Federal Way, WA (October 18, 2011) — Today, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah addressed a standing-room-only crowd of more than 800 staff at the U.S. headquarters of World Vision, the Christian humanitarian organization. Shah's speech focused on the role played by faith-based organizations in responding to major humanitarian disasters like the crisis in the Horn of Africa, and in addressing hunger and poverty over the longer-term through efforts like President Obama's Feed the Future initiative.
"I'm thrilled that World Vision is a partner with us on some interesting new programs like Feed the Future, the Global Health Initiative, and the new Grand Challenge in Global Education, where we will together be launching challenge grants to promote science, technology and innovation in development," said Shah, addressing World Vision staff. "Many of the innovations come out of learnings from your 40,000 strong workforce all around the world."
World Vision works alongside children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision has worked with USAID for 30 years to bring health, HIV and AIDS response, food security, emergency relief, and other assistance to those in need. In fiscal year 2010, World Vision implemented 109 USAID-funded projects in 39 countries.
"World Vision and USAID have been partners for three decades in government grant work all over the world," said Richard Stearns, President of World Vision. "We have a unique appreciation and understanding of the impact of U.S. foreign assistance on the lives of children and families around the world. We believe in what USAID is doing and we are proud to be their partner."
The crisis in the Horn of Africa, where the worst drought in over 60 years is affecting more than 13 million people, putting many at risk of starvation and death, is of particular concern to many relief and development organizations. Without improved access in Somalia, as many as 750,000 Somalis may die in the next few months. To help raise awareness to the issue, USAID recently launched the FWD campaign in coordination with World Vision and other leading NGOs. The goal of the campaign—which stands for “famine”, “war” and “drought”— is to highlight the three major issues at the center of this urgent crisis and provide tools for people to take action and spread the word.
USAID's Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) organized the Seattle event with World Vision staff as part of the agency's ongoing effort to engage the faith-based community, especially around the Horn of Africa Crisis.
"People of faith are often at the vanguard of responding to major humanitarian crises, and the present crisis in the Horn of Africa is no exception. We’ve seen churches, mosques and synagogues around the country fundraise and build awareness about this crisis." said Zeenat Rahman, CFBCI's Acting Director, "The faith community can bridge the critical gap in raising awareness by ensuring that the issue remains front-and-center in the hearts and minds of the American people."
In the past month, CFBCI has helped host several gatherings for various religious groups in partnership with the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, including a White House event for more than 70 pastors attending World Vision's national advocacy summit, a documentary screening of Compassion International's, 58: The Film, and participating in one of Church World Service's Washington DC-area CROP Walks.
- END -
About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. The organization has worked with USAID for decades to bring health, HIV and AIDS, food security, emergency response, and other sectoral assistance to those in need around the world. In FY2010, World Vision implemented 109 USAID-funded projects in 39 countries, valued at $191.3 million. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. In the Horn of Africa, World Vision is working to reach 2.5 million drought-affected people with life-saving relief and long-term development through programs in nutrition, food security, water and sanitation, health and education. Visit worldvision.org/press for more.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information about USAID's programs, please visit: usaid.gov. To read the USAID blog, see blog.usaid.gov.