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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid