Just a Blink of an Eye

By , President & CEO, VEGA

President Obama, at the White House Forum on Global Development on July 20, commented that “We’re here on this Earth just a blink of an eye, each of us. We take the world that’s been given to us and we try to make it just a little bit better, and then somebody else picks it up and they do their part.” The president continued, “and over time, things just get a little bit better and it adds up.”

With these words, President Obama put into a longer term trajectory his administration’s successes in recent months, working with bipartisan support in Congress to pass into law the Global Food Security Act, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act and the Electrify Africa Act.

VEGA’s alliance of 25 NGOs joined a wide array of development organizations and professionals to support these legislative initiatives, working often in collaboration with broad coalitions like InterAction and the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. VEGA’s members’ “Blink of an Eye” includes over five decades of experience working in more than 140 countries around the world. Our unique contribution involves integrating highly skilled volunteers with a desire to “try to make [the world] just a little bit better…”

VEGA’s member NGOs have been supporting global food security and powering African agriculture through a number of USAID-funded projects over the course of the Obama administration. For example, Under VEGA’s Powering African Agriculture (2012 – 2015), Land O’Lakes International and Winrock supported Kenya’s Geothermal Development Company (GDC) in developing a number of pilot efforts to improve agriculture and living standards of local communities by tapping renewable and clean geothermal resources.  Read more here.

President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Summit on Global Development at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Barack Obama speaks at the White House Summit on Global Development at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Another example is the Feed the Future Egypt Food Security and Agribusiness Support project, implemented by VEGA Lead Implementing partner CNFA, which aims to dramatically increase incomes and improve food security for at least 14,000 Upper Egyptian smallholder farmers. By applying an agricultural value chain approach, this project will improve horticulture productivity, access to markets, value-adding activities, and commercial linkages with input and service suppliers. Inclusive growth in the agricultural sector will increase incomes to smallholder farmers, leading to improved health and educational opportunities for women and youth as well as higher household purchasing power. The program will deploy more than 20 U.S. volunteers to provide technical assistance and training needs in horticulture and agribusiness. Read more here.

Many more examples could be cited to underscore VEGA members’ experience in addressing food insecurity and access to electricity, examples which certainly support President Obama’s assertion that “…over time, things just get a little bit better and it adds up.”

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