|Volume 11, No. 2
Message from the Executive Director
|IOCC is helping communities find sustainable solutions for growing, cultivating, and marketing their own food. Above, IOCC Board Chairman Alex Machaskee (second from right) and Executive Director Constantine M. Triantafilou (right) visit IOCC Georgia agricultural projects. Photo credit: IOCC Georgia|
There is much talk these days about the Global Food Crisis and the need for developing countries to improve their ability to feed their own people. The agricultural sector is increasingly affected by disasters, as when the cyclone in Myanmar devastated the country’s rice crop, and the U.S. Midwest floods drove up corn and soybean prices. It is even part of our emergency response, as when IOCC provided supplies of animal feed to farmers devastated by last year’s Greek wildfires.
Most of the developing world is agriculturally based. The most lasting way to improve people’s lives is to help communities find sustainable solutions for growing, cultivating, and marketing their own food. Agricultural development has been part of IOCC’s portfolio since we helped farmers recover from Bosnia’s civil war by rehabilitating their farms. We not only provided the raw materials – greenhouses, machinery, livestock, seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides – we helped communities take full ownership with training and by setting up a revolving loan fund.
The cover story for this issue of News & Needs features our latest agricultural development program in the nation of Georgia. IOCC has developed a Beef Demonstration Farm that will help Georgian farmers, from pasturing their cattle to bringing them to market. Our new initiative in Kosovo also involves agricultural development and income-generating projects at its core. For nations still locked in conflict, such as Iraq, as much as we want to talk about “development” and “training,” the most we can do now is help families in their daily struggle to survive.
You will read about our brave Iraqi IOCC staff who negotiate checkpoints and a poor security situation to bring emergency supplies to struggling families. Finally, two stories show the power of the Church and philanthropists to make a difference. In Georgia, a new education project with the Georgian Orthodox Church to help young people prevent drug abuse and HIV/AIDs. In northern Greece, NBA star Peja Stojakovic helps IOCC deliver more than $200,000 worth of wheelchairs and other mobility devices to disabled individuals.
As always, we thank you for your trust and confidence as we seek to help others to help themselves.
Yours In Christ,
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director & CEO