Guinea-Bissau is the tenth poorest country in the world, much poorer than Haiti.
IPHD had 22 Section 416(b) agreements between 1984 and 2002 that had a program value of $151,409,217. These programs involved shipments totalling 326,905 metric tons of food, benefiting a total of 9,372,470 beneficiaries. The largest programs were in Mexico between 1984 and 1991. There were two other smaller programs in Mexico: 1992 and 1993. IPHD began to monetize food aid commodities beginning with the 1987 program in Mexico, and was one of the first PVOs (NGOs) to monetize donated food. All of the programs in Mexico were targeted on rural areas, and all administrative and distribution costs, which were very substantial were funded by IPHD and its local partner DESMI (Social & Economic Development of the Mexican Indian). There were no overhead budget items on any of these Section 416(b) program agreements.
The programs carried out in Mexico included food distributions to over 1.1 million poor people monthly, and the conversion of milk powder into a chocolate syrup type product known as “cajeta” for children. From 1987 onward these programs in Mexico had a number of development components. An IPHD nutrition study of rural children in the Ixmiquilpan area, conducted by a physician, several nurses and social workers, showed that 72 percent of the children who received US donated foods regularly gained an average of 2 kilos in six months. A sample of 32 very malnourished children, selected specifically for their precariously low weight and symptoms of serious malnutrition, achieved normal weights in the same period. The nutrition and health education program covered over 200,000 women and children. It provided talks on nutrition and health, instructed mothers on how to prepare ORT salts, discussed use of healthy foods and preparations, provided vitamins, de-wormed children, instructed families on sanitation and hygiene, especially on the use of family latrines that were built by IPHD and DESMI.
The Mexico Section 416(b) Programs had a reforestation component which resulted in over 100,000 trees being planted, including fruit trees such as peach and fig trees. Tractors were purchased to help clear more land for farm use, and to help close to 1,000 farmers yearly plant. With the help of two well-drillers, water systems were developed for 22 villages. In some villages, wells were drilled at over 200 meters. In 1989, IPHD established a veterinary project for the Ixmiquilpan area and 5,000 animals were treated. The cost to inseminate a cow was $15, much less than commercial rates. A block-making project helped rural families repair or replace their houses, many of which before were simple huts. The project also provided culverts and drainages for irrigation projects. The program in Mexico included a credit program for farmers, and another one for women. With credit, one farmer bought 30 cows. A 10-kilometer irrigation canal was built in Julian Villagran, which helped many farmers increase their income.
The above are examples of some of the projects and activities carried out by IPHD between 1984 and 1993.
IPHD began its Section 416(b) food aid activities in Romania in 1993 with 250 metric tons of butteroil and 100 metric tons of butter of which 10 percent of the commodities were monetized and the rest distributed mainly to 25,325 children in day care centers and nurseries, institutions for disabled children, orphanages, as also to 29 hospitals around the country. Monetization funds were used to cover transportation, warehousing of foods, some local costs for Caritas, IPHD’s local partner in Romania, and costs of repairing and maintaining the Colentina Children’s Home, and several small children’s centers.
This was followed by a second Section 416(b) agreement for Romania in 1994, with 1,008 tons of butteroil of which 149 tons were monetized and the balance distributed. Monetization funds supported a Caritas soup kitchen for the poor, a nursery/kindergarten for gypsy children, purchase of medicines for the Caritas pharmacy, a home for Downs Syndrome children, a project for HIV/AIDS children in Snagow, a nutrition/health education project, agricultural projects in Oituz, Constanza Province, and loans to women for 22 small projects. Butteroil was distributed to 29 orphanages and children’s homes, besides to other institutions supported by Caritas. Under agreements with the Ministry of Health, 105 schools and 108 health centers and hospitals benefited from butteroil. The distribution component reached 61,135 children and needy poor. Some 72,135 people benefited from both food distribution and monetization.
In 2002, IPHD undertook its final Section 416b) USDA-donated food program in Romania – with a shipment of 1,795 tons of commodites, of which 520 tons were monetized. Funds were used to upgrade programs in 6 homes for HIV/AIDS children, purchase nutriional suppements for HIV/AIDS children, and provide home support for 300 families with HIV/AIDS children under 16 years of age. Other funding went to support a girls’ training center in Campulung (50 orphan girls) who were trained in sewing, fabric cutting, and other skills. A school for gypsy children was repaired and furnished, and a Salesian training center in Constanza received funds for equipment purchases. Another 2,000 children in orphanages were aided with clothes, bedding, washing machines, food, toys, fuel and other needs. A training center in Somaschi for 120 young adults was helped by training them in computer technology and other skills. Lastly, food distributions aided 18,632 people, many children with HIV/AIDS, while others were orphans, and handicapped children.
There were four (4) other Section 416(b) USDA/IPHD agreements in Moldova. Under the Fiscal Year 1995 agreement, IPHD monetized 500 tons of powdered milk and used the proceeds to purchase local foods and baby formula, to benefit over 6,000 people (3,000 in 13 regional hospitals), and for a health and nutrition education program targeted on children under age 5. Monetization funds also allowed IPHD to purchase medicines and medical equipment, at a time of a shortage of drugs, for support of nurseries. And lastly, funds were provided to support Caritas soup kitchens. This was an important program as it helped the country at a crucial time when there were many shortages and lack of public funds.
In 2000, IPHD signed two Section 416(b) food aid agreements with USDA. These agreements were carried out between 2001 and 2004. One involved 9,918 metric tons of USDA food, and the other 10,000 metric tons of food. These two programs benefitted 1,050,631 people, many of whom were children, others were the elderly(pensioners who lived on $7.00 to $ 20.00 per month). Bread flour for distribution was made into pasta for distribution to 444,516 children in elementary (primary) schools, 98,892 children in nurseries, and over 35,000 children in other institutions such as orphanages and hospitals. Another 3,000 people, the very poor, were helped through meals served at Caritas soup kitchens. Some of the food commodities were monetized to raise funds to support the training of 200 nurses in Western health care practices and medicine, and to improve and repair sanitation facilities in health care centers. The funded activities also included an apiculture project that trained 92 youths in beekeeping and established commercial hives for students returning to their villages. In addition, 550 copies of a book on Moldovan ecology were printed for schools and libraries, the first book of its kind on the country’s fragil ecology.
Under the second 2000 agreement, IPHD distributed USDA food commodities to 282,907 elderly, mainly pasta made from bread flour, along with rice, cornmeal, vegetable oil. Almost 40,000 children, 10,835 who were in boarding schools, and 27,000 in primary schools also received food products.. Others were helped in nurseries, hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions. Monetization funds were used to fund an agro-environmental program, an environmental health program, for purchases of baby formula, scarce at the time in Moldova, and for an irrigation system for 60 farmers in Lozova.
The last Section 416(b) agreement was in 2002 for 12,749 metric tons of food, of which 6,906 metric tons were monetized. Commodities were distributed to 196,950 children and pensioners, and about 35,000 needy Moldovans in soup kitchens. Under this program, IPHD converted bread flour into 4,890 tons of pasta for distribution, which provided employment to over 100 workers at a local pasta factory. Monetization funds were used to support six Caritas soup kitchens, provide fuel for 200 kindergartens and primary schools, and grants to farmers in southern and central regions of the country to rehabilitate their farms.
In 2002, IPHD signed an agreement with USDA for a Section 416(b) program in Guinea-Bissau. Foods were distributed to 11,629 children, needy mothers and the infirm. It included food distribution to the Cumrira TB/Leper Hospital. In addition, 306 small farmers received grants and two village wells were developed to benefit 9,500 people.
In 2002, IPHD signed an agreement with USDA for a Section 416(b) program in Tanzania. The program could not be carried out as planned as most of the commodities arrived on the ship damaged and infected and could not be recuperated by fumigation.
IPHD had two Section 416(b) agreements in the Congo Republic: one in 2000 and the other in 2001. The FY 2000 agreement was the first activity IPHD carried out in the Congo. It was a 5,000 metric ton program of rice and vegetable oil, all of which was monetized. The funds supported an array of projects. An agricultural micro-credit fund was created to help 500 farmers, which included training them in better farming practices. In collaboration with FAO of the UN, IPHD assessed the impact of the cassava blight and gave farmers blight resistant plants. A Food for Work program completed 10 projects, including road and bridge repair, also repairs to school buildings and health centers. Through IPHD’s ex-militia training program 332 ex-combatants were trained in vocational skills and returned to private life. Training took place mainly in Caritas and Salesian training centers. Programs included welding, carpentry/woodworking, metal working, auto repair, and brick or block laying. A micro-credit program for small businesses provided 1,200 loans and employed about 5,000 people. These included small businesses such as food production, furniture making, opening or expanding restaurants, sale of clothing, and many other similar businesses. One of the successful loans was to a Congolese who opened a pizza restaurant, and then over the years, with additional IPHD help, opened two other pizza restaurants.
A women’s micro-credit program provided 550 loans to women’s groups for food production, sewing and tailoring, shops to sell cloth and clothes, animal and poultry raising, baking and other income-generating activities. A separate youth training project trained over 600 young men and women in skills of carpentry, welding, sewing and tailoring, computer use, electrical repair, and other skills.
The second Section 416(b) food aid program, FY 2001, was also a monetization program, and with the sale of USDA-donated commodities, IPHD carried out six (6) projects, all of which continued the work of the first agreement. Eighteen food-for-work projects were completed, with a value of $1.92 million, with over 2,000 workers. These included repair of 20 kms of road in Kibina, repair of 90 kms of road in Pool, bridge repairs, school repairs and construction, cleaning of canals, and other activities. Many of the projects were focused on war-torn Pool Province. The youth training project trained another 304 boys and girls in vocational skills. The agricultural program reached 336 farmers with small loans and grants, mainly in Niari and Bouenza areas. Funds were used to produce mainly cassava, green beans, corn, peanuts, and bananas. The ex-militia training project was continued and another 200 ex-combatants trained in vocational skills through four local training centers.
The women’s micro-credit program made 389 additional loans, mainly in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire areas. There were 52 loans for clothes shops, 15 loans for production of clothes, 269 loans for food production and shops, 38 for small eating establishments, and 15 for simple sewing. Some 104 women sold salted and smoked fish from the Congo rivers (included above in food production and shops).
Some 410 small business loans were made benefiting about 3,000 employees. These included 22 small producers of animal feed, 181 producers of foods, including fruit juices, 49 clothes shops, 12 furniture makers, 115 loans for expanding restaurants, electrical repair shops and other on-going businesses, and 30 loans for miscellaneous business activities such as a computer training school for girls and soap-making. A good example of a food shop is the “Frigo Mon Berger” which is a butcher shop and sells meat, poultry and fish. Another is an ice cream maker in Dolosie.
An evaluation of the impact of the micro-credit programs showed income generation of 41 to 180 percent above previous income. Sales of ready-made clothing generated 180 percent above prior income (on the average), followed by shops selling salted and smoked fish at 135 percent, and shops manufacturing clothing along with food production businesses at 120 percent. The lowest income-generations were for sales of cassava and cassava flour (41%) and sale of kerosene (49%). Restaurant services averaged 114 percent above prior incomes.
IPHD received two (2) Section 416(b) agreements for the Republic of Guinea, one in Fiscal Year 2000, and the other in Fiscal Year 2002. Between 2000 and 2002, IPHD used monetization proceeds from selling 3,200 metric tons of bread flour to carry out four (4) projects. Through a women’s credit program, 250 women received loans for income-generating projects to support their families. Loans were made for establishing a clothing production center, textile painting center, vegetable farming and sales, soap production, a poultry farm, small restaurants, pig farms, fish stalls, general stores, and other activities. Loan repayments reached 98 percent. A farmer credit program benefited 2,916 farmers instead of the 1,500 farmers planned to receive loans. Loans ranged from $26 to $263 per farmer. Net gain from small loans was $42.11. The largest income gains were in Kinieran and Gouecke regions. The lowest was in Ouros. Credit was given to farmers for better seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, clearing land, and for improving water supply. Most farmers planted rice, corn, and millet. Most increased income was used to further improve crop production, although 20 percent used the extra money earned to improve their homes – mainly roofs and doors. Along with the extension of credit, all 2,916 farmers attended workshops on management of credit funds, working in groups, improved marketing of their produce, avoiding large losses at harvest time, and similar topics.
In 2001, IPHD began its initial effort to set up food banks to help farmers market their produce. Seven (7) food banks were developed with a membership of 5,710 farmers. In the first year, the banks marketed over 545 tons of rice and over 90 tons of corn, far beyond IPHD’s expectations.
Under the 2002 agreement, IPHD contained its farmer credit and women’s credit programs, as well as its efforts to strengthen the food banks it had developed. A total of 4,777 new loans were made to farmers, bringing the total to 7,693 loans. Another 3,079 farmers received loans out of repayments made from the original loan fund. For both agreements, 10,722 farmers benefited from farmer credits. This program caught the attention of the Guinean Ministry of Agriculture which commended IPHD for its fine work and asked it to expand the program. In addition, nine (9) village water wells were drilled and completed, benefitting about 10,000 Guineans. IPHD also carried out an HIV/AIDS prevention program and a village water development project. The HIV/AIDS project completed 54 workshops for 5,136 people, developed posters, pamphlets and audio-visual materials. It trained 34 community leaders, along with hundreds of health personnel. It targeted 51 health centers, the Motherhood Clinic in St. Gabriel Matoto, the regional hospitals in Boke, and Donko Hospital.