In late June 2012, USUN Rome Chargé d’Affaires, Karen Johnson, traveled to Zimbabwe and Mozambique on a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) field visit. Together with six other country representatives to the FAO—from the EU, Indonesia, Iran, France, Morocco, and Switzerland—Ms. Johnson met with local government officials and visited FAO projects in these countries.
In Zimbabwe’s Guruve District, for example, they visited an egg production farming project, where the FAO had provided each female-headed household with 20 hens and training on how to care for their new animals. “This project not only gave 350 women and their families a source of protein, but also commercial skills and a sense of empowerment,” Ms. Johnson notes. “These women learned more than farming skills, they learned how to make a livelihood for their families.”
This project and various others—including a Farmer Field School in Mozambique— illustrated the impact that contributions by the U.S. and other countries to the FAO are having in these rural areas. As an important donor to the FAO, the U.S. has a responsibility to not only help fund these projects, but also to oversee their implementation. Ms. Johnson’s experiences in Zimbabwe and Mozambique will help the U.S. further improve the efficacy and reach of U.S. and UN food assistance in the region.