Grant Will Help U.S. Universities in Areas of Hunger, Food Security, and Poverty Alleviation
By Montague Demment, APLU Vice President for International Programs
April 16, 2014—APLU received a new five-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) advisor role to USAID. BIFAD is a presidentially appointed board that is established under Title XII of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. The main theme of Title XII is to engage U.S. universities to help solve the problems of hunger, food security, and poverty. Historically, most Title XII universities were land-grant institutions, and APLU’s members are critical to this effort. The International Programs Office at APLU will be implementing this award that will make significant progress in helping Title XII universities contribute to USAID’s mission.
A cornerstone of USAID’s overall mission is to foster sustainable development in developing countries through advancing specific development goals and U.S. foreign policy objectives. USAID has relied in part on grants and cooperative agreements with U.S. universities to assist and support its strategic objectives. Title XII and BIFAD’s charter highlight significant roles for BIFAD to facilitate university activities in achieving USAID’s goals, especially related to post-program award engagement of universities and investigating and resolving issues concerning implementation of Title XII as requested by universities.
APLU has a comparative advantage to other organizations when working with the Title XII universities. The Title XII university community has been defined in the legislation as universities and colleges “…which (1) have demonstrable capacity in teaching, research, and extension activities in the agricultural sciences; and (2) can contribute effectively to the attainment of the objective of this title.” Historically, these universities were land-grant universities and APLU members. In recent years, USAID and BIFAD have looked to a broader pool of institutions that fit the spirit of these capacities and who can make effective contributions to USAID programs. APLU has played a role in this expansion and will continue this role as described in the technical application.
The benefits of this grant to APLU institutions include facilitated access to notifications of USAID funding opportunities and decision makers. Further, BIFAD ia able to communicate concerns of Title XII universities back to USAID. This grant also enables this communications pathway from Title XII universities to USAID leaders and policy makers. APLU will provide greater access to BIFAD public meetings through this grant by using off-site participation tools, such as web streaming and questions via Twitter.