Programs and Opportunities
Practical Snapshots: How Food Aid Helps
Developing Communities and Countries
the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and
Child Nutrition (FFE) Program, the Food for Progress (FFP)
program, and the Section 416(b) program, FAS works
closely with private voluntary organizations, the World
Food Program, and foreign governments to foster food
security and development in countries around the world.
Private voluntary organizations use the resources
of USDA food aid programs to promote health,
nutrition, and advancement for people in
activities help to support education, child development,
and food security for some of the world’s poorest
children. In the last five years, FFE efforts have
helped feed more than 10 million children in more than
40 countries, increase school attendance, and improve
The FFP program provides developmental assistance
through projects such as credit funds, infrastructure
development, and technical assistance. The program
provides food to vulnerable populations and assists
farmers and agribusinesses in improving their
operations. Through the FFP program, FAS provides
$150-250 million worth of food assistance each year.
selling commodities from U.S. food aid programs
and using the proceeds for approved development
416(b) provides for overseas donation of surplus
agricultural commodities that may be sold in the
recipient country and the proceeds used to support
agricultural, economic, or infrastructure development
Aga Khan Foundation’s School Feeding Program in Central
Since the mid-1990s, the Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A., a
private, nonprofit international development
organization, has worked with FAS to alleviate hunger
and illiteracy and promote development in isolated
mountain communities in Central Asia. The Aga Khan
Foundation, which is part of a network of social
development agencies and service providers known as the
Aga Khan Development Network, has used USDA-donated
commodities to develop a university in Central Asia,
improve dairy practices and feed vulnerable populations
in the region.
AKF food aid efforts at work in a school in
Photo courtesy of AKF
Aga Khan Foundation began implementing the Education
Dairy and Nutrition Program, mainly in Tajikistan and
Afghanistan, through a Section 416(b) food aid grant. A
portion of the donated commodities are monetized, i.e.,
sold to raise funds for agreed-upon development
activities that demonstrate potential for high impact at
the community level. Also through the program, donated
nonfat dry milk is bartered and used to produce
individual servings of UHT milk for school children. The
program provides a daily ration of 200 milliliters of
milk (about half of a pint) to 79,000 school children.
In Tajikistan, Aga Khan Foundation has distributed milk
rations to 321 schools and 21 kindergartens. In
2004-2005, the grant supported 49 small-scale community
infrastructure projects such as school rehabilitation
and irrigation canals benefiting approximately 42,728
It provided livestock and veterinary training
for 882 poor households, and a range of services,
including vaccinations for over 1,000 animals. The grant
also supported training for district health
professionals and community based health workers and
also essential preventative health care services for
mothers and children under the age of 5; for instance,
over 16,000 children received Vitamin D supplements.
AKF food aid efforts in Afghanistan.
Photos courtesy of AKF
Afghanistan, FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), an
affiliate of Aga Khan Development Network, has used the
grant to deliver milk to 81 schools, overseeing the
distribution of 1.38 million liters of milk every
academic year. FOCUS grapples with many challenges in
this extremely isolated and harsh mountain climate.
There is often no electricity, roads, vehicles or even
safe school buildings where classes can be held. In half
of the areas, all of the milk distribution must be done
on foot, and it can take several days to reach some of
the most isolated schools. The milk is transported
across the Pyanj River, and for every river crossing,
FOCUS must coordinate with numerous regional officials,
local communities and special volunteer teams from
Thus, FOCUS transports up to 20,000 liters
of milk a day across this tumultuous river, 30-50 times
a year. These efforts have paid off in better nutrition
and increased school attendance for children in Northern
Afghanistan, one of the poorest regions of the country
where child malnutrition rates rank among the highest in
In 2004-2005, the Section 416(b) grant was also used to
rehabilitate 11 needy schools in Afghanistan. In
addition, 24 field schools for farmers were held and
nine livestock development centers established that
provide artificial insemination services. In 2006, this
grant has supported a range of income-generating
activities for low-income farmers, provided livestock
services to 10,000 rural households and also contributed
to improved natural resource management.
A 13-minute video program highlighting the Education
Dairy and Nutrition Program, entitled Milk & Hope, is
available from Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A.
IPHD efforts in Moldova: school cooks preparing a meal of pasta.
Children eating a prepared meal.
Photos courtesy of IPHD
IPHD Food Aid Efforts in Moldova
In 2001-2005, IPHD (the International Partnership for
Human Development) worked with FAS to implement school
feeding programs in Moldova. IPHD distributed 42,150
metric tons of donated U.S. commodities for direct
feeding and monetized another 14,000 tons. U.S.
donations were bread flour, vegetable oil, potato
flakes, rice, and pasta.
provided rations of 4.5 kg (1 kilogram = 2.046 pounds)
per child per month and 1-3 kg of local foods per month,
and increased participation to 330,000 preschool and
primary students in more than 3,000 schools. Proceeds
from monetized commodities were used to buy cooking
utensils and local foods, repair school kitchens,
develop a system to monitor nutrition and health, and
establish parent-teacher associations.
through the FFE program improved school infrastructure.
About 90 percent of targeted schools instituted lunch
programs, and 65 percent repaired their school kitchens.
The schools offered hygiene and nutrition courses
offered to students. Over 50 percent of Moldovan
kindergartens reopened, and about 65 percent of them
provided lunch programs.
Moldovans have reaped employment benefits as well. The
FFE program led to the employment of 6,300 cooks, 110
bakery workers, 300 government warehouse staff and
administrators, and 310 transport workers.
In 2005 working with the Moldovan Ministry of Health,
IPHD developed a growth monitoring program to measure
FFE health and nutrition results that was adopted as the
national standard. Through the program, schools received
more than 3,000 booklets on child nutrition and health,
and cooks received instruction on preparing nutritious
Before the FFE program, 20 percent of Moldovan
children were underweight, and 8 percent were mentally
challenged; today, 12.7 percent are underweight and 4.1
percent are mentally challenged.
TechnoServe efforts helping people in
Central America develop businesses and
Photo courtesy of TechnoServe
Throughout the four years of its assistance, IPHD worked
closely with the national and local governments. Through
their combined efforts, the school feeding program in
Moldova is moving from U.S. to local food assistance.
After March 2007, local efforts will sustain the
program. Schools in the two largest cities, Balti and
Chisinau, have already made the transition.
(parent-teacher associations) are crucial to the
transition. IPHD developed 1,300 PTAs and community
support groups for transitioning the school lunch
programs to local communities and to the government.
Over 100,000 people participate in these new community
TechnoServe Efforts in Honduras and Nicaragua
TechnoServe, Inc. helps entrepreneurial people in
developing countries to start or expand businesses that
create jobs and broad-based economic growth. USDA and
TechnoServe have worked together on FFP programs in
Honduras and Nicaragua.
Since the late 1990s, TechnoServe has worked to help
Honduras shift from a supplier of low-value cocoa to
high-value, specialty cocoa priced at 250 percent above
world index prices. Today, 700 Honduran small farmers
produce 800-1,000 metric tons per year valued at $1.5
million at farm gate.
TechnoServe is working with various cocoa stakeholders
-- the government of Honduras, producer associations,
research foundations, and financial institutions --
reproducing genetic material to replant 10,000 ha (1
hectare = 2.471 acres) with fine cocoa trees so they can
provide highest quality cocoa to gourmet markets.
TechnoServe cocoa project in Honduras.
Coffee project in Nicaragua.
Photos courtesy of TechnoServe
five years, TechnoServe anticipates expanding the
program to 4,000 farmers who would be producing over $35
million worth of fine cocoa per year. In addition,
TechnoServe assisted the country’s cocoa processing
plant develop a business plan to rescue it from
bankruptcy. Through fresh working capital, the plant
could boost its operations from 40 percent of capacity
earning $4 million in revenue to 100 percent of capacity
bringing up to $10 million per year.
From 2000-2005, TechnoServe provided Nicaragua with
technical assistance in the production, processing,
marketing, finance, and business management of its
promising coffee industry. TechnoServe assisted farmers
with small holdings of 1-2 ha each to shift to specialty
coffee production, helping them to maximize yields,
create a coffee collection center, and establish links
In the 2003/2004 harvest season (October-March), these
farmers reaped their first sales: their average market
price was $1.10 per pound when that of conventional
coffee was 75 cents. In 2005, the farmers earned
$800,000, which helped them attract $340,000 in
financing from private banks.
In five years, TechnoServe efforts have helped
participating farmers increase their coffee sales
tenfold, increase organic and conventional coffee yields
by 60 percent, buy a warehouse, and provide 300
families, about 1,500 people, with secure income.