve.

The following descriptions highlight FEED programs that aim to attain inclusion and empowerment for women and girls.

Empowering Women as Public Health Advocates

In an effort to improve public health outcomes in underserved communities around the world, FEED organizes Care Groups in which community health workers train a core group of local women in topics such as nutrition, family planning, safe food preparation, stigma reduction, and HIV prevention. These local women become community health leaders, regularly teaching 10 to 15 of their neighbors and helping households adopt positive behaviors, so that entire families and communities have improved health and wellness outcomes. The success of Care Groups is driven by empowered women and their capacity to share and support positive change.

 Expanding Educational Opportunities for Girls

FEED recognizes that women and girls often face difficulty in achieving academic goals for a host of reasons. According to UNICEF, in cases when a family cannot meet the direct costs of schooling (school supplies, clothing, etc.) and must choose between sending a boy or a girl to school, the boy’s education often takes priority. Part of our work at FEED is pushing back against the factors that lead to such a decision in the first place.

In El Salvador and the Philippines, FEED provides regular tutoring to both mothers and children in reading and comprehension; this means that women who may have missed such instruction in their youth recapture the opportunity to attain this life-changing skill. Additionally, in order to encourage caregivers to enroll their children in school (especially girls), FEED provides educational training and community sensitization through talks, visits, and campaigns. To make attendance more attainable, FEED’s work includes school meals programs that encourage children to go to school and improve academic performance. In the same vein, FEED works with corporate partners to provide school supplies and backpacks in eight program countries and shoes in seven program communities, to directly benefit children in our programs—we strive to break down barriers that keep all children from receiving an education.

Organizing Village Savings and Loan Groups

Village savings and loan (VSL) groups are an effective approach to increasing access to capital, particularly for women. These small groups of community members save and pool their funds together in areas where formal financial institutions are not otherwise available or feasible. VSL groups incorporate women into community efforts at capacity-building, leadership development, and community solidarity. While men and women are both invited to be members of a VSL group, at least three of the five elected committee members are women, ensuring leadership across genders. FEED supports VSL groups in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and the Philippines, reaching more than 27,000 individuals in 2015.

Supporting Small Business Development

FEED is involved in various community-driven livelihood activities that give women the traction they need to create both sustainable income and social capital, such as business development in El Salvador, Malawi, and Nicaragua. Currently, FEED provides ongoing training and support for business development in areas such as bakeries, natural medicine, tailoring and fabric shops, cosmetology, and community recycling centers.  In FY 2016, FEED trained nearly 5,000 adults in El Salvador, Honduras, Malawi and Nicaragua in bakery enterprise and more than 9,000 adults in other income-generating activities. And in some cases, the women who run the bakeries become suppliers for our school feeding programs. Thus, when women are empowered to gain skills and use their talents, the effects ripple through the entire community.

 For more information about Feed the Children’s international programs and our support of women internationally, head here, and for more info on our work in the US, head here. For ideas on how you can “Be Bold for Change” as an individual, head to the International Women’s Day site.

Update: Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew, the Caribbean’s worst storm in nearly a decade, hit Haiti on Oct. 5th and a few days later made landfall in the United States. The impact on both Haiti and the United States was vast. 1.4 million Haitian people were in immediate need of humanitarian assistance, more than 40% were children. In addition, 3 million coastal US residents were evacuated from their homes.

 Because of generous donors like you affected families in 11 different communities were provided with food, water, tarps, and hygiene kits. Our Feed the Children team in Haiti are continuing to assess the long term community needs.

 In addition, your support made it possible for 15 semitrucks caring water, personal care items, and food to reach families affected in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

 Because of people like you thousands of families impacted by the devastating Hurricane Matthew were provided with food, much needed essentials, and hope! Give now to help prepare for tomorrows disasters today.

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Introducing the Kenya Food and Nutrition Team

By Paul Odongo

At Feed the Children, we couldn’t do our work without the support of individuals, corporations and organizations—people like you. Your gifts help us attract and hire top-notch staff who implement our programs here and around the world—who help create a world where no child goes to bed hungry.

Today we’d like you to meet the Food & Nutrition Team in Kenya.

Many people mistakenly think Food & Nutrition consists simply of providing meals to hungry kids. We do work with feeding programs in communities and schools throughout Central America, Africa and the Philippines. But the food is only a fraction of what we do. Kenya’s Food & Nutrition Team also works to train and empower parents and communities through the Care Group program.

Their work starts before a child is even born, and continues through the child’s first thousand days of life. Studies have consistently shown that these few years can be the most important period in a child’s life. What happens in those early years helps ensure whether they will grow into healthy and well-nourished children.

Through the Care Group Model, we help educate entire communities on good hygiene, nutrition, sanitation and health. We employ seven Care Group Promoters, who are each responsible for four Care Groups. These groups typically consist of ten to twelve Lead Mothers, who are volunteers and the real lifeblood of what we do.

Each Lead Mother reaches out to ten to fifteen neighbor women who are pregnant, lactating, or have a child under five years of age. These Lead Mothers meet frequently in their Care Groups to learn key messages about nutrition and caregiving, which they pass on to their communities.

DSC_0145It’s mothers training mothers, and it works.

“We began teaching this year, and the community is already energized and taking action towards some of the issues in their communities,” says Anthony Muburi, a Care Group Promoter. This teaching includes how to access nutrient-rich foods and appropriate nutrition for infants and young children. The groups also help mothers access deworming medication for children, to prevent parasites. All activities focus on reducing stunting, which can result in permanent, irreversible negative health, developmental, and well-being outcomes for the remainder of children’s lives.

“When we started the program, there was some skepticism,” says Dennis Kaunda, a supervisor. “We had to take some time to sensitize the Ministry of Health officials on this model and how we would implement it.”

Along with the Care Groups, Food & Nutrition takes a big-picture approach, working with government to advocate for policies and budgets that encourage good nutrition and foster child development. We have been pivotal in nutrition advocacy in Kajiado County, which led to the launch of the County Nutrition Action Plan in June this year. This is one our most visible achievements, and the first of its kind in Kenya. We are helping get county government and other partners involved in the fight against hunger. The action plan will provide framework and coordination for a variety of interventions, activities and programs by county government, stakeholders and partners.

We salute the Food & Nutrition team in Kenya: Clementina Ngina, the Pillar Manager; Dennis Kaunda and Japheth Kaeke, supervisors on the ground; Anthony Muburi, Deborah Nekesa, Kevin Wanyonyi, Jackline Jerotich, Mercy Nyangaresi, Gladys Gathua and Everline Ahidi, our Care Group Promoters; and Esther Komen, a Program Officer that represents the team in Kajiado.

Will you stand with these dedicated individuals? Learn more about our work in Kenya here.

 

Gerlyn Gets a Toilet

Gerlyn is an 8 year old girl living in The Philippines. Her father is a fisherman, but makes less than $100 a month. Her mother does odd jobs, such as cleaning shells or helping seaweed farmers, to earn money for the family. At times the food runs out, which creates sadness and sickness in Gerlyn’s family.

The good news is for the first time ever, this family now has their own toilet! They are especially thankful for something we all take for granted. This much needed essential provides a much better home life for her family.

There’s even more good news! Because of sponsors just like you, her school provides a feeding program that gives Gerlyn nutritious meals. She is being fed because of you.

Gerlyn and her family are extremely grateful for the programs and benefits sponsors like you provide. We believe education is the first step out of poverty and you have provided great assistance to help children like Gerlyn. Thanks to you, children like Gerlyn receive much needed school supplies, good nutritious meals, and access to clean water to wash their hands and brush their teeth. Your sponsorship also provides shoes to these children in need.

We are grateful for sponsors like you who are changing the world for the better…one child at a time.

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Top Ten of 2016

While most Americans were paying attention to politics, sports, or pop culture in 2016, they may have missed these major events that impacted the poor and hungry around the world and here in the United States:

1. Passage of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) – The legislation, which enjoyed broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, allocates over $7 billion to initiatives focusing on small-scale agricultural producers and the nutrition of women and children worldwide. When he signed the legislation in July, President Obama noted that development spending is “one of the smartest investments we can make” for U.S. national security and shared prosperity. FEED supports the GFSA, and its passage was a major victory.

unnamed2. Collapse of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) – Not all hunger news in 2016 was good news. Hopes were high that the House and Senate could reconcile their respective versions of the CNR to replace the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which expired over a year ago. Although the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a bipartisan CNR, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) said he was unable to find common ground with House colleagues and minority members of the Senate to advance the bill. A major stumbling block was a provision in the House bill that would have created a block-grant pilot program in three states. The program would cut funds for school meal programs and abolish critical federal mandates, such as eligibility requirements for free and reduced-price school lunches and nutrition standards. FEED strongly opposed these elements of the House bill.

3. Passage of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act – This long-sought piece of legislation was first introduced over five years ago, but was finally signed by President Obama in July. It requires government agencies to closely monitor and evaluate foreign-aid programs based on their outcomes, and to improve transparency by posting data about the effectiveness of programs on foreignassistance.gov. Its unanimous approval in both the House and Senate is credited to a committed group of bipartisan sponsors.

4. Hurricane Matthew and cholera outbreak in Haiti – Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti in October. Recovery efforts have been hampered by poor infrastructure that predated the hurricane, and by an ongoing cholera epidemic for which the UN has taken partial responsibility. The cholera epidemic, which was triggered after the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in 2010, has been further exacerbated by the poor conditions following Hurricane Matthew.

5. Endemic measles is eradicated from the Americas – The World Health Organization declared in September that no one had been infected with measles in the Americas for a full year, meaning the virus is no longer endemic in North and South America. Despite a measles outbreak last year that spread to 667 people in 27 U.S. states, the western hemisphere has not suffered an endemic case of measles since 2002.

6. War and refugees – Unfortunately, 2016 saw the continuation of violent conflicts that drove masses of refugees from Syria and Yemen. The U.S. reached its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees in the 2016 fiscal year, and has now accepted over 12,000 Syrian refugees since the civil war began in 2011. Meanwhile, the ongoing conflict in Yemen (between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led coalition supporting the ousted government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi) has driven the largest food-security emergency in the world. Between 7 and 10 million people are in “Crisis” (IPC Phase 3 or worse), and require immediate humanitarian assistance. At least 2 million of this total are in “Emergency” (IPC Phase 4), and are at increased risk of mortality. FEED is part of a group of 18 concerned nongovernmental organizations providing food and supplies to 12,000 Syrian refugees, two-thirds of whom are women and children.

See here.

Women carry pails of water drawn from a borehole at Chimbuli Village, Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa District, Central Malawi, October 9, 2014. PHOTO FEED THE CHILDREN/AMOS GUMULIRA
Women carry pails of water drawn from a borehole at Chimbuli Village, Traditional Authority Chakhaza in Dowa District, Central Malawi, October 9, 2014. PHOTO FEED THE CHILDREN/AMOS GUMULIRA

7. El Niño drives food insecurity in Southern Africa – The strongest El Niño weather event since 1982 caused an increase in drought and heat waves across much of the world, but especially in southern Africa. Over 50 million Africans are now considered food insecure. Pervasive drought conditions have devastated the agriculture sector, which employs 80 percent of the working population in Malawi. FEED delivers food aid to over 80,000 Malawian children in 847 centers each day, provides water-purification packages, awards scholarships to help students finish high school, and organizes village savings and loan programs to help impoverished rural communities save and invest in small businesses.

unnamed-28. Ebola outbreak ends – The World Health Organization declared the epidemic over in June 2016, representing a major victory for public health officials and the NGO community. FEED and its partners in Liberia and Kenya created networks of trained Care Group Volunteers to teach public health practices, including hand washing with soap, water purification, and avoiding sick or dead animals. The volunteers also assisted communities in recognizing symptoms of the virus, and dispelling false beliefs about how the virus spreads. See here.

9. The rise and fall of Zika – Zika was declared a global health emergency in February, which precipitated massive global action against the disease: 1) the World Bank committed $150 million to combat the virus; 2) the Bank also established the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to quickly mobilize funds to address global disease outbreaks; 3) the Obama Administration issued a “private sector call to action” to unlock vaccines, point-of- care diagnostics, and new mosquito-control options; and 4) a coalition of governments and philanthropies, most notably the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, committed $18 million to widely implement a new form of vector control. Following such efforts, the crisis was declared over in November.

10. Number of food-insecure households in the U.S. is decreasing – The USDA’s Economic Research Service issued its most recent “Household Food Security in the United States” report in September. The report found that as of 2015 there were 15.8 million food-insecure households in the U.S.—12.7% of all households. While an improvement from the 14% of food-insecure families in 2014, there are still many households that are unable to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children. Meanwhile, the number of people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as spending on the program, has been significantly reduced because of the reintroduction of certain restrictions for childless adults, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

Dennys, 16, became a tailor for his community in El Salvador

Dennys is 16 and lives in a poor village in El Salvador. For years he was a beneficiary of our school meals programs in his community where he received a daily, nutritious meal. This food helped Dennys not only to overcome malnutrition, but also to stay in school. When he got a little older, Feed the Children, through support from our child sponsorship program, started a livelihood-development project in his community in the field of tailoring. Despite his dream of one day being a journalist, Dennys knew his family was too poor to ever send him to college. But when he saw the opportunity to learn a trade that could earn him some money to apply toward college—Dennys jumped at the chance!

 dennys-tailor

He enrolled in our tailoring project and quickly became one of the best and most talented students—finishing his certificate of completion with flying colors. Now Dennys makes suits, shirts, pants, uniforms, dresses—all kinds of clothing and sells them to the community. With the income he earns, he is able to help with the necessities of his family, as well as set aside some money for college. Dennys enjoys tailoring, and his excellent work is becoming sought-after in the village. The best part is that he is excited and hopeful for his future. Without this program, Dennys probably would have had to drop out of school and go to work in the fields, earning just a couple of dollars a day and being stuck in a life of abject poverty.

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Hunger in America: Brittany’s Story

“I think people don’t realize that a lot of middle-class people can be struggling.”

It’s the shameful truth—too many families in the United States work hard but are falling behind. They’re technically above the poverty line, but still living paycheck to paycheck. An unexpected health emergency or major car repair pushes them from barely making it into true crisis.

Nobody should live this way, least of all children.

Take Tanya*, a mother of two who works hard and wants the best for her kids. She wants them to have the chance to have a happy childhood and grow up and follow their dreams.

But sometimes the difficulty of everyday life gets in the way — even for families where both parents have jobs and are working hard to provide for their children. Tanya’s husband is a truck driver, and his job takes him away for days at a time. He’ll often come home from work in the middle of the night, take a shower, and be gone the next day. Sometimes it’s easier just to sleep in the truck than disturb the family in the middle of the night.

11-year-old Brittany
11-year-old Brittany

Tanya’s daughter Brittany is a creative 11 year old with lots of potential. She loves to sing and composes her own songs. When she’s not making music, she’s probably practicing her gymnastics moves. Brittany’s brother Christopher is six years old but seems much older than his years.

Despite having two incomes, the family struggles. Tanya’s husband’s job isn’t consistent. Sometimes they have to decide which bills to pay and which ones to let slide until the next paycheck, or which expenses to put on the credit card. Some months, simple grocery items like chicken or ground beef are simply out of reach.

Each summer, the kids receive a list of school supplies for the upcoming year. Those times are especially hard for the family. In addition to the standard crayons and glue, school supply lists these days include large boxes of disinfectant wipes and jumbo bottles of hand sanitizer. And the kids are supposed to bring three packs of crayons, not one, because the class pools their supplies. These supplies can be a hardship for families struggling to meet even basic needs. But Tanya wants her kids and their classmates to have what they need to get a good education.

“I think people don’t realize that a lot of middle-class people can be struggling,” Tanya says. “And maybe they are too embarrassed to go even seek help, and they’ll just struggle . . . and just suffer.”

Tanya knows what it’s like to struggle and suffer. Thankfully, she also knows that her local food pantry, one of Feed the Children’s partner agencies, can help in her family’s time of need.

“A little bit of extra help from the pantry makes a big difference,” she explains.

6-year-old Christopher
6-year-old Christopher

The support Brittany’s family receives from the food pantry has a ripple effect. Getting a little help with food frees up some of the family income to buy other necessities, such as school supplies and clothes. Tanya always wants her kids to have what they need to succeed in school.

Your support changes the lives of children like Brittany and Christopher. Thank you for giving to provide food, essentials and hope to struggling families here at home.

*Names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.