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 75 Years of Loving Our Neighbour
 By Guy Smagghe, PWS&D Director
In 2022, the church marks 75 years since the mission of PWS&D began. In the aftermath of World War II, with Europe devastated, Canadian Pres- byterians felt called to provide much needed relief. From this start, relief be- came the focus for the first half of our history until there was a push to look at breaking cycles of poverty and con- tribute to sustainable development.
This year PWS&D will commemo- rate our history in various ways, and we invite you to look back with us at how we have put Christ’s words into action, working with you to love our neighbours around the world, espe- cially those who can use a hand up.
Throughout our history, food has been front and centre in our work, but especially after PWS&D joined the Canadian Foodgrains Bank in 1993. Early in our membership, we were concerned about the famine in North Korea and began sending assis- tance in collaboration with the United Church and the Mennonite Central Committee. Soon after, the Canadian government authorized humanitarian assistance to North Korea and, for 10 years, PWS&D led food shipments averaging $5 million per year to al- leviate hunger in that country.
Since then, we have provided, and
continue to provide, food assistance wherever it is deemed to be an ap- propriate response. It is always in a context where people have lost their normal sources of food due to conflict and displacement, drought, floods, crop failures or other disasters. Our goal is to help populations get through a period of food scarcity without hav- ing to sell their assets (such as farm- ing tools) in order to feed themselves. Food assistance is always meant to be a short-term bridge to a more sus- tainable solution.
Ultimately, we want people to have access to food in sufficient quantity and diversity to be able to lead healthy lives. We also aim to improve the sus- tainability of the sources of food.
As such, we work with partners to promote conservation agriculture techniques that help to increase soil productivity using mostly locally available resources. Farmers learn how to make and use compost, to diversify crops and intermix them, to leave crop residue on the soil, and to not till the soil. As a result, the soil retains moisture for longer, is more resistant to erosion and is more resil- ient to the increasing unpredictability of rains.
I visited farmers in northern Mala- wi, often women farmers, who, after being trained, adopted conservation
agriculture practices and saw their harvests multiply three or four times. This had a significant impact on their families’ nutrition levels and even on their families’ capacity to send their children to school, as surplus pro- duce became a source of income. What I found most impactful was to meet other women who had taken up conservation agriculture practices after witnessing the success of their neighbours—we call that “spontane- ous adoption,” and it is a great gauge of the success of a project.
Malawi actually provides an inter- esting case to look at how we can help farmers get back on their feet after disasters. In 2019, Cyclone Idai hit southern Africa, including Malawi, and flooded homes and fields, wash- ing away crops that were about to be harvested.
Thanks to our collaborations with Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the Humanitarian Coalition, we were able to provide food assistance to fami- lies to get through the months they needed to cover to get a new harvest. Farmers would typically save part of their harvest as seeds for the next season, but in this case, all of it was washed away. Therefore, the project also provided seeds to farmers so that they could plant and harvest, at which point food assistance was no
For 10 years, large-scale food shipments were sent to North Korea to alleviate hunger.
longer necessary.
We all need food in sufficient quan-
tity and quality. Food sustains us as we live out our lives and share God’s love with others. We are blessed to be able to share the abundance pro- vided to us here in Canada so that people who face scarcity elsewhere
are cared for and can live their lives in God’s light. PWS&D’s mission has always been possible because of Presbyterians from across the coun- try—through prayers and financial gifts. In the name of all those who have been touched by your generos- ity over the years, thank you.
   Where Need Arises, We Respond
Farmers in Malawi received seeds to plant after their crops were washed away by Cyclone Idai in 2019. PHOTO CREDIT: CANADIAN FOODGRAINS BANK
An earthquake, followed by Tropical Storm Grace, in 2021 have left many communities in Haiti in need of vital supplies. PWS&D is responding through ACT Alliance. PHOTO CREDIT: THOMAS NOREILLE/ACT ALLIANCE
 By Emma Clarke, PWS&D Communications
Do you ever wonder how PWS&D is engaged in helping people in a particular country? Read on to see the ways PWS&D is mobilizing do- nations, as well as support from ecumenical partnerships and the Government of Canada, for several recently approved responses.
In Haiti, PWS&D is responding to continued climate emergencies through the ACT Alliance. The newly approved response is providing ac- cess to water, sanitation and hygiene services for entire communities whose water supplies have been con-
taminated due to last year’s earth- quake. The program is also raising awareness about healthy behaviours like handwashing and proper food storage and is supporting women in 2,000 families who need menstrual hygiene supplies.
In December 2021, PWS&D began providing funds in response to the food insecurity that many families in Venezuela are facing as a result of ongoing social and political crises. These funds, which are matched through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, are supporting 4,956 individu- als with six monthly food baskets full of rice, corn flour, black beans, kid- ney beans, tuna, wheat flour, pasta,
oats, oil, sugar and salt.
Over the past year, Sudan has ex- perienced a 44% increase in severe hunger. Sadly, 1.63 million people need humanitarian assistance in the face of the country’s weakening infra- structure. PWS&D is responding with matching funds through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to provide 1,834 households with vouchers to shop at local markets. Regular distributions throughout the year help families with- stand the country’s lean season with- out having to sell household goods or livestock in order to buy food.
South Sudan
In South Sudan, conflict and climate
violence have limited access to food, placing more than half of the popu- lation in severe need. PWS&D is re- sponding through MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Canada to sup- port 800 food insecure households. Some of the country’s most vulner- able people—those who have been internally displaced, those returning
after fleeing and those living in host communities—will be provided with sorghum, beans, cooking oil, salt and cash to pay for milling costs. The Government of Canada is providing a 4:1 match for this vital response through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
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