According to a story originally published in the Huffington Post, there are 65 million forcibly displaced people in the world. This is a record high. Over 39 percent of those people live in the Middle East and Northern Africa. Many of those who are most severely hurt are farmers or come from small rural communities.
The United Nations established the International Fund for Agricultural Development in 1974. The results of this program have been amazing. The program works in depressed areas around the world to build sustainable farm systems, boost rural economies and establish financing options.
One area where the organizations has been particularly active lately is in Jordan where they have addressed the Syrian refugee crisis in a country that is in danger of even having the Dead Sea dry completely up. They have helped those communities hosting refugees to improve their farming techniques. They have especially concentrated on teaching local residents to improve the quality of the soil and to conserve water. They have taught host families to raise sheep and poultry. They have also helped establish greenhouse vegetable growing. Furthermore, they have helped women develop marketable skills that were not reliant on farming.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development has also helped refugees. They have helped them find economic opportunities in the host country. The fund has especially worked with young people to help them develop marketable skills. The program is becoming self-sustaining because the refugees can borrow loans, and then pay the loans back from their earnings. Once the loan is paid back, many continue to make payments so that others can borrow from the fund.
Jordan is not the only country where the International Fund for Agricultural Development is active. While the fund is active worldwide, it is especially active in 35 low- and middle-income countries and territories in the Middle east and North Africa. There are over 442 million people living in this area. Almost 42 percent of them live on less than $1.25 US dollars a day. In Syria alone, the fund has spent over $154.2 million on eight projects designed to encourage refugees to stay in the country, learn better skills and to be able to raise animals and vegetables to provide for their families.