JAM has been at the forefront of the war against hunger since 1984, when founder, Peter Pretorius, was left stranded in Pambarra, Mozambique. There he witnessed the horrific consequences of starvation with children dying everyday around him. Together with his wife Ann, they resolved to commit their futures to contributing towards the eradication of hunger in Africa.
Today, JAM’s development as an aid organization closely mirrors the strong development progress in the countries we work in: Angola, South Sudan, and Mozambique. From initially only providing lifesaving nutritional relief in one country, JAM has progressed to providing additional specialized programs to match the needs of these developing nations.
Here’s a look at some of the most significant JAM milestones over the past three decades across the three African countries we work in:
The beginning of the journey
Following the Mozambican Government's plea to the international community for urgent humanitarian relief to help combat a famine that had placed nearly four million people at risk of starvation. Peter Pretorius, a South African businessman, was one the first people to respond to this call. He visited Pambarra Village near Vilanculos, Inhambane Province to see how he could contribute to the emergency.
After his pilot didn’t return to pick him up in Pambarra, Peter was stranded at the relief center for 10 days. He was heartbroken to witness the scenes of despair and misery at a place meant to represent hope. Here he witnessed up to 30 people dying of starvation everyday, leaving thousands of children orphaned. Peter, together with his wife, Ann, resolved to do something to alleviate the situation and hence JAM was born as a nutritional feeding relief focused organization. JAM’s first shipment from South Africa was 80 tons of foodstuffs to Pambarra.
Finding our feet
1985: Soup kitchens were established in the towns of Maputo, Beira, and Pambarra in Mozambique where JAM fed 9 500 children each week.
November 1985: Peter Pretorius signed a contract with Joana Manque, who was the Director of Social Action Ministry of Mozambique, to build an orphanage that would accommodate 300 orphans in Pambarra, Inhambane Province, Mozambique.
1986: The construction of the orphanage got underway, a process that was led by Peter's father.
July 1987: Children began moving into their new homes at the orphanage. The orphanage consisted of 30 homes that housed 10 children each.
December 1987: Mozambican President, Joaquin Chissano, visited the orphanage with ambassadors from the US, UK, and East Germany. This visit greatly enhanced JAM's profile in Mozambique and abroad.
Expanding our footprint
1991: JAM was invited by the Angolan Government to assess the need for providing nutritional feeding to thousands of hungry Angolan children.
1992: JAM began doing Nutritional Feeding at Lobito, Benguela Province in Angola. During the first year that JAM is in Angola, 12 000 children are fed daily.
1993: JAM was able to transition from village feeding to doing school based feeding in Mozambique.
Building our capacity through adversity
1994: Following the Rwandan Genocide, Peter travelled to Rwanda and to Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo: DRC). In the DRC, he met Fred Nkunda at refugee camp where Fred was caring for hundreds of orphans. Later on, land was donated by the Rwandan Government and plans were made to build an orphanage.
1996: The construction of the orphanage in Rwanda began. Unfortunately Fred passed away before the orphanage was completed.
1997: The building of JAM’s food factory in Lobito was completed, which produced 1 891 tons of food that year alone, feeding a total of 55 000 children.
1998: The escalation of the war in Angola made it a difficult year for JAM, as we only managed to feed 38 000 children.
The beginning of a new era
2000: After the setbacks in Angola during 1998, JAM's feeding numbers increased annually, from 79 500 children were fed in 1999 to 98 000 in 2000.
2001: JAM began operations in Boma, Jonglei State in Sudan (now known as South Sudan). We also began drilling water wells in South Africa.
2002: JAM commenced an eight-year program drilling water wells in South Sudan. In that same year, when the Angolan war ended, JAM was able to make the transition from village feeding to school feeding at 114 schools and 54 malnutrition centres, which resulted in 111 613 children being fed in Angola. In the meantime, in Beira, Sofala Province in Mozambique, the construction of a new food factory began.
2003: JAM continues to grow and partnered with the World Food Program (WFP) in Mozambique and Angola. This led to the expansion of our programs into the Manica and Gaza Provinces in Mozambique. JAM was also able to expand into the Cubal and Ganda Districts of Benguela Province in Angola.
Leading implementation, leading change
2006: JAM moved from working in Lobito town to working in Benguela town, still in Benguela Province, Angola. A new JAM operating base was built after land was donated by the Local Government.
2007: JAM secured the McGovern-Dole (MGD) Grant through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand school feeding programs in Mozambique. School feeding numbers dramatically increased from 110 000 in 2006, to 320 000 children in 2007.
2008: The Complete Community Development Approach (CCDA), a holistic approach to tackling development issues, was adopted. In this way, JAM made the transition to being a development agency and the new model was adopted througout JAM. The vision of Helping Africa Help Itself comes to life.
2008/9: In 2008, JAM partnered with the WFP in South Sudan to distribute food to 39 additional schools under the Food For Education (FFE) Program. Implementation of the program begins in 2009.
2009: The MGD Grant, this time around for programs in Angola, was signed with the USDA.
2010: JAM extended its MGD Grant in Mozambique for an additional three years.
2011: JAM became the WFP’s second largest implementing partner in South Sudan and programs were expanded into all parts of Jonglei and Warrap State, South Sudan. JAM began implementing four programs with WFP: Food For Education (FFE), Food For Assets (FFA), General Food Distribution (GFD) and Blanket Supplementary Feeding( BSF).
2012: After working hard to assist those in desperate need, JAM managed to reach its historical target of feeding 1 Million beneficaries, in fact, the organization surpassed this target reaching 1.1 million beneficaries.
2013: JAM expands its programs into Lakes State, South Sudan. A training farm in Pambarra, Mozambique is established and begins training local farmers, selling food to the local market, and supplying food to surrounding schools in need.