Monday, October 25, 2010

Starved for Attention: A Double Standard

A collaboration between Doctors Without Borders and the VII photo agency recently produced two documentary segments in a series titled Starved for Attention: "The U.S. Standard" and "A Double Standard." 

The first segment praises the U.S. WIC program for women, infants, and children.  The second segment criticizes the corn/soy blend long used in U.S. food aid packages. 

For some additional background on efforts to reformulate international food aid, the Doctors Without Borders site includes related 2008 conference materials, including presentations and discussion by my Friedman School colleagues Patrick Webb and Dan Maxwell. 

Taken together, the thesis of the paired documentary segments may be that U.S. and European food aid programs should provide high quality nutrition supplementation throughout the world, rather than treating their own children better.  The accompanying petition says, "This double standard must stop."

That fairly broad policy prescription goes well with the film's indictment of the world's injustice toward children who have the misfortune to be poor.  For many other purposes, I prefer policy advocacy that goes beyond changes in the nutrition formulations used by U.S. and European food aid programs.  I especially like advocacy for food aid reforms that are more strongly nested in a vision for economic development.  Good starting places for reading on those topics are the websites of IFPRI and Oxfam.


uma said...

Dear sir,
I find your blog interesting. In fact, I also did my PhD thesis on US food aid and food assistance programs. This is one aspect I'd also brought out in my thesis.

Anonymous said...

I won't donate because of their liberal message on the radio commercials. Ok ask for help , but don't use guilt to to do it. Also the word is "what" not wht. You have to use a fake valley girl who swallows her world. F off ill donate to others than travel for attention