2015: A year of heightened expectations
By Charles Kwuelum
The need for food assistance has been exacerbated by violent conflict in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The violence has led to farmers being evicted from farmlands.
The end of the year often brings with it some combination of euphoria and anxiety, as we look back at disheartening moments and look ahead to new opportunities. As we transition to 2015, significant questions remain regarding the role and dignity of “developing” and “under-developed” countries in world politics.
In the U.S., there is a new Congress on Capitol Hill, with new policies and dynamics. Many countries who benefit from U.S. foreign assistance, including some African countries, look forward with heightened hope for increased food assistance.
The need for food assistance has been exacerbated by violent conflict in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The violence has led to farmers being evicted from farmlands vital to their sustenance and to the broader national economy. This leads to a direct lack of food and also drives up the price of food. Nations striving to bounce back from regional crises, including the “blow” of Ebola, need more than ever to overcome such food challenges.
The new Congress provides an opportunity for new bills on food security and foreign assistance. Some of these may be based on bills that did not pass into law during the 113th Congress:
- The Food for Peace Reform Act. The bill would have modernized the Food for Peace program and reformed U.S. food aid by allowing more of it to be purchased locally.
- The Global Food Security Act. The bill firmly establishes the Feed the Future program, which focuses on addressing hunger in key regions. A number of concerns have been raised about the accountability and effectiveness of the Feed the Future program, which will need to be addressed as the program is fully implemented.
- The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. The bill directs the president to create guidelines for the establishment of measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for U.S. foreign assistance programs.
In 2013, more than 36 million people experiencing deep, acute and chronic poverty were impacted by U.S. food assistance, a fact that should reinvigorate our commitment to advocate for these programs in what is certain to be a tough budget environment.
In our commitment to the Lord’s admonition to feed the hungry (Mark 6:34-44), we must pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) that our communications with representatives and senators will bear fruit, in order to enhance sustainable development and dignity, healthy communities and the attainment of wellbeing with justice for all (Deuteronomy 24:17-22).
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