Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

From Moscow to Omsk, US Charity Aids Orphans Teh United States Is Reaching out to Help Some Russians Weather the Tough Economic Times. Promising Projects Range from a Charity That Feeds 10,000 Orphans to a Joint-Venture Institute That Will Employ 20 Scientists

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

From Moscow to Omsk, US Charity Aids Orphans Teh United States Is Reaching out to Help Some Russians Weather the Tough Economic Times. Promising Projects Range from a Charity That Feeds 10,000 Orphans to a Joint-Venture Institute That Will Employ 20 Scientists

Article excerpt

AMID all the political upheaval and economic chaos in the former Soviet Union, one American aid project is overcoming bureaucratic barriers to make a difference to those who have no one to depend on.

Corporations to End World Hunger (CEWH), a Washington, D.C.-based foundation, is providing supplies this year that will feed up to 100,000 orphans in five former Soviet republics - Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, and Armenia.

While many Western charities are now active in the former Soviet Union, CEWH has gained notice for the speed with which it went from the planning stage to full-scale operations under difficult conditions in the Commonwealth of Independent States. As Russia and other former Soviet states try to shake Communist-era constraints, many foreign ventures encounter frustration and lengthy delays dealing with bloated and inefficient bureaucracies.

"We've been very fortunate, because we've had a relatively bump-free road," says foundation president Gilbert Robinson, who served as an ambassador-at-large under the Reagan administration. "One of the keys is not to let yourself get beaten down by the system here," he said during a recent visit to Moscow. "You have to have good partners, a good distribution network, and a lot of determination." Good partners

In CEWH's case, the Russian Ministry of Education proved to be the key partner in negotiating the bureaucratic labyrinth. "Working with them, we were able to find a method that works," Mr. Robinson says.

The foundation started operation in 1991, working with top American businesses to help alleviate world hunger. During the winter of early 1992, reports about possible food shortages in the former Soviet Union prompted Robinson to consider projects here.

On Jan. 13, 1993, CEWH received a $3 million grant from the US Agriculture Department to purchase soybean products, which comprise the bulk of the foundation's food aid to former Soviet republics. It also received help from the US State Department to transport the aid. …

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