When you think of Bill Gates you likely think of innovation and if you have heard of the foundation he started with his wife, Melinda, you may conjure up an image of a very generous philanthropist. Unfortunately, the Gates Foundation is sinking massive amounts of funding into organizations that too often do more harm than good. For example, promoting GE crops in Africa with Monsanto and promoting dairy consumption in Africa with Heifer International. Both organizations have received grants in excess of $40 million.
This quote taken from their website is telling us The Gates Foundation is accepting, not challenging a harmful status quo in Africa: “The demand for dairy products in developing countries is projected to double by 2020.” However, demand is created not fixed. This projection is not something we should be encouraging.
We are lucky enough to have great African food here in Washington, D.C. A cursory glance at these menus could inform any passerby that the African diet is not heavily saturated with dairy. In fact, lactose intolerance is a problem for many Africans and African-Americans. Fueling their dairy industries not only opens up the possibility for the continuation of suffering dairy cows go through when their young are taken from them soon after birth, but encourages the consumption of a product that is unhealthy.
We at A Well-Fed World encourage funding and development agencies to not assume the need for (or superiority of ) animal-reliant hunger solutions, especially in countries whose native cultural cuisine is mostly plant-based. As America is a country whose behavior is widely emulated, we should improve the example we set instead of transferring our bad habits to countries who frankly don’t need anymore troubles on their plates.