On November 9th, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) hosted United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Chief Nutritionist, Shawn Baker, for an executive roundtable with state and local leaders from across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. These leaders discussed how USAID’s programs around the world, specifically food security and nutrition programs like Feed the Future, matter to and impact folks right here in America’s heartland.
Across all three states, there was a clear understanding that nutrition is key to a child’s development; that healthy children lead better lives. Long-term, we know health children are able to develop into stronger adults who contribute to the development of their communities, economies, and countries.
This conversation came on the heels of USAID Administrator Samantha Power’s announcement in September at the UN Food Systems Summit of a $5 billion commitment over five years to work in tandem with the private sector to combat global hunger and malnutrition. During our discussion, business and industry leaders from America’s heartland expressed that there’s a lot of opportunity for the private sector to assist in the fight against food insecurity. When business and government work together to improve lives around the world, so much more can be accomplished.
Many organizations in the Heartland are already involved with incredible partnerships alongside USAID, in particular, the Feed the Future initiative. Farmers, universities, and private sector companies from across the region are working hand in hand with the initiative, not only to create change around the world, but to create jobs right here in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Last year alone, USAID was able to leverage $234 million in private sector investment to transform lives and ensure food security, making transformative change in recipient nations.
Finally – and perhaps most timely, was a conversation on what’s it worth to folks right here at home Leaders from across the region agreed that foreign aid and programs like Feed the Future create customers for American businesses, increase safety for those who serve, and help create a healthier and more sustainable world. Leaving our discussion, energy to establish new partnerships, explore new opportunities, and showcase the best of America to the world was palpable.
It’s clear once again that leaders across America’s heartland agree – leading globally matters locally.