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Volunteers Honoured For Food Security Work

GENERAL - Four ACDI/VOCA volunteers were honoured yesterday at the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Appreciation event for their outstanding service this year to reduce hunger in poor communities worldwide.

Technical experts Dr Peder Cuneo, Dr Roger Ellis, W. Kirk Miller and Gary Mutz were recognised for volunteering their time and skills to a variety of hunger-fighting programs, ranging from livestock health and care to agribusiness strategies and cooperative development, in the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa.

Fighting world hunger is at the heart of USAID's new Feed-the-Future initiative, which was implemented in May to further the US pledge of $3.5 billion toward agricultural development made at the 2009 G-8 summit in response to rising world food prices and food riots.

As USAID reorganises itself to meet Feed-the-Future's goals for the global hunger challenge: "I would think we'll be seeing more of innovative programs like Farmer-to-Farmer," says event keynote speaker Gregory Gottlieb, senior deputy assistant administrator of the newly created Bureau for Food Security, which oversees Feed the Future.

"The two FTFs—'Farmer-to-Farmer' and 'Feed the Future'—have a lot more in common than just our acronym," Mr Gottlieb says. "Together, we are working to lift people out of poverty through agriculture-led development."

USAID's Farmer-to-Farmer program also benefits US taxpayers because it helps development aid dollars stretch further, says ACDI/VOCA Volunteer Director Diana Roach. In 2010 volunteers fulfilled 522 assignments worldwide, providing direct formal training to 16,853 beneficiaries—one-third of them women.

"The memories and relationships our volunteers build working in these communities is the only compensation they receive, and of course the satisfaction of making a difference," Ms Roach says. "And they make a tremendous difference in people's lives—often for years to come."

the Fish Site Editor

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