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Partnering with Civil Society to Fight Hunger and Poverty

By Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future & Jonathan Shrier

Dear partners,

As many of you know, the Feed the Future initiative is the U.S. Government’s contribution to a global effort to end hunger, extreme poverty, and undernutrition.

Since its early days in 2009, Feed the Future has put into practice a vision for sustainable, intellectually rigorous development assistance, supporting partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur inclusive economic growth, with a focus on smallholder farmers.

Effective and sustainable progress against hunger and poverty requires inclusive engagement with groups outside ofgovernment, both international and local—particularly civil society organizations (CSOs) who are partners in program implementation, have strong linkages with local communities, bring their own private resources, and develop innovative interventions tailored to local needs.

Since the launch of Feed the Future, we’ve prioritized engaging more effectively with our international CSO partners as well as deepening our existing efforts to support local CSOs and local private sector groups. Our goal for this kind of engagement is to leverage the support and resources of our CSO partners to achieve and sustain country‐owned goals of reducing poverty and hunger. Together, we are working to support open and transparent governance and mutual accountability.

A recent commitment by members of InterAction, an alliance of 198 U.S.-based CSOs, to invest more than $1 billion over three years to improve food security and nutrition highlights the crucial role that CSOs play in the effort to end world hunger. These organizations contribute resources and expertise that can leverage U.S. and partner government investments. As InterAction members work to meet their financial commitment, we are deepening our partnership by working together to align our efforts and strengthen mutual accountability.

The valuable feedback of CSOs has also been a key consideration in the evolution of Feed the Future programming, for instance:

  • Increased program integration between nutrition and agriculture
  • Focused on the importance of gender equality
  • Increased strategic focus and programming on climate resilient agricultural development

To further deepen our dialogue and partnership with CSOs, last September former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton invited civil society partners to work with us to develop a Feed the Future Civil Society Action Plan.

We’ve engaged CSO partners through conversations, social media, joint events, new partnerships, and now the launch of the Feed the Future Civil Society Working Group within the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid. This working group will develop a Feed the Future Civil Society Action Plan that provides a series of concrete actions to enhance collaboration between U.S. Government and civil society organizations as we work together to reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition.

Through this engagement and with the launch of the Feed the Future CSO webpage, our goal is to elevate the role that the CSO community plays in achieving Feed the Future goals and strengthen our dialogue and collaboration at home and abroad.

Hunger and undernutrition are complex challenges, but the fight against them is one we can win together.

We look forward to working with you!

Jonathan and Tjada

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