MCC photo/Silas Crews

MCC supported the construction of Ecole Profesionnel de Desarmes in Desarmes, Haiti, a vocational school providing educational alternatives and agricultural training to students like Beliard Vildort, pictured here.

The true cost of "free" peanuts

Peanuts have taken center stage in Haiti after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that a surplus of peanuts from the U.S. would be shipped to Haitian school children. It has ignited a lively debate regarding appropriate food assistance and how well-intentioned donations can undermine food and livelihood projects already in place.

The proposed peanut program for Haiti is reminiscent of numerous instances when the U.S. intervened in Haiti’s agriculture to devastating effect. In the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. exported large quantities of rice into Haiti, a country previously self-sufficient in rice production. The result was a flood of cheap rice that undercut Haitian farmers, destroying their livelihoods. Read more and check out the letter MCC signed along with 60 other organizations. 


Policy updates

Criminal justice: On April 28, more co-sponsors of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act were announced, along with changes to the bill to increase its bipartisan support. The bill is the most comprehensive and realistic legislation to bring about any criminal justice reform during this Congress. Ask your senators to support the bill today.

Immigration: On April 18, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case challenging President Obama’s executive action for immigrants (DAPA/DACA). A decision is expected in June. The Interfaith Immigration Coalition (of which we are a member) recently hosted an informative webinar about the case and created a toolkit for hosting prayer vigils and other events.

South Sudan: On April 28, South Sudan formed a Transitional Government of National Unity, after Dr. Riek Machar was sworn in as First Vice-President, aiming to end more than two years of conflict. The U.S. government recently added $86 million in humanitarian assistance for South Sudan.


Upcoming events

May 22-23 is the annual Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia. Is your congregation signed up yet? Register now to receive the worship and advocacy toolkit.

June 24-25 An interfaith conference on drone warfare will be held in Lansdale, Pennsylvania at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School. MCC East Coast is a co-sponsor of the event.


Recent articles

Climate change and faith: a Christian imperative

Locking up children is not the solution (criminal justice reform)


Action alerts

Ask your Representative to support the ELN-Colombia peace talks

Support maternal and child health

Thank lawmakers for supporting human rights (Palestine and Israel)

Time is running out on criminal justice reform


Resources

Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia: Worship and advocacy toolkit available in English and Spanish

Refugee crisis: How can you respond?  Includes a short video, bulletin insert and a toolkit for hosting "refugee welcome" dinners.

A new web page with resources related to environmental issues is now available on our blog.


Staff updates

We were delighted to welcome Mennonites from around the country to the Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference in mid-April, including a group from Lee Heights Mennonite Church.

Orval and Cleta Gingerich, interim country representatives and administrative consultants for MCC Nigeria, were in Washington on April 26. They met with their members of Congress and advocated for poverty-focused development assistance, support for a maternal and child health bill, and the need for the U.S. to establish a "victims of Boko Haram support fund."

Rebecca Babirye and Elizabeth Vincent completed their internships in our office in April. We are grateful for their work and wish them all the best in their future endeavors. You can read Rebecca's reflection on her internship here.