Tag Archives: food security

heading home

All good things must come to an end. So it now is with our time in South Sudan. We must leave for the airstrip in about 2 hours.

That will be the start of almost 24 hours of travel. All of us are ready to get home, but there’s not a one of us on the team looking forward to the trip.

The time here in Yei and the surrounding region has been rich in opportunities for ministry, and the entire team feels good about all the work we have been able to accomplish.

This team is far more experienced than a lot I have been on. That has allowed us to split up and go in different directions and work on a number of different projects at the same time. That is unusual.

We have a retired police officer that spent the week training local Yei police in the rule of law and riot control. We have a hospital CEO from Georgia that spent the week working with the United Methodist medical missionaries. Several of our group spent the week installing libraries (including donating & cataloging over450 books) at two children’s homes. Another group worked to resolve long-standing issues with local churches. A couple of us worked tos discover how to increase local food security and find new microenterprise opportunities.

All of us have made new friends and relationships. And all of us already want to return even though we are ready to be home.

It’s been a full and blessed time, but now we have to say farewell for now as we begun the long journey back to the US.

microfinance = major impact

Joice Jana is the head of the microfinance project for the Yei District of the United Methodist Church in South Sudan. I had the opportunity to talk with her on Monday. She is passionate about her work and the success of the program and rightfully so.

She manages 10 separate microfinance groups in 7 different communities, each group comprised of 35 members. Three-fourths of the members are women. And although the program has not been existence for long the success stories are already beginning to pile up.

The microfinance program provides education to the groups and helps with record keeping. All the funds come from the individual members of each group. Once a member has been in the program for a full year they are allowed to apply for loans. When a member needs a loan they are allowed to borrow up to 3 times the amount they have already saved.

All loans are repaid with 10% interest. And the repayment rate is over 98%.

The maximum loan given to date is 1500 South Sudanese Pounds and the smallest has been 200 pounds. (The largest loan was about $100 and the smallest about $13).

These loans have helped pay school fees to keep children in school. They have helped begin small businesses that have increased food security. They have provided an important bridge to a better life. They have provided hope.

Helping support such programs is a powerful way to help transform the lives of those trying to have a better life. I am proud of the United Methodist Church’s leadership in making this happen in South Sudan.

 

a hungry man is not a free man

“The eradication of hunger is not just an end in itself: It is a first step toward sustainable development and progress in general, for a hungry man is not a free man. He cannot focus on anything else but securing his next meal.” — Kofi Annan

We need to understand that food security is a critical factor in global security. People who are hungry and living under the dark shadow of starvation are easily manipulated by those promising a better life. An empty stomach is never a good political advisor.

In 2001 the FAO defined food security like this: “Food security is a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

Food security means not having to fear for one’s next meal. It means being set free from the chains of hunger and, just as importantly, being set free from the fear that accompanies hunger. And as Kofi Annan so powerfully writes, food security and the eradication of hunger are the first steps toward creating a world of truly sustainable development.  Working together we can create that world.

questions

We are ending hunger. We are making progress toward a world without hunger. It needs to be faster, but we can claim progress.

Even though over a billion of our human family still live in extreme poverty, and almost 850 million of those go hungry every day. the number of hungry around the world has significantly dropped over the past twenty years. That’s progress.

But…it should be more. We should be much further along in erasing such needless suffering.

We know we have more than enough food to feed every person on the planet. We have all the resources and knowledge necessary to achieve food security for all. Why then hasn’t it happened? What needs to happen before we care enough to act?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime a goal for every member of the human family?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime the central tenet for global cooperation among governments?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime a issue raised by every political leader?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime at the top of every human rights agenda?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime understood as a spiritual issue?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime the focus of all of the world’s religions?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime taught in every school?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime worthy of headline news?

Why isn’t ending hunger in our lifetime important enough to act?