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MFAN Blog Series: Partners Weigh in on Reform in the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future

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With help from our distinguished partners, MFAN has launched two blog series on foreign assistance reform in the context of the Obama administration’s marquee development initiatives—the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future. The posts in each series explore the structure and reform principles built into these programs, including ownership, sound monitoring and evaluation, and leveraging partnerships with the private sector to produce sustainable, long-term development results. Contributors to the Feed the Future blog series included Bread for the World, the World Food Program USA, Action Aid, the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The Global Health Initiative blog series included posts from the Global Health Technologies Coalition, the International Women’s Health Coalition, PATH, and the Global Health Council.

Below are links to, and quotes from, the pieces in both series:

Feed the Future

  • Bread for the World (by Mannik Sakayan, Senior Policy Analyst): “Through country-led investment strategies, the United States will work in partnership with developing country governments to strengthen their agricultural capacity, with particular focus on smallholder farmers. Feed the Future calls for a consultative process with national stakeholders that best understand local needs and wants. Feed the Future also includes a multilateral component, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), housed at the World Bank, to leverage donor contributions from other governments, foundations, and the private sector.”
  • World Food Program USA (by Rick Leach, President & CEO): “In cities, such as Kabul, where markets continue to function, the most food insecure families receive vouchers, which enable them to purchase food from local retailers, thereby bolstering local markets. In order to maintain food security and rebuild lives and communities after emergencies, vulnerable populations are provided with food in exchange for their participation in training programs or infrastructure projects, which helps strengthen the capacity of the Afghan people and build the Afghan economy.”
  • ActionAid USA (by Neil Watkins, Director of Policy and Campaigns):  “[The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program] is governed by a Steering Committee that includes 12 voting members (the aforementioned 6 donors, along with 6 developing country governments), as well as 11 non-voting but fully participating members. Non-voting members include three civil society representatives (including a farmers’ organization leader from Africa and Asia); three representatives from the United Nations system; and representatives from the five development banks which serve as the supervising entities for GAFSP projects. As the fund has evolved, in practice there is little difference between voting and non-voting members: all discussions and decisions are taken with all members present.”
  • German Marshall Fund of the United States (by Senior Program Officer Jonathan M. White and Research Assistant Kathryn Ritterspach): “The Feed the Future initiative is spearheading a more coherent approach to development, involving a wide range of U.S. agencies. This initiative aims to accelerate inclusive agriculture growth and improve nutrition. To achieve this, it will focus on post-harvest market infrastructure, business development, strengthening and harmonizing regulatory frameworks and tariff reductions, and linking smallholder farmers to regional and international markets. By helping build comprehensive trade corridors that connect crop surplus to deficit regions, Feed the Future is leading the way in “aid for trade” and making U.S. foreign assistance more effective and sustainable.”

The Global Health Initiative

  • Global Health Technologies Coalition (by Kaitlin Christensen, Manager): “The role of innovation is well-recognized by the architects of the GHI—promoting research and innovation has been named as one of the initiative’s key principles. In fact, innovation and research have the potential to maximize US investments in foreign assistance and international development more broadly. The GHI provides compelling models as US policymakers consider how to make foreign assistance more effective at reducing poverty and spurring economic growth, particularly of how to leverage a key competency of the US government—driving innovation to benefit those in need.”

  • International Women’s Health Coalition: “Meaningful civil society engagement, coupled with significant government investments, will lead to the creation and maintenance of the infrastructure and resources needed to respond to the needs of citizens. Truly, this foreign assistance philosophy will reduce the need for foreign assistance and lead to a more peaceful and prosperous world for all, including the American people.”

  • PATH (by Janie Hayes, Communications Officer, Rotavirus Vaccine Program): “In Washington, DC, integration is in the air. It is a centerpiece of the President’s Global Health Initiative (GHI) and a common theme in congressional deliberations on foreign assistance reform.  Integration is receiving so much attention for simple reasons: the need to find efficiencies and increase impact.”

  • International Women’s Health Coalition: “As the United States undergoes a much needed overhaul of the way it thinks of and practices development, the health and wellbeing of women and girls is and should continue to be at the center of President Obama’s and Congress’s vision of a healthier, prosperous, and more secure world. Implementing the principles of the GHI, including a women- and girl-centered approach, throughout all U.S. foreign assistance policies and programs will translate into better development outcomes in other areas—the environment and poverty alleviation just to name two. For decades, we have urged policy makers and funders to focus development efforts on women and girls, and President Obama and Secretary Clinton are answering that call.”

  • The Global Health Council: “The announcement of the GHI came at a time when the debate over how to modernize and reform the U.S. approach to foreign assistance and global health and development had begun in full force. Global health is a critical piece of U.S. foreign assistance, and it is critical that the reforms that are hopefully on the horizon be developed hand-in-hand in a way that fits GHI seamlessly into the new foreign assistance framework, and that foreign assistance reform creates a favorable environment for the GHI to have the greatest possible impact on improving global health.”

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