CARE, a leading international aid organization fighting
poverty, praises the Obama Administration’s $20 billion food initiative for
targeting world hunger by recognizing the needs of women.
The plan, adopted by G8 leaders at their recent summit in
L’Aquila, Italy, aims to provide poor
farmers in developing countries with seeds, fertilizers, infrastructure and
other tools to help them boost local food production, a shift from previous
policy that emphasized sending food aid from abroad.
At a post-G8 press conference on 10 July, President Obama
said the summit leaders did not view the assistance as an end in itself. “We believe that the purpose of aid must be
to create the conditions where it’s no longer needed — to help people become
self-sufficient, provide for their families and lift their standards of
living,” the president said.
"I think the $20 billion investment is going to be a
wonderful start,” said Dan Mullins, a CARE spokesman based in Johannesburg,
South Africa. “We just need to make sure that the money is used in ways that
will ensure that the assistance reaches the poorest of the poor, who usually
are women and girls."
CARE says helping women is the key to helping Africa’s
poorest families. “Women do the bulk of the agricultural production in most of
Africa,” Mullins said.
“We need to make
sure that the investment is developed in ways that are appropriate to women's
needs and to their ability to make use of that investment."
Mullins called the G8’s focus on long-term investment in
sustainable agriculture in developing nations a “great beginning.” But he cautions
the initiative alone will not solve the problem of widespread hunger. “There
has been disinvestment in agriculture, globally, for the last 25 years or so.
It’s not something that is going to be turned around with a two-year package.”