How you are present in places like Zambia

November 10, 2015
Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World

By Stephen H. Padre

In the chatter of presidential campaigns, we sometimes hear about how Washington is the problem - how ineffective and inefficient our federal government can be.

But a piece of good news is that, even very far away from Washington, our federal government is actually carrying out effective work. In one country, Zambia, deep in the heart of Southern Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is hard at work combatting poverty. USAID is the main way our government responds to overseas emergencies like major hurricanes and the often silent “disaster” of poverty and hunger.

My coworker in the communications department at Bread and I recently returned from visiting some of the projects that USAID is carrying out in Zambia. We went to gather stories about real people and the real difference that our government is making in the lives of people experiencing hunger and poverty. You’ll see the results of our labor early next year in the toolkit of resources for the 2016 Offering of Letters.

But in the meantime, I want to communicate to Bread members this message: Day in and day out, USAID is working through effective partners with decades of history and experience, many of which are relief and development agencies of U.S. churches. Some are secular organizations. Some are U.S,-based, and some are based in the countries where the work is happening, like Zambia. And they’re making progress against hunger and poverty.

You may still feel removed and disconnected from this work because it often happens very far away and must go through many channels before it reaches the people it helps. But Bread can help connect you to this work and actually puts you at the beginning of the process. You as an anti-hunger activist are the small flame that ignites a big fire. When you communicate with your members of Congress, you are advocating before the very body that decides the policy and funds that USAID operates under.

The rubber then meets the road in places like Zambia, in remote villages, where USAID and its partners are teaching women how to provide more nutritious food for their young children, or where USAID and organizations are giving children with HIV longer lives through medical care and nutrition counseling. Multiply these scenes that are happening across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and many other places, and you have a lot of successful work happening by our government.

You can’t always get to Washington yourself to tell our politicians to stop the gridlock and partisanship. And you can’t always go to a developing country to end the daily grind of poverty directly. But with and through Bread, you are in these places. Communicate with your members of Congress, and your voice is in Washington. Speak out for programs that are bringing an end to hunger and poverty, and your government is in places like Zambia.

When not in Zambia, Stephen H. Padre is in Washington, D.C., being the managing editor for Bread, but part of his heart is in Africa all the time.

Photo: A mother in a village in eastern Zambia tries out a new recipe for porridge for her young child. Mothers in the village received a cooking demostration from a nutrition volunteer who was teaching them how to provide more nutritious foods for children under 2. The work of the volunteer is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development through Catholic Relief Services. Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World

You as an anti-hunger activist are the small flame that ignites a big fire.

Help Women Farmers. Infographic by Doug Puller / Bread for the World

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • 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. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • 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.

For Advocacy