WASHINGTON, April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leading NGO alliance InterAction supports efforts to reform food assistance programs and urges U.S. lawmakers to retain the focus of these programs on reaching the world's poorest and most vulnerable.
President Barack Obama is expected to include elements of food assistance reform in his budget request for fiscal year 2014 on Wednesday. In anticipation of this announcement, leading NGOs have agreed on a set of principles to help guide efforts to reform food assistance programs.
"These reforms must ensure that people who suffer from acute and chronic hunger are still the focal point of any U.S. food assistance programs," said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs. "An estimated one in seven people are hungry at any time – while about 100 million people endure severe hunger crises each year. Any reforms should have their best interests at heart."
The principles also call for an increase in the number of people helped by U.S. food assistance, which has declined significantly in recent years due to decreases in funding and higher commodity prices and distribution costs. In order to reach more hungry people, food assistance programs must also allow for more flexible use of tools such as cash transfers, food vouchers and the local procurement of goods alongside provision of U.S. commodities and direct program funding.
"InterAction member NGOs, with support from generous American donors, are on the frontlines of tackling hunger. It is critical to involve civil society in the reform process, to ensure these programs are as effective as they can be in reaching the most poor and vulnerable," Worthington said.
InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. To learn more visit our website.