Foreign assistance

Think of foreign assistance, and you might picture food relief or rebuilding towns following disasters. However, U.S. foreign assistance includes many long-term development programs to break the cycle of hunger and poverty.

Agricultural development programs, such as the Feed the Future initiative, help farmers grow more food with better resources. These programs help farmers earn more for their crops while providing more nutritious food for communities. Agriculture programs also connect farmers to markets where they can sell their crops and invest in efficient storage and transportation so the food doesn’t spoil before making it to the selling point.

Foreign-assistance programs also help communities invest in infrastructure and services, such as roads, education, health clinics, and financial services like loans and savings accounts. These building blocks strengthen people and communities, making them less likely to struggle with poverty and hunger. For example, when the Ebola crisis struck West Africa in 2014, many of the countries hit hardest had weak health systems that could not respond quickly and adequately to get the virus under control. Long-term investments in these building blocks will lessen the effects and make communities more able to bounce back from humanitarian emergencies .

Governments and nonprofit organizations have learned many lessons from decades of implementing foreign-assistance programs. One of the most valuable lessons is that to be effective, foreign assistance must be “country-led” — the country and its people taking ownership in a program. The people whom these programs are helping have the best understanding of their needs and the culture and environment these programs must work in. They must be a key partner in creating and implementing foreign-assistance programs. The U.S. must work in partnership with these countries so there is mutual understanding and also so progress continues when the U.S. transitions out of the program.

Transparency — making actions and data easily available — is also crucial to track progress. This also holds U.S. and foreign governments accountable to ensure money and resources are used well. Having data and results accessible allows different agencies and organizations to learn from each other’s successes and lessons. In this way, we can keep foreign assistance programs modernized and efficient so they can have the largest possible impact.

Infographic: International Affairs and Poverty Focused Development Assistance. Graphic by Doug Puller / Bread for the World

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