As a diverse coalition from the nonprofit sector, we are strongly in favor of U.S. food assistance that delivers results faster, more effectively, and more efficiently. We applaud the leadership of the Chair and Ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senators Bob Corker and Ben Cardin, for elevating the importance of the life-saving Food for Peace program and the need to maximize its reach and efficiencies.
For more than five decades, U.S. food aid programs have been assisting the poorest, most vulnerable people in the wake of disasters and other crises. We urge Congress to pursue common-sense reforms that increase the ability to reach more vulnerable people with both emergency and non-emergency assistance.
These common-sense reforms would come at no additional cost: In fact, increasing the flexibility of existing funding and delivery mechanisms can significantly increase the reach of our current programs to millions more people at no additional cost. The United States should be empowered to better utilize the tools necessary to respond to hunger and to match the type of assistance with the reality of any situation – including utilizing cash transfers, local and regional procurement, vouchers, and the delivery of U.S. commodities.
Small increases in flexibility in the 2014 Farm Bill and the FY2014 appropriations bills have already benefitted vulnerable people around the world. In the past year alone, these reforms have reduced costs, allowed a wider range of programming options to improve program outcomes, helped achieve more sustainable results, and reached 800,000 additional people, more quickly.
Flexibility in food aid has helped feed millions of refugees and internally displaced persons affected by the crisis in and around Syria. This includes a wide range of programs such as a U.S.-funded food voucher program for Syrian refugees in Turkey as well as distributing life-sustaining food bars purchased in the U.S. to Syrian refugees in Erbil, Iraq.
This is an important opportunity to expand the impact of one of our most vital international programs. We stand ready to work with Congress to ensure these gains can be realized.
Action Against Hunger
Alliance to End Hunger
American Jewish World Service
Bread for the World
Church World Service
Convoy of Hope
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Feed the Children
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Poverty Project
Helen Keller International
Maryknoll Office For Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network
Save the Children
The Borgen Project
The Hunger Project
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
USAID Alumni Association (UAA)