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 every day around him. Along with his wife Ann, they committed their future to joining the fight against hunger in Africa.
Today, JAM’s development as an aid organisation closely mirrors the strong development progress in the countries in which we work. From initially only providing lifesaving nutritional relief in one country, JAM has progressed to providing additional specialised programmes 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 in which we work.
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 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.
Peter was stranded at a relief centre for 10 days and witnessed despair and misery at a place meant to represent hope. Here he witnessed up to 30 people dying of starvation everyday, leaving thousands orphaned. Peter and his wife Ann resolved to do something to alleviate the situation and JAM was born as a nutritional feeding relief focused organisation. JAM’s first shipment from South Africa was 80 tons of supplies 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 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 the Democratic Republic of Congo. 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 building 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, and we were able to feed only 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 South Sudan). We also began drilling water wells in South Africa.
2002: JAM started an eight-year programme drilling water wells in South Sudan. In that year, when the Angolan war ended, JAM transitioned 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 the World Food Programme in Mozambique and Angola. This led to the expansion of our programmes 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 Grant through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand school feeding programmes in Mozambique. School feeding numbers dramatically increased from 2006 to 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 throughout 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) Programme. Implementation of the programmes begins in 2009.
2009: The MGD Grant, this time around for programmes 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 programmes were expanded into all parts of Jonglei and Warrap State, South Sudan. JAM began implementing four programmes 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 one million beneficiaries, in fact, the organisation surpassed this target reaching 1.1 million beneficiaries.
2013: JAM expands its programmes 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.