Samuel C. Mwangi, a policy analyst with the Minister of Agriculture in Kenya, spent two weeks observing AARP Oklahoma’s work on hunger and senior nutrition issues as part of the Food Security Fellows Exchange Program facilitated by Oklahoma State University.
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During his time working with AARP, Mwangi met with Oklahoma Agriculture Commissioner Jim Reese, attended an interim study of the Oklahoma Legislature and an inter-generational study on policy that AARP co-sponsored with Tulsa Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr.
In addition to policy briefings by the Oklahoma State Staff, including the association’s efforts to restore funding to senior nutrition funding programs during the 2010 state legislative session, Mwangi spent time researching Indian food distribution programs in Oklahoma as part of AARP’s launch of a new single-point of entry website for Indian Elder services while assisting at the 2011 AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors where he met National Board Member Jack Penn, Executive Vice President Hop Backus, Regional Vice President Nancy Stockbridge and Regional Volunteer Director Jim Clemmons.
Fourteen Food Security Fellows from Kenya and Uganda were guests at the 2011 AARP Indian Elder Honors event.
Ben Johnson, AARP’s lead volunteer on hunger issues and a member of the Oklahoma Food Security Committee, met with Mwangi and explained our work on Drive to End Hunger along with findings from the Food Security Committee.
Additional briefings were held on the SNAP program by AARP Legislative Representative Larry White and Oklahoma Department of Human Services SNAP Coordinator Cathy Wright. He also toured the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and assisted AARP in its upcoming sponsorship of an Agency Capacity Building Conference at the food bank.
“In my stay I was able to learn the virtue of giving for charity, volunteering and recognition of people who have done well in community service,” Mwangi said. “In addition I have gained a lot of insight on how to address food security issues especially with the seniors. The aspect of food banking was very inspiring to me and it is an issue which I will urge Kenyans to embrace. I was able to learn about the policies that guide your advocacy on issues that touch on the welfare of the seniors.”