Rebuilding for Resilience

September 5, 2017
Asma Lateef talks with Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE USA, about how to end hunger among those left behind after a conflict or natural disaster. Photo by Josh Estey / CARE

By Michele Learner

Every so often, people are happy to learn they’ve been mistaken about something. One of these is the widespread perception in the United States that global hunger and poverty are getting worse. In fact, both hunger and poverty have been declining for decades.

The trouble with this perception is that “nobody wants to invest in something that's not working," explains Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of the humanitarian organization CARE USA. "I think people need to be reminded that we've cut poverty in half over the last 25 years .... People are willing to invest in things that they believe will actually change lives.”

Americans generously support emergency food and supplies for survivors of natural disaster or families forced to flee fighting. It’s no small thing to save a person’s life or keep a child from sustaining life-long damage to her health and growth. But how can our tax dollars and charitable contributions actually change lives once the worst of the crisis has passed?

CARE USA, along with other humanitarian organizations, provides food, clean water, essential medicines, and shelter in humanitarian crises. But as Nunn explains in the latest video in The Hunger Reports series, “Rebuilding for Resilience," this is not enough to end hunger. “We will have to operate in fragile states and we'll have to ensure that we can deliver food,” she says. But to end hunger “we will also have to develop resilient systems that enable people to support themselves with a diversity of livelihood options.” 

Nearly all of CARE USA’s staff come from the communities they serve. This means villages and towns are better equipped to continue making progress after CARE’s support ends. Nunn says CARE’s goal is to enable people “to engage and support themselves from economic..., political..., and community-based perspectives.” Ultimately, not only will people be able to earn a living, but they will also have the skills and knowledge needed to press their government to provide basic services in a transparent manner.

Michele Learner is an associate editor with Bread for the World Institute.

"We have to deliver food during emergencies ... but we also have to develop resilient systems that enable people to support themselves."

– Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Feed the Future

    Feed the Future, launched in 2010, grew out of the U.S. response, led by President George W. Bush, to the 2007-2008 global food price crisis. Prices of basic foods doubled or tripled in some countries and pushed an additional 150 million people into hunger and malnutrition.

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Hunger and Poverty in the African-American Community

    While hunger declined from 2017 for the general U.S. population, African Americans experienced a one percent increase, an increase of 153,000 African American households.

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017

Insight

The Jobs Challenge

April 10, 2018

From the Blog