Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘food’

Working Hand-In-Hand

Dear Gabriel,

What would you do if your income was suddenly gone – and at the same time every single store raised its prices?

In Mauritania, many families’ crops died in the fields; then, because food was scarce, food prices skyrocketed. In Senegal, a poor harvest forced some farmers to eat their seeds simply to survive – leaving them with little left to plant.

It’s a story that repeats across the Sahel region of West Africa and around the world: when crops die, food prices go up. Families are faced with the terrible decision to sell or eat whatever they have simply to survive – even though selling their goats, plows and other resources will make rebuilding or weathering the next crisis even harder.

To make a difference in a disaster like this, we need to be there before it strikes and stay long after other groups leave. That’s what Oxfam supporters make possible – not only helping families access emergency food and water, but also restoring wells, providing veterinary support for livestock, supporting women-run small businesses and more – all to create lasting change.

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Before the year ends, we need compassionate people like you to stand with us and be counted – without you, none of this happens. Can you help now?

Your gift of $50 today will help families build a life free of poverty, hunger and injustice from the Sahel to Haiti and beyond. Please donate now.

As an Oxfam supporter, you understand that a long-term commitment is key to saving lives when the toughest times hit and righting the wrong of hunger and poverty in the first place. You get why we have to be in this fight for the long haul.

You want to fight root causes – not just symptoms. When emergency aid is what’s needed, you’re there to help. But you know that the root causes of hunger are poverty and injustice. Together, we work to empower communities, giving people the information, tools, training and help they need to change their situation – for the next harvest and the next generation.

You know the power of working with local communities. Instead of telling people what to do, we listen to their ideas. Then, together, we provide the resources and work hand-in-hand with local partners to improve their communities together.

You want charities to be careful with your money. We design all our programs to be efficient and effective, and we constantly measure results. In the years since Haiti’s devastating earthquake, as international aid slowed, Oxfam has carefully identified where we can do the most good – and focused on the critical need to boost rice agriculture so farmers can make a living and help the country better feed itself.

img_savinglivesAnd finally, when you know you can make a big difference, you don’t stand on the sidelines. There are families going hungry, mothers struggling to serve their children even flour and water. In a world as rich as ours, we all know this is wrong. And we know that together, we can do what’s right.

We need to raise $2.6 million by midnight on December 31. Can you help?

Your gift will help fight poverty, end hunger, stop injustice and change lives. I hope you’ll make a generous commitment to Oxfam before the end of the year.

Sincerely,

Raymond C. Offenheiser
President
Oxfam America

Whatever It Takes

Dear Gabriel,

EOY-2012-COBIn the midst of violent conflict in Syria, food shortages in West Africa and terrible floods in Pakistan… there are children.

Thousands of innocent, helpless children who are in very real danger.

UNICEF is determined to save these children, so we’re announcing an ambitious goal of raising $1 million by December 31. Because without an immediate influx of additional relief, many of these children will not make it.

Please donate now – and help rush critical treatments, clean water and vaccinations to the world’s most vulnerable children. 100% of your gift is tax-deductible.

I believe every one of these children is a reason to support UNICEF’s far-reaching, lifesaving work – and I know you do, too. But in case you need a few more, here are my top six:

1. You can trust UNICEF. Founded in 1946, UNICEF has helped save more children than any other organization. UNICEF takes the best ideas from around the world and puts them to work for the world’s most vulnerable children.

2. Your money will be used wisely. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF spends 90.5 cents of every dollar we receive on programs for children. Only 6.6 cents goes to fundraising, and 2.9 cents to administration.

3. Your money will make a difference. Since 1990, UNICEF’s work has helped cut the number of preventable child deaths by one-third. How?

Immunizations – When you support UNICEF, you help provide immunizations for more than half of the world’s children. In 2011 alone, UNICEF procured 2.5 billion doses of vaccine for children in 103 countries.

Clean water – Since 1990, 1.8 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water thanks to UNICEF and its deliveries of water purification supplies.

Nutrition – When famine strikes, UNICEF is the No. 1 provider of ready-to-eat therapeutic food for children.

4. UNICEF goes to the ends of the earth to help children – literally. On the ground in 190 countries and territories, in the world’s most challenging situations, UNICEF is there helping children. Over the past 30 years, UNICEF has helped create the world’s farthest-reaching supply network, capable of delivering even temperature-sensitive vaccines to the most remote locations. UNICEF goes places that no other relief organization can reach.

5. UNICEF will do whatever it takes to save a child. The organization’s unparalleled access and expertise mean that THIS is the group that can get things done where no one else can. UNICEF has actually stopped wars so children could be vaccinated. UNICEF works with government leaders, civic figures, celebrities, corporations, campus groups, churches, teachers and people just like you – anyone willing to help advocate for the survival and well-being of every child.

6. It doesn’t take much to save a child. Some of the most important treatments for curing children of disease, suffering and death cost pennies. Millions of children die of diarrhea every year, and the oral rehydration salts that can save them cost just 8 cents a packet. Malnutrition contributes to half of ALL child deaths, and the fortified nut paste and micronutrients needed to save them cost less than a dollar a day.

Please don’t wait; the clock is ticking for the world’s most vulnerable children. Donate today to rush real, lifesaving relief. Your gift is 100% tax-deductible.

On behalf of the world’s children, thank you.

Caryl M. Stern
President & CEO
U.S. Fund for UNICEF

CARE CEO Gives Thanks

Dear Gabriel,

If your family is anything like mine, I’m sure you are busy preparing for the holiday this week. I hope you will take a moment to take a step back from the preparations and think about what is really important this Thanksgiving.

I wanted to wish you a joyful holiday full of good company, good food, and lots of love.

Here is a shortlist of things I am truly grateful for this holiday:

My family.

My dear friends.

My colleagues at CARE.

Getting to spend my days making the world a better place, and being able to see how much our work really does matter. You’ll never forget the look on a mother’s face when you’ve helped to save her child’s life – or given her child a chance to have a better life. I can never really express what it’s like in words, so maybe this picture will help:

The support of people like you. Your dedication to fighting global poverty by empowering poor families and communities is inspiring to me. I will never stop being grateful for these things.
From the CARE family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

1.1 Million Suffering

From CARE.org

UPDATE:

Today, 18.7 million people are affected by the crisis, more than 1.1 million people are suffering from severe malnutrition and an additional 3 million have moderate malnutrition.

CARE is on the ground in Chad, Mali and Niger, where millions of people are and in dire need of assistance, relief and long-term planning. Women and children are particularly vulnerable, especially those under the age of 2. CARE’s emergency response and recovery program has reached more than 750,000 people with emergency assistance by providing access to food via cash transfer and direct distribution, and improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene. At the same time CARE’s long-term development programs such as women-led savings groups and cereal banks help people build and protect assets. In CARE’s experience, empowering women strengthens community resilience during crises.

However the humanitarian situation is dire:

Floods in Niger: The monsoon season and above-normal temperatires triggered heavy downpours and flash floods during this year’s rainy season, displacing hundreds of thousands families more and devastating some farms already hit by a severe drought and acute food shortages. Rainfall was more than 150 percent above normal from late July to late August. As of September 12, 2012, the flood had displaced 527,471 people and killed 81 others. Most of homeless families ware located into school classrooms while some were leaving with their relatives. These conditions are still precarious as class will reopen early in October and at the same time rain continues in some of the affected areas.

Conflict in Mali: Exacerbating the situation is fighting in northern Mali which has prompted massive population movements within Mali and from Mali to Niger. Right now, more than 440,000 people are displaced. Some have stayed within the country borders, while many have fled to neighboring countries seeking refuge. Almost 70,000 Malians fled to neighboring Niger, putting more stress on the already vulnerable population. Out of the 4.6 million people affected by the food security and nutrition crisis in Mali, approximately 1.6 million live in northern Mali, where access is limited.

Locusts infestation threatens 50 million people; breeding under way: Desert locust infestation remains dangerous as more egg-laying and hatching are expected in the coming weeks. Agricultural crop production, food and nutrition security, and the livelihood of some 50 million people in Chad, Mali and Niger are currently at risk, according to the FAO. This threat is the most serious since 2005.

National action plans for desert locust operations have been developed in Mali, Niger and Chad in accordance with national contingency plans but additional funding is required to carry out these programs before harvests are completely wiped out.

Cholera outbreak: The advent of the rainy reason has increased the risk of waterborne diseases, including cholera. The situation is particularly worrying in Niger, where an epidemic in four districts along the Niger River has caused 71 deaths out of 3,423 cases reported since the beginning of the year. The region of Tillabéri, the most affected, has so far recorded 3,403 cases of cholera and 66 deaths. As of early July, no cholera cases had been reported in the refugee camps and sites hosting refugees from Mali throughout the country. To contain the epidemic, available water points are being treated and awareness campaigns being carried out using community volunteers and local radio stations. In Mali, a cholera outbreak was declared on July 2 in Wabaria district located by the River Niger (in Gao). As of August 10, 140 cases of cholera, including 11 deaths, have been reported in the Gao and Ansongo districts of northern Mali. CARE will continue to monitor the situation and work with our partners to respond as needed.

Sahel’s lean season: The Sahel region is currently in its ‘lean’ season, which is the rainy period between planting and harvesting crops. And while it has rained in the past weeks, millions of families still need support until crops can be harvested. In fact, for many households humanitarian assistance will be the main means of survival, according to the United Nations. Throughout the region, prices of basic staples (maize, millet, sorghum) have increased significantly – even doubled in certain places. Generally speaking, food is available, but people cannot afford it.

Coping strategies affect women and girls negatively: Food crises have severe effects on families and for the most part it is women and girls who take the hit. In certain regions, food crises increase the rate of divorces (e.g. in Maradi region, Niger, half of women divorce because of food insecurity); the head of family sees it as a way of having fewer mouths to feed. In other cases, food insecurity might contribute to early marriages; families give away their daughters (earlier) so they don’t have to feed them. Husbands and young men leave to find work abroad, leaving mothers to lead the family on their own. In harvest time, some husbands lock up the grain storage and ask their wives to make do for several months. Food insecurity forces many families to take their children out of school and help at home or find work; they soon become parents; they have children who don’t attend school either, and the cycle perpetuates.

CARE is responding in Chad, Mali and Niger with immediate and long-term programs:

Providing cash-for-work to help families buy food and protect their assets

Training nurses on prevention and management of malnutrition

Improving water and sanitation and promoting hygiene

Strengthening community cereal banks so families can buy food at reasonable prices, stocking animal feed banks and reinforcing community-based early warning systems

Working with women’s savings and loans groups to develop alternative sources of food such as community vegetable gardens and to increase community resilience

Helping people from Mali who have fled across the border into Niger with essential household items and hygiene supplies

“CARE is also putting in place long-term solutions so people in the Sahel region are less vulnerable to recurring crises,” explains Barbara Jackson.

CARE has worked in Chad, Mali, and Niger for almost 40 years, where we have successfully created and promoted women-led saving groups and cereal banks. In parallel to the emergency response, CARE is continuing our long-term development projects, which make people better equipped to handle future crises on their own.

Roadmap to End Global Hunger – Helene Gayle joined members of Congress – including Learning Tours alum Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) – and leaders of the NGO community on Capitol Hill on July 24 to launch the Roadmap for Continued Leadership to End Global Hunger. CARE is playing a leading role in ensuring that the Roadmap, supported by an unprecedented coalition of 50 organizations, outlines a comprehensive strategy to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. global food security programs. For more information, click this link to a World Food Program USA story containing a quote from Helene.

Read more at CARE.org.

Syrian Children

Dear Gabriel,

By the time Syrian children have reached Jordan, they’ve seen more than any child should ever have to.

Their country has been swallowed by brutal, unspeakable violence. They arrive in the camps with fear in their hearts. Their lives have been upended and their family members killed by a violent war they can barely understand.

These children – and children just like them around the world – need our help during this time of crisis, and Gabriel, we’re depending on you and other CARE supporters to make it possible for all of these children to know comfort, safety, and hope.

We’re raising $100,000 by Friday to help children and families in Jordan and those suffering around the world. Please make your gift today.

“People are dying like flies.” Ahmad loves his beautiful homeland, but he knew he had no choice but to leave it to keep his family safe.

In the Za’atari camp, Ahmad’s family is packed in with many thousands of others, growing poorer and poorer as the refugee crisis drags on. “I have nine children and my wife. One of the children is only three months old.” It is difficult for him to continue telling us his story. “At home I could take responsibility for all of them. I was working, I earned money to support my family. Now I cannot do anything.”

If only Ahmad’s story was unusual – but it’s not. Tens of thousands of refugees have ones just like it.

Heartbreakingly, the majority of the people living in the camp in Jordan today are innocent children like Ahmad’s – children who have lived through extreme heartbreak, violence, and terror. Their families need emergency assistance just so they’ll have enough food to eat and clothes to keep them warm as winter approaches.

Once their basic needs are taken care of, these Syrian children need psychosocial support. The longer you leave kids alone with their trauma, the more it gets inside of them. CARE is ramping up our support of not only emergency financial assistance, but aid and comfort for children and other vulnerable groups who have already endured too much.

None of the work we do for families living in crisis or squalid poverty is possible without the support of people like you. We desperately need your help today.

We’re raising $100,000 for families living with hunger and poverty in Jordan and around the world by Friday. Please, will you help us meet our goal?

Families are depending on us, and I know we won’t let them down. Thank you so much for everything you do.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

Honey Bee Crisis

Gabriel,

Since 2006, our honey bees have been dying off in droves. Billions of bees have disappeared in the U.S. with losses estimated at 30% per year.

And if the destruction of a species is disturbing enough on its own, the collapse of honey bee populations also threatens the security of our food supply since honey bee pollination is crucial to the cultivation of a full 1/3 of our food here in the U.S.

Urge the EPA to stop dragging its feet and take steps NOW to stem the collapse of honey bee colonies across the country.

Scientists have been scrambling to figure out what is behind this crisis – termed Colony Collapse Disorder – and believe it is probably the result of many interacting factors, including one widely used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

One such chemical, called clothianidin, is produced by the German corporation Bayer CropScience. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola which happen to be among honey bees’ favorite foods.

Unfortunately, the EPA is refusing to make any changes until it completes its review of the safety of clothianidin in 2018 – but our honey bees (and bee keepers, rural communities and farmers) can’t wait that long.

Tell the EPA: Ban the use of this pesticide that may be wiping out our honey bees before it’s too late.

Shockingly, no major independent study has verified the safety of this pesticide. While clothianidin has been used on corn – the largest crop in the U.S. – since 2003, it was officially approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 on the basis of a single study, conducted by Bayer.

But leaked EPA documents2 expose a more sordid story. Agency scientists who reviewed Bayer’s study determined that the evidence was unsound and should not have been allowed as the basis for an unconditional approval of the pesticide.

Additional independent studies have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides like clothianidin are highly toxic to honey bees, providing compelling evidence that they should not continue to be approved by the EPA.

France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany have already banned clothianidin over concerns of its role in Colony Collapse Disorder.

The stakes are far too high to continue the use of this chemical without independent science verifying that it is safe to use.

Thanks for helping to protect our bees.

Mike Town
Director, SaveOurEnvironment.org

Little Fish Big Fish

Dear Gabriel,

Seabirds carry small fish from the oceans to their nests to feed their babies, but soon they may be finding less to eat. Humans are fishing more and more of these little fish to feed to larger fish in fish farms or to grind up as fertilizer, and the oceans are feeling the pressure.

These little fish provide food for everything from whales to seabirds to people, and science shows they are too important to the future health of the oceans and the earth to just be ground up into fishmeal or fertilizer.

Whales and birds need fish too. Tell the Pacific Fishery Management Council to protect sea creatures’ dinners»

A humpback whale may eat up to 2,000 pounds of little fish every day. If we overfish and cause a population collapse for the little fish, whales and other animals could have a hard time finding enough to eat.

But it’s not too late to take action. If we set up precautionary protections for small “forage” fish and let their populations grow, there will be more food to go around in the future—even for us humans.

Let’s save the little fish. Sign today to protect forage fish and keep the oceans fed»

Small fish swimming in schools are easy to catch. But it will become a lot harder if we catch them all, and animals like whales and baby birds will have to face the consequences of our actions.

For the oceans,
Emily Fisher
Oceana

Earth’s Human Welfare

From Nation Of Change
by Bjorn Lomborg – Op-Ed
16 May 2012

The Smartest Ways to Save the World

If you had $75 billion to spend over the next four years and your goal was to advance human welfare, especially in the developing world, how could you get the most value for your money?

That is the question that I posed to a panel of five top economists, including four Nobel laureates, in the Copenhagen Consensus 2012 project. The panel members were chosen for their expertise in prioritization and their ability to use economic principles to compare policy choices.

Over the past year, more than 50 economists prepared research on nearly 40 investment proposals in areas ranging from armed conflicts and natural disasters to hunger, education, and global warming. The teams that drafted each paper identified the costs and benefits of the smartest ways to spend money within their area. In early May, many of them traveled to Denmark to convince the expert panel of the power of their investment proposals.

The panel’s findings reveal that, if spent smartly, $75 billion – just a 15% increase in current aid spending – could go a long way to solving many of the world’s challenges.

The single most important investment, according to the panel, would step up the fight against malnutrition. New research for the project by John Hoddinott of the International Food Policy Research Institute and Peter Orazem of Iowa State University focuses on an investment of $3 billion annually. This would purchase a bundle of interventions, including micronutrient provision, complementary foods, treatment for worms and diarrheal diseases, and behavior-change programs, all of which could reduce chronic under-nutrition by 36% in developing countries.

In total, such an investment would help more than 100 million children to start their lives without stunted growth or malnourishment. And comprehensive research now shows that such interventions would stay with them for life: their bodies and muscles would grow faster, their cognitive abilities would improve, and they would pay more attention in school (and stay there longer). Studies show that, decades down the line, these children would be more productive, make more money, have fewer kids, and begin a virtuous circle of dramatic development.

Such opportunities come sharply into focus when you ask some of the world’s best minds to find the biggest bang for the buck. Micronutrient provision is rarely celebrated, but it makes a world of difference.

Likewise, just $300 million would prevent 300,000 child deaths if it were used to strengthen the Global Fund’s Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria financing mechanism, which makes combination therapies cheaper for poor countries. Put in economic terms, the benefits are 35 times higher than the costs – even without taking into account that it safeguards our most effective malaria drug from future drug resistance. Later this year, donors will decide whether to renew this facility. The panel’s findings should help to persuade them to do so.

For a similar amount, 300 million children could be dewormed in schools. By not sharing their food with intestinal parasites, they, too, would become more alert, stay longer in school, and grow up to be more productive adults – another cause that needs much more public attention.

Expanding tuberculosis treatment and childhood immunization coverage are two other health investments that the expert panel endorses. Likewise, a $100 million annual increase in spending to develop a vaccine against HIV/AIDS would generate substantial benefits in the future.

As people in the developing world live longer, they are increasingly experiencing chronic disease; indeed, half of all deaths this year will be from chronic diseases in Third World countries. Here, the panel finds that spending just $122 million could achieve complete Hepatitis B vaccine coverage and avert about 150,000 annual deaths from the disease. Getting low-cost drugs for acute heart attacks to developing countries would cost just $200 million, and prevent 300,000 deaths.

The expert panel’s findings point to a compelling need to invest roughly $2 billion annually in research and development to increase agricultural output. Not only would this reduce hunger by increasing food production and lowering food prices; it would also protect biodiversity, because higher crop productivity would mean less deforestation. That, in turn, would help in the fight against climate change, because forests store carbon.

Read entire article at Nation of Change.

More Tortillas Please

Dear Gabriel,

Alma Yanira Flores Hernandez was determined to feed her impoverished family through her own hard work. But to make and sell tortillas, she needed to buy more than a pound of corn at a time.

Let me tell you that making tortillas is a painstakingly slow process to begin with. But buying only one pound of corn at a time made things worse for Alma. She would buy one pound. Then another. Then another. The proceeds were tiny, the work backbreaking, the income pitiful.

And then something changed.

Alma became a FINCA client – and her family’s life changed forever.

With her first FINCA loan, Alma was able to buy a bushel of corn at a lower price – making more tortillas faster and at a greater profit. This was just the beginning of her turnaround:

Her growing income has meant healthier food for her daughters.

A stable business has produced money for her children’s education – for their future.

Alma recently started selling beans, eggs, rice, vegetables and fruit to her customers when they buy their tortillas.

Alma, and millions living in similarly impoverished circumstances, could work every waking hour, but miniscule profit margins make a sustainable, growing income near impossible. FINCA changed this for Alma – and almost one million other self-employed clients just like her.

You can break this poverty trap directly – today.

You can provide – through that first FINCA loan – another woman in Alma’s poverty trap with a hand up and into a new future.

Alma has a message for FINCA supporters like you: “I give thanks to FINCA because our lives have taken such an enormous turn for the better. With all the support you have given me I can create a brighter future for my daughters.”

Many more Almas have an equally powerful call-to-action for you: Help us access that first loan and our families will grab the chance to escape poverty with both hands.

Please, if you can, give the next Alma her first loan today.

And remember, the Feinstein Foundation will boost your donation today with matching funds that will make its impact go even further. Please don’t allow these funds to go unused.

Thank you for supporting women entrepreneurs,

Soledad Gompf
Vice President, New Business Development
FINCA

Faith’s Work Together

There are Muslim’s helping Christians and Jews and vice-a-versa all the time, all over the world, but people seldom hear about it in the news. Here’s one example. It’s a video from a news report about a philanthropist, who is Muslim, supporting a an organization that helps the poor, which is Christian.

Muslim Lakhani and The Salvation Army Grate Patrol featured on Beyond the Dream

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