USA (MNN) — As the United States Congress awaits President Obama’s signature on the recently passed Global Food Security Act, Lucas Koach of Food for the Hungry believes it’s essential for Christians to make their voices heard.
The Global Food Security Act has been introduced and reintroduced in Congress over the past five years. It’s designed to promote food security, resilience, and nutrition for nations around the world.
Koach shares, “Approximately 80 million people — that’s one in nine people around the world — are chronically hungry. Poor nutrition causes nearly half the deaths in children under the age of five, more than three million deaths each year.
“Simply put, sustainably feeding and nourishing the population of today and tomorrow is perhaps the greatest challenge we face as global citizens.”
Food for the Hungry supports the Global Food Security Act because, according to Koach, it focuses on three primary things. First, the bill requires greater coordination in the US government to create a coordinated and transparent strategy. Currently 11 government agencies are working to address the complexities of global food security as they await the passing of the bill. Secondly, the bill requires mandatory public reporting which will ensure American tax dollars are being used most efficiently.
Finally, the Global Food Security Act comes at no added cost. Rather, it demands sustainability from existing global food security programs using better strategies and oversight. According to Koach, “This is about the US doing its work better, not adding to any program, or adding to the US budget, or adding additional costs to US taxpayers.”
Both the House and the Senate have voted in favor of the Act, and President Obama has indicated his intent to add his signature.
The Global Food Security Act is important to Food for the Hungry, not only because of the ongoing work they do in developing countries, but also because of the ongoing humanitarian crisis due to the overwhelming number of refugees.
“We have 60 million people displaced around the world. And these displacements aren’t just for a few months or for several months. This is a new crisis — the world hasn’t seen anything like this since World War II. We have a humanitarian role to play as we continue to urge our leaders to seek solutions.” Even Pope Francis has asked global leaders and citizens to do their part in addressing the growing challenges of food security.
Though countries all around the world devote some portion of their budgets to foreign assistance, Koach shares that the United States is the largest contributor to global food security issues by far.
“We’re living in a very unprecedented and fragile time. Rather than just merely being reactive to the crisis of the day, this act pulls out our best resources to bear for a comprehensive plan that addresses both emergency situations and a long-term integrated approach to food security in other parts of the world, like the development of local agriculture systems, connecting commercial markets, and creating systems of oversight. So this is the US doing its part to make sure their global food security strategy has the greatest impact and has the greatest efficiency possible as they coordinate with foreign governments in coordinating responses.
“Our leadership demands us and requires us — and our faith demands us and requires us — to be engaged and to be concerned with all the people of the world.”
The assistance the US provides to global food security is currently one-half of one percent of the country’s total budget. According to Koach, that’s infinitesimally small in comparison to what is being required of host governments, private sector agencies, and corporations.
While Food for the Hungry receives a large portion of its funding from faithful Christians who believe in the work being done, Koach says, “We also believe it’s right for Christians to exercise their faith in partnership with public institutions and bring the best aspects of our faith to bear in the public square among these institutions.”
Koach says the accountability isn’t simply while the programs are being implemented, but it is also for what happens in the communities once those programs have ended. The question to be solved: “Once these programs conclude, are communities able to feed themselves?”
Koach spends time with leaders on Capitol Hill, and he’s seen first-hand how much power a few voices can have in bringing about change.
“In a season where there’s a lot of political strife, this is an example of seeing Congress work at its best to pass legislation. It was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, and it was passed 369-53 in the House. It’s an excellent example of bi-partisan cooperation that will help bring proactive strategies to food security around the world.
“Now it’s time for believers to stay engaged — to let leaders know, ‘I support the Global Food Security Act,’ and to make sure the work toward food security remains a priority. Members of Congress consistently tell me they need to hear from their constituents, they need to know that people from their local community, from their local churches, support these things, and that it matters to them to ensure we’re bringing our best resources to bear as we walk with the poor around the world.”
Koach urges, “I would encourage everyone who considers Jesus Christ Lord to certainly continue to pray for the poor of the world, recognizing that we are the hands and feet of Jesus and we can call, we can write our leaders to say, ‘This is important to me, this matters to my faith, and this matters to our country.’ And thank them — thank them for their support.”