Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Global Food Security Act is More Important than Ever

Remember that vote by Congress last summer to approve the Global Food Security Act? The measure was passed with strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The result of that vote takes on even greater significance with the results of the recent election. The new administration's stance on foreign aid and global poverty are uncertain. There could well be a scaling back in our international commitments. However, the GFSA is the now the law of the land, supported by huge majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress.

Photo: Joe Molieri, Bread for the World
Let me emphasize this again. The GFSA is a very important initiative. The act establishes a comprehensive strategy for the federal government to follow in all its international food-security programs. Special emphasis is placed on development efforts targeted to smallholder farmers, particularly women. It also promotes nutrition among pregnant women and newborns.

Making a Difference
Another important aspect of the GFSA is that the campaign was a collective effort led by Bread for the World. "Bread helped to build a coalition of organizations that supported GFSA, including international development and other faith-based groups. Bread and coalition partners helped educate congressional offices about the importance of GFSA and shore up support for the bill’s passage. Bread for the World and 29 other faith organizations joined InterAction, the alliance of 180 organizations working in developing countries, to present a statement of support for GFSA," Bread said in a brochure outlining the history of the advocacy efforts to approve this important act.

Here are other ways in which Bread for the World made a difference over a couple of years, ahead of the actual votes. (There were three separate votes).

• Bread for the World Institute emerged as a leading voice in the global nutrition movement.
• The Institute’s research made the case for Feed the Future— and for GFSA.
• Bread sent more than 1,000,000 emails urging its activists to contact Congress about GFSA.
• Bread educated its activists on the importance of GFSA and equipped them to advocate.
• Bread staff and activists communicated with key aides in over 100 Congressional offices to get an answer to the question, “Will you co-sponsor the Global Food Security Act?”
• Bread for the World moved 55 House members to co-sponsor the bill (out of 127 co-sponsors) and 7 Senators (out of 15 co-sponsors).
• Bread had significant contact with another 50 eventual co-sponsors.
• On their own and with coalition partners, Bread staff met directly with members of Congress to urge their support.
• As part of a final push, Bread activists called 70 members of Congress who were thought to be inclined to vote against GFSA urging them to vote “yes.”

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