Today, 925 million people across the globe suffer from hunger, which robs them of healthy, productive lives. In response, nations have joined together in a coordinated, global strategy to cut hunger and improve food security. By committing $3.5 billion over 3 years and establishing a results-oriented plan of action called “Feed the Future”, the U. S. government is boldly leading the way to increase agricultural productivity and incomes and decrease childhood malnutrition in developing countries. Overcoming the root causes of hunger will take time. Therefore, it is also critical for the U.S. to continue its innovative and live-saving food assistance programs. U.S. food aid programs are more than a hand out, they are a hand up, improving living conditions, incomes, nutrition and agriculture.
Southeast Haiti has widespread food insecurity and high child stunting rates, and was hit particularly hard by the January 12, 2010 earthquake.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, ACDI/VOCA worked with Haiti’s Bureau de Développement et Nutrition to distribute food to people in Port-au-Prince and the Southeast Department with funding from USAID. The program provided food aid to orphanages in Jacmel and Port-au-Prince, among other activities.
The distributed food was selected to nourish bodies, not just fill stomachs. “The food rations provide a balanced group of foods—yellow peas, grains, vitamin- and mineral-fortified foods and fats—to the orphanage to help meet the nutritional needs of the children during an important time of physical and cognitive development,” says KD Ladd, technical director of nutrition at ACDI/VOCA.
The program’s food distribution activities included providing food aid relief in Jacmel; Port-au-Prince and Tabarre as well as supplementary food to moderately malnourished children; and organizing food-for-work activities in the Southeast Department.
At the end of the short-term emergency program in December 2010, recipients transitioned to a Multi-Year Assistance Program (MYAP), which is funded by the USAID Office of Food for Peace. The MYAP promotes livelihoods, especially in agriculture; improves the health and nutrition of women and children; and supports an early warning system to reduce the impact of disasters on Haiti’s farmers. ACDI-VOCA: Haiti
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