Global Hunger and Food Rights
In the poorest places in the world, ActionAid works hand in hand with small holder farmers helping them to: claim their right to land; gain access to credit, seeds and local markets; learn more productive and sustainable farming methods, and organize and build support from within their own communities. In the US, ActionAid helps ensure food assistance from the United States and other affluent countries continues to provide a critical safety net for the poorest of the poor, while urging policymakers to build long long-term solutions. Sustainable solutions rely on protecting and maintaining natural resources, so land can be farmed now and in the future. That’s why Action Aid is helping developing communities adapt to the ever-increasing impact of climate change. ActionAId programs promote sustainable farming methods, provide tools and training, and help small farmers find their voice for change. These are just some of the ways that ActionAid helps whole communities make a living, put food on the table and build a brighter future.
Women and Girls
ActionAid believes that ending poverty and injustice will only be possible when we secure equality and rights for women and girls. In the face of many obstacles, women are powerful forces for change. Every time a family has good food to eat and clean water to drink, every day a child arrives at school or a sick person receives care, it’s usually a woman who has fought for this small, daily victory. Starting with a decent education, ActionAid programs help girls grow into women who can succeed at home, in their communities and at work. ActionAid also works to defend the rights of women and girls to live free from violence and harmful traditional practices like child marriage, and to ensure that that women can maintain control of their own bodies. To help build their economic independence and self-sufficiency, ActionAid works with women helping ensure their rights to land, accessing credit, gaining recognition for unpaid care work, and creating women’s cooperatives and collectives that build self-esteem and self-reliance. The best way to end poverty is to strengthen women in their own struggles, helping them to unleash their potential to change the world. That’s why Action Aid is working hard, not only to protect the rights of women and girls, but to empower them to raise their voices and demand change — because we know it a fundamental battle in the fight to end poverty.
Disaster Response and Resiliance
When disasters and emergencies strike, ActionAid is at the ready to respond with immediate life-saving aid like food and water – but also with long-term support. ActionAid emergency assistance is linked to ongoing projects, providing practical support and ensuring local people have a say in rebuilding their communities and livelihoods. When a major earthquake hit Haiti in January, 2010, ActionAid was there to provide life-saving food, water, shelter and other necessities to the most vulnerable and hardest hit communities. And ActionAid is still there – working to ensure a fair and transparent reconstruction process that brings safe and affordable long-term housing for the most vulnerable displaced Haitians. ActionAid also works with poor and vulnerable communities ravaged by conflict to break the cycle of violence. Programs help protect women and girls, re-integrate combatants into society and help communities recover their livelihoods and strengthen hope in their futures. Strong, prepared communities don’t need to see their lives devastated by a disaster. That’s why ActionAid doesn’t wait for disasters to strike. Disaster risk reduction projects help people living in poverty better prepare for emergencies – like storms, flooding, and drought – saving lives and livelihoods.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2011, ActionAid launched a major new project that will direct $4.5 million over three years to four countries aimed at increasing and improving public support to agriculture that women smallholders receive from their governments. Women smallholder farmers are literally feeding sub-Saharan Africa, growing most of the food consumed by the continent’s inhabitants. Despite their key role, women smallholder farmers don’t get the support they need from governments to have successful farms.
With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, women farmers in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda will learn how to track their governments’ agriculture budgets and how to raise their collective voice to ensure that public investments support their needs with credit, extension services, labor saving technologies and research for women farmers. This innovative project also incorporates advocacy by ActionAid USA to urge the US government to increase and improve aid to agriculture that better meets the needs of women smallholders.