Matthew Nims, Sammies 2018 finalist and acting director of the Office of Food for Peace at USAID, discusses the management challenges that his team faced standing up the program, and how they’ve brought food stability to 53 war-torn nations.
The United States Agency for International Development is known for its wide-ranging programs, each dedicated to assisting developing nations grow their economies. One of the newest programs, Food for Peace, has the mission to provide U.S. grown and manufactured food to those in war-torn countries. Matthew Nims, acting director of the Office of Food for Peace, faced all sorts of challenges standing up the program. For his work making sure that sustenance made it to people in need, Nims is nominated for a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal. “I think definitely government budgeting is always a challenge in everything that we do. We engender a lot of support from both the White House as well as Congress. This past year showed us how we are able to leverage that altogether,” said Nims. “When we bring food into these unstable areas, we are bringing an element of stability. That makes the people there, the most vulnerable elements, less susceptible to extremist elements. What we saw is that Congress recognized this and gave us the flexibility we needed to use the funds in a way to get the food there on time and get the program situated well.”