News / USA

Hunger-Fighting Charities Win World Food Prize

First time award goes to non-governmental organizations

Multimedia

Audio

The heads of two U.S.-based charity organizations are this year's winners of the World Food Prize, the prestigious $250,000 award honoring accomplishments that have improved the global food supply.

This year's World Food Prize went to David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Jo Luck, CEO of Heifer International. It's the first time the award has gone to leaders of non-governmental organizations.

The award citation lauds Luck for her leadership of Heifer International, which it describes as, "one of the premier hunger-fighting non-profit organizations anywhere in the world."

Jo Luck leads Heifer International, which helps people out of poverty and hunger with gifts of livestock.
Jo Luck leads Heifer International, which helps people out of poverty and hunger with gifts of livestock.

'Passing on the gift'

Heifer International begins helping people out of poverty and hunger with gifts of livestock. Along with the gift comes extensive training in how to raise the animals and lead the community. The animals provide food as well as income. And recipients then pass on the animals' offspring to other members of the community.

Jo Luck says "passing on the gift" is the most important part of Heifer's work.

"People pass on their gifts of not just animals," she says. "They pass on those gifts of training and leadership. We've seen cases where we've been gone five and 10 years and we go back and they've developed roads and built schools and they have other communities receiving the animals and the training. You just give them those resources, that training and opportunity and you can't hold them back."

Goat power

She tells the story of a Chinese man who received a set of rabbits from Heifer. He went on to become a millionaire raising rabbits and helped bring water and schools to his village.

In another example, a woman born in a poor village in Zimbabwe went on to earn a doctorate degree in the United States. Luck says her success was funded in part from income her aunt earned from a milk goat she received from Heifer.

"That's what a goat did," she says. "That's one example. The animal's only the catalyst. That's the beginning of many other things that follow."

Respecting culture and economics

While Heifer works to bring opportunities to women, Luck says it's important to respect the local culture.

She describes working with the Masai in east Africa. The women tended the livestock, but the men managed the income. When she suggested the women should receive training in animal husbandry from Heifer, Luck says the chief initially said no.

"And I said I would never disrespect your culture. I'm a guest in your home. But I do think you could triple the liters of milk. I do think you could double the offspring. We were beginning to talk economics. In about a month or so, he decided to try it. And the women were so successful, so that the men have been empowering them and joining them in partnership."

David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, leads a grassroots effort to lobby the US Congress to help the poor.
David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, leads a grassroots effort to lobby the US Congress to help the poor.

Grassroots advocacy

Sharing this year's World Food Prize with Heifer's Luck is David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. The prize committee cited the impact Beckmann's leadership of the non-profit group has had on U.S. policies fighting global hunger and poverty.

Bread for the World's highly successful grassroots lobbying campaigns recruit hundreds of thousands of people from churches across the United States. They call, write and visit their members of Congress to support policies that help the poor.

The World Food Prize citation credits these efforts over the past decade for quadrupling U.S. aid to Africa and more than doubling aid to needy families in the United States. Beckmann points to the tripling of US global development assistance, to $22 billion this year, as one of the organization's biggest successes.

"I think that wouldn't have happened without the advocacy of hundreds of thousands of people and churches that are part of Bread for the World and that keep the pressure on their members of Congress."

Pastor works with many faiths

Beckmann, a Lutheran pastor, is an economist who spent 15 years with the World Bank before joining Bread for the World.

He also has worked with groups of many other faiths, and non-denominational organizations, to support policies that end poverty and hunger.

"People have different ideas about God," he says, "but if a mother can't feed her children, and five or 10 years later she can feed those kids and they're in school, then clearly, by anyone's religion, that is something sacred and wonderful."

The World Food Prize Committee said that, in choosing Bread for the World's David Beckmann and Heifer International's Jo Luck to receive the $250,000 prize, it was recognizing the critical work that non-governmental organizations do to fight hunger worldwide.

The World Food Prize was established 25 years ago by the late Norman Borlaug. The American plant scientist won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work breeding new varieties of crops that dramatically increased wheat and rice production. Borlaug's work is credited with ushering in the so-called Green Revolution in agriculture and averting famine in Asia in the 1960s.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs