"There are no magic bullets to the food crisis. Complex causes require multiple solutions," says Church World Service Executive Director and CEO Rev. John L. McCullough. "But now, more than ever, we must prioritize keenly."
CWS is calling for urgent action by world bodies, governments and aid agencies to attack hunger, malnutrition and the continued toll of high food prices in a direct and cost-conscious approach that deals at the same time with immediate crises and long-term, sustainable food security levels.
"It's not just about 'more food,' it's about better quality food, better nutrition," says McCullough.
CWS is urging support for increasing the climate change adaptation capacity of poor farmers, and expanding the provision of micronutrient supplements and ready-to-use food products to arrest the growing rate of malnutrition among some 178 million small children worldwide--20 million of whom are severely malnourished.
CWS supports sustainable agriculture programs in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Central Europe that stress soil conservation and composting techniques, water conservation and flood mitigation measures, and provision of open-pollinated seed stocks adapted to climate-stressed regions.
"I am thankful to Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan for the free treatment and medicines," says 35-year-old Dilshad Bi Bi. Bi Bi recently gave birth to triplets at the Kaghan Civil Hospital, a CWS-run facility in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.
She and her husband could not afford the other health facility in the area, so Bi Bi visited the CWS-run Kaghan hospital for pre-natal care, where she received vaccinations and nutritional supplements.
"The doctor and lady health visitor paid special attention to me," she reports.
After the birth, Bi Bi received training on breastfeeding and hygiene, along with advice on vaccinations for the children. She and the triplets--one boy and two girls--are in good health.
Says Bi Bi, "The CWS-P/A health team saved my babies and me."
CWS-Pakistan/Afghanistan established eight health facilities in the earthquake-affected areas of the North West Frontier Province. More than 141,000 people have received preventive and curative health services in the CWS facilities since the October 2005 quake.