In 2018, more than 800 million people were facing chronic hunger and an estimated 76 million people in 45 countries required emergency food assistance. Although these numbers are stark, the humanitarian community continues to respond quickly and effectively to prevent countless malnutrition-related deaths. Great strides have been made in recent years to tailor food assistance, through in-kind food aid, cash, vouchers or local/regional purchase, to address nutrition concerns so that vulnerable populations become more resilient to future shocks.
Ensuring that the U.S. Government has the proper tools and resources to act decisively in a cost-effective manner through humanitarian actions around the globe is a top priority. Since 2009, Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy has implemented a comprehensive Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR). Involving close engagement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s food research labs, the FAQR project has guided U.S. Government policies and programming on which foods to deliver to address different forms of malnutrition and how best to deliver foods to achieve lasting impact. Former USAID administrator Rajiv Shah called this the most significant series of changes to the U.S. food aid agenda since the 1960s.
In FAQR’s current phase of work, the project focuses on building and translating evidence from the field into institutionalized processes and actionable policies, and establishing tools, data-gathering and evidence-sharing platforms to support the U.S. Government’s humanitarian agenda. FAQR continues to push the boundaries of knowledge and practice to help U.S. food aid products and programming meet the challenges of delivering food aid most efficiently, successfully and cost-effectively in the face of growing need for timely and coordinated food assistance.