Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has been engaged in the DPRK since the mid-1990s. During the early years MCC worked through the Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB) in partnership with other organizations to support the Food Aid Liaison Unit (FALU). MCC also worked together with other non-resident NGOs such as Caritas International, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and Foods Resource Bank/Church of the Brethren Global Foods Crisis Fund to support sustainable agriculture and provide humanitarian assistance. Between 1995 and 2006, approximately $15 million in food and other material resources was sent to the DPRK by MCC.
Since 2006 and the dissolving of FALU, MCC has worked in the DPRK through its MCC NE Asia office. MCC continues to send food and material resources to orphanages. This was initially done in partnership with First Steps, a Canadian NGO that works to improve the nutritional status of children in the DPRK, and eventually in direct relationship with the orphanages. The orphanages, including baby homes, kindergarten orphanages, primary boarding schools, and secondary boarding schools, are located in and near Nampo, Pyongsong, Sariwon, and Wonsan.
In partnership with First Steps, soymilk production equipment has been provided to some orphanages to enable them to cover more of their own nutritional needs, as well as to soymilk production facilities, enabling these factories to increase production and serve more children in their respective geographical areas.
MCC also sends food and material resources to tuberculosis, hepatitis, and pediatric hospitals and rest homes in North and South Hwanghae Provinces through its partnership with Christian Friends of Korea. Greenhouses have been provided to enable these facilities to raise more of their own food.
From early 2009 through December of 2012, MCC has partnered with the DPRK’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) on a four-year food security project. Given the success of conservation agriculture in other climatically-similar districts around the world, including Asia and Canada, this project aims to build longer-term food security at three cooperative farms and surrounding areas by increasing the scale of conservation agriculture practiced on each farm.
MCC has provided technical support, training, farm equipment and inputs, and study tours for this project. The three supported cooperative farms are located in North and South Hwanghae Provinces. It is expected that MCC will continue its partnership with the MOA in conservation agriculture through the launch of a new project.
In the interest of further engagement, MCC has also hosted agricultural and other delegations from the DPRK in both the U.S. and Canada, most recently a delegation to Canada in the spring of 2011. MCC seeks to share its resources in the name of Christ with those in need, placing emphasis on people-to-people relationships.