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

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • Mind the Gap: Nutrition to Bridge Humanitarian and Development Efforts

    By Jordan Teague

    Because the world has made so much progress against hunger in recent decades, those who face hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty are increasingly likely to live in areas currently experiencing or recovering from crises. They are the hardest to reach and the most...

  • International Development Association (IDA) and Nutrition

    Improving maternal and child nutrition is the most cost-effective investment in international human and economic development.

    Improving nutrition not only alleviates human suffering, but also improves the conditions that create poverty in the first place. For every $1 invested in...

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.

  • Interfaith Religious Leaders’ Pledge to End Hunger

    A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.

    We are deeply pleased...

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.


  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.

  • El Dream Act de 2017 (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440)

    Estados Unidos es una nación de inmigrantes. A través de su historia gente de todas partes del mundo se han trasladado aquí y han contribuido en sus comunidades y a nuestra vida nacional. Hoy, al igual que en el pasado, los inmigrantes continúan creando prosperidad y enriquecimiento para esta...


Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017


Running their own lives

September 15, 2017

From the Blog