Joint Aid Management (JAM USA) Announces Letter Writing Campaign to Keep Funding for School Feeding Programs in Africa

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Joint Aid Management, (JAM), a South African non-profit, humanitarian relief and development organization has asked supporters to participate in a letter writing campaign directed to the White House expressing their opposition to the elimination of the Public Law (PL) 480 Title II and Food for Progress (FFP) programs in the current draft of the Obama Administration’s FY 2014 budget.

These programs have been critical in helping Africa move towards greater self-sufficiency. They remain a critical component of our own U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Joint Aid Management, (JAM) recently announced their opposition to the elimination of the Public Law (PL) 480 Title II and Food for Progress (FFP) programs in the current draft of the Obama Administration’s FY 2014 budget and have asked their supporters to write letters to their senators, congressmen and the president to express their opposition.

PL 480 programs, also known as the Food for Peace Act (FPA) have three titles, each with a specific objective that focus of providing assistance to countries at a particular level of economic development. USDA administers Title 1, and Titles II and III are administered by USAID.

The programs include the Multi Year Assistance Programs (known as MYAPs) and FFP programs which support the monetization of US commodities to provide significant funding for nutritional assistance around the world, primarily in Africa. Through targeted technical assistance, Food for Progress developed successful models for cocoa, dairy, coffee and other value-added food systems in developing countries - improving food quality and supplies, increasing incomes and stimulating broader economic growth.

Says Rebecca Bratter, Vice-President (VP) of Grants in JAM’s U.S. Office, “… these programs have been critical in helping Africa move towards greater self-sufficiency. They remain a critical component of our own U.S. foreign policy objectives. The potential elimination of funding strips us of one of our most important contributions towards global food security at a very critical time in the global economy.”

JAM currently feeds 750,000 children in four of the five African countries in which it operates, including South Sudan, Mozambique, Angola and South Africa. ( The cuts will significantly affect the ability of JAM to continue their relief efforts. (JAM’s work in Rwanda revolves among others the care and education of orphans who were left homeless as a result of the war, and the reintegration of these orphans into society once they’ve reach adulthood.)

JAM USA encourages its supporters to help advocate its cause, and raise their voices in a united front against the White House’s proposal to terminate FFP and PL 480. With the help of ordinary people with a heart for development in Africa, JAM USA’s voice against the substitution of a smaller overseas food aid procurement program will be strengthened. “One can assume that many in Congress would probably be receptive towards accepting the proposed cuts. Yet, as a consequence, the ability of the U.S. to meet the dire needs of the hungry will be impeded,” says Bratter. “It will destroy the U.S. food aid pipeline, which is a reliable source of wholesome foods and commodities. It may also eliminate an important component of the United States’ diplomacy, development and security toolbox.”

PL 480 is approximately $1.5 billion/fiscal year, including both appropriations and transportation reimbursement, and Food for Progress is approximately $170 million, from CCC (Commodity Credit Corporation) funds.  Together they provide about 1.6 million metric tons (MMT) of commodities, combined with activities to help people escape the devastating cycle of hunger and poverty. 
Donated commodities provide multiple benefits to developing countries such as Angola, South Sudan, Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa (in which JAM operates) where adequate amounts of food are not produced to meet their needs of those people. Furthermore, due to credit, hard currency and other constraints these countries are unable to commercially import sufficient amounts of food. Thus, both the commodities and the targeted assistance to poor communities have immense value.  
”This proposal by the Obama Administration sends out the message that something is wrong with current food aid programs; but this is not true,” says Bratter.  “Both Food for Progress and PL 480 Title II programs have built the capacity within poor communities to meet their own needs.  In addition, PL 480 provides a reliable pipeline of food, assuring it is available through pre-positioning and early warning to meet emergencies.” 
USAID has over $300 million for a local-regional program, thus there is flexibility in how food aid can be provided.Recent reviews of Title II development programs (evaluations by the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III Project [FANTA] under USAID contract) show their impacts on reducing childhood malnutrition and improving livelihoods in poor communities.  Non-profit and faith-based organizations and cooperatives that conduct these programs are constantly reviewing and improving methodologies based on lessons learnt.

“We truly believe that there is enough food in the world; that no one should ever go hungry; but to get there we need all the tools in the toolbox of development programs,” says Bratter. “Africa will feed itself one day, but until we reach that point we need all the options available to teach agricultural techniques, ways of food production and reaching all members of the community, especially women and vulnerable children. We are making progress, now is not the time for a setback.”

JAM USA has a history of involvement with both Food for Progress and Food for Peace Programs. Current FFP programs support projects in Bangladesh, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, and Tanzania. In Mozambique, Land O’Lakes has helped rebuild Mozambique’s dairy industry to meet market demand while addressing the unique needs of women farmers.

JAM USA’s view on implementing programs under PL 480 and Food for Progress is that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. The United States needs a variety of tools to promote food security in developing nations.
Donated commodities provide multiple benefits to developing countries that do not produce adequate amounts of food to meet their needs and are unable to commercially import sufficient amounts of food. Both the commodities and the targeted assistance to poor communities have value.  Title II and Food for Progress boost the U.S. economy and supports U.S. jobs by sourcing commodities from American farmers and processors and making use of US transportation systems and industries to deliver food abroad.

About JAM
JAM's programs focus on nutritional feeding within schools, assistance to orphans and vulnerable children, the provision of water and sanitation, as well as skills development, community training on agricultural development, income generation projects and HIV/AIDS programming.

JAM strongly believes that without education, there can be no development. Effective education is only attained through the quality of schooling and most importantly, adequate nutrition, which allows a child to effectively focus, retain, and apply what is being learned. JAM currently assists 750,000 children through nutritional feeding
programs, health and social welfare programs.

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Nancy Thompson
Uptown PR
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