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Conference LiveBlog: Dr. Julie Howard of USAID’s Feed the Future

By Opportunity International

Dr. Julie Howard, the U.S. Government’s Deputy Coordinator for Development for the Feed the Future initiative, shares her background, and her perspectives on food security and global hunger from the main stage today at the Opportunity International Conference.

Highlights from Dr. Howard’s presentation

Dr. Julie Howard, of USAID's Feed the Future Initiative.I have always wanted to work to implement a different kind of development assistance, one that works with NGOs, and was doing so starting ten years ago. Then, almost a year ago, administrator Shah called me and asked me to be involved in this initiative, to come into government, with my outsider’s perspective.

Today, our challenge at Feed the Future is that almost a billion people are undernourished. We know how much our food supplies have to increase. We are committed to doing something about food security. And in 2007 and 2008, when we saw global food crises, we had never seen crises like that before, and we saw that we had to address them.

The U.S. had been giving aid, but we had been out of the business of teaching people to fish, which is what we needed to do. But in 2009, President Obama pledged $3.5 billion over three years, and other G8 countries contributed too.

But it’s about more than money. Countries need to get directly involved with the programs, and they need to collaborate with each other, to truly meet challenges and accomplish their goals.

We want inclusive agriculture growth for women and men. We want that to translate to improved nutrition for all. We are implementing these principles in part by focusing on fewer goals–we’re working in 19 countries that have demonstrated that they are documenting the effectiveness of their programs.

We are working on long-term research to combat climate change and drought, as well as increase productivity of cereal crops and legumes.

Today we’re also transforming partnerships with the private sector. And just last week, we announced a partnership with PepsiCo. We’re very excited to be able to innovate to end hunger and increase food security through partnerships like this.

We hope to be able to continue to discuss this work with you this weekend and in the future. Thank you.

A bit about Dr. Howard

Dr. Julie Howard was appointed in March 2011 as the U.S. Government’s deputy coordinator for development for Feed the Future, President Obama’s global hunger and food security initiative. Julie leads communication, donor and NGO engagement, interagency coordination, and initiative-wide strategy and policy development, as well as overall Feed the Future budget management and monitoring and evaluation. Since 2003, she has served as executive director and chief executive officer of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, an independent nonprofit coalition dedicated to increasing the level and effectiveness of U.S. assistance and private investment through research, dialogue and advocacy.

This session was streamed live at opportunity.org/live. Visit opportunity.org/live throughout the conference to watch the sessions live.

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