U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa during a meeting today at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C., titled “From Famine to Food Security.”
She made news by announcing that the U.S. will give an additional $17 million in aid to support countries in the Horn of Africa devastated by famine, including $12 million to help Somalia. This brings the total amount of U.S. humanitarian aid to the region to more than $580 million this year.
But the focus of Clinton’s speech was as much on long-term solutions for hunger as it was on meeting critical response needs in the short term.
Secretary Clinton emphasized the need for government, private sector and others to invest in sustained food security and highlighted Partners in Food Solutions, a technical philanthropy program founded by General Mills, as an example of the private sector working toward long-term, hunger-fighting solutions.
“We are also looking to the private sector to contribute, especially in coming up with innovative ideas for reducing hunger and food insecurity … We are supporting a partnership among General Mills, Cargill, and the Dutch company DSM who are assisting food processors in Kenya and other countries to improve their ability to produce high-quality, nutritious, safe food. This will benefit local consumers and prepare local food producers to compete in regional markets.”
You can watch the video of Clinton’s speech on the IFPRI website.
General Mills understands that improving the capacity of the food processing sector in Africa can be catalytic in fighting hunger. By improving technology at the local food processor level, these food processors are able to expand, hire and source more products from small-holder farmers. The farmers, with additional income, can stave off hunger, pay school fees, get better medical care and start new businesses.
As Secretary Clinton pointed out, short-term relief is in urgent need now as well. That is why the General Mills Foundation recently pledged up to $100,000 to the American Refugee Committee (ARC), a humanitarian organization based in the Twin Cities that has a team in Somalia distributing food in the nation’s capital of Mogadishu. The donation was made in an effort to speed famine relief to the millions of Somalis on the brink of starvation. For more information about this pledge, read our blog post, “Famine Deepens in Somalia.”
To help those in need in the Horn of Africa, donations can be made to ARC. Or, as Clinton pointed out in her speech today, donations can also be made at USAID.gov and by texting AID to 27722 to give $10 to World Food Program USA.