Hunger Report 2009
Global Development: Charting a New Course
The village of Alum Beach, abutting the eastern side of Lake Victoria in this province, receives support from the United Nations International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD). On a hill in the village, the picturesque lake glistens in the sun and looks close, like one could get there in a matter of minutes. But looks are deceiving. The villagers, mostly the women and girls, spend hours walking each day to fetch water. This is an example of how development can and should work.
IFAD saw how all these issues were interconnected—sanitation, clean water, health care, education, and agriculture—and designed a development strategy that reflected this. But sometimes aid agencies and development workers are hamstrung, lacking the flexibility or resources they need to address complex realities on the ground. Too often this describes U.S. development assistance programs.
To help people in villages like this one move into the 21st century, the United States must improve how it provides development assistance.
IFAD, partnering with the Kenyan government, has supplied funding to build a catchment for rain water. This means girls can spend more time doing schoolwork. Women have more time to work in the fields or attend to household tasks.
IFAD also supported the building of latrines, improving sanitary conditions in the village. Soon there will be a clinic nearby, where antiretroviral drugs will be available.
HIV/AIDS rates are exceptionally high in the Southern Nyanza Province. No longer will the villagers have to travel so far for their health care. Samwell Magai, chairman of the village, lost one of his own children because of the distance to the nearest hospital, a boat ride across the lake. All of the projects are part of IFAD’s strategy to work with the village on improving the productivity of its farmers.
Global Development: Charting a New Course analyzes the inefficiencies in the current structure of U.S. foreign assistance and maps out a series of reforms to elevate development as a foreign policy priority. The challenges of the 21st century argue for a fresh approach to U.S. foreign assistance.