USAID's Holistic Response to Hunger Crises

In western Africa, Raissa and Salif Kabore
are raising their 1-year-old son Josue. A severe drought has created a crisis. They are getting food from USAID, but it’s
not enough. They worry about Josue’s health. He is sick often. Even when there is enough maize to eat, they
rarely have extra to sell, and they don’t have any savings. Fortunately, food assistance can be complemented
with activities that holistically address immediate hunger and its root causes. For example, through USAID,
the Kabores learn how hand washing and using toilets help prevent infections – and they
share these lessons with their neighbors. In exchange for working on community improvements,
like irrigation and water conservation terraces, Salif gets emergency food which lets him provide
for his family and expands his community's agricultural opportunities. USAID also provides drought-tolerant seeds
and training so farmers can prepare for the next dry season. Off the farm, USAID works with Raissa and
Salif’s village to expand jobs through community-led savings and lending groups. Raissa and Salif can take out a low interest
loan to pay for Josue’s medical bills. After pooling savings, villagers can take
out loans to start their own businesses. Raissa hopes to eventually start her own poultry
business. At community nutrition sessions led by village
health workers, Raissa gets tips from other women about breastfeeding and preparing balanced
meals. Now, Josue has gained weight and is sick less
often. Hunger is complicated by many factors and
simply filling bellies is not enough. Through an integrated approach to food assistance,
USAID works with communities to break the cycle of hunger
and help people gain the tools they need to feed themselves for many years to come.

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