Peter Pretorius, a South African, was one of the first people to respond to the Mozambican government’s plea to the international community for urgent humanitarian relief during a famine that had placed nearly four million people at risk of starvation. He visited Pambarra Village near Vilankulo, Inhambane Province, to see how he could contribute in the emergency. Peter was meant to be on the ground for a day, but he was left there for 10 days with no food, water, or other supplies. He witnessed death, despair and deep poverty in that community. Up to 30 people died of starvation every day, leaving so many children orphaned.
This experience changed Peter and he and Ann resolved to do something to alleviate the situation. JAM was born as a nutritional feeding, relief-focused organisation. JAM’s first shipment from South Africa was 80 tons of supplies to Pambarra.
1985: Soup kitchens were established in the towns of Maputo, Beira and Pambarra in Mozambique where JAM fed 9 500 children each week.
1985: In November, Peter Pretorius signed a contract with Joana Manque, who was the Director of the Social Action Ministry of Mozambique, to build an orphanage that would accommodate 300 orphans in Pambarra.
1986: Peter’s father, Isak, led the construction of the orphanage. The orphanage was 30 homes that housed 10 children in each.
1987: In July, children began moving into their new homes at the orphanage.
1987: In December, Mozambican President Joaquim Alberto Chissano visited the orphanage with ambassadors from the US, UK and East Germany. This visit greatly enhanced JAM’s profile in Mozambique and abroad.
1991: Based on our work in Mozambique, JAM was invited by the Angolan government to assess the need for providing nutritional feeding to thousands of hungry Angolan children.
1992: JAM began nutritional feeding in Lobito, Benguela Province in Angola. During the first year that JAM was in Angola, 12 000 children were fed daily in villages.
1993: In Mozambique,JAM was able to transition from village feeding to doing school-based feeding.
Following the Rwandan genocide, Peter travelled to Rwanda and to the Democratic Republic of Congo. He met Fred Nkunda at a refugee camp in DRC where he was caring for hundreds of orphans. Land was donated to JAM 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: JAM built a food production factory in Lobito, Angola, which produced 1 891 tons
of food that year to feed a total of 55 000 children.
1998: The escalation of the war in Angola made it a difficult year for JAM, and we were only able to feed 38 000 children.
2000: After the setbacks in Angola, JAM’s feeding numbers increased annually, from 79 500 children 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 operated school feeding at 114 schools and 54 malnutrition centres, which resulted in 111 613 children being fed in that country. In Mozambique’s Sofala Province, the construction of a new food factory began in Beira.
2003: JAM partnered with the World Food Programme (WFP). This led to the expansion of our programmes into the Manica and Gaza Provinces in Mozambique and into the Cubal and Ganda districts of Benguela Province in Angola.
2004: JAM starts feeding children in South African primary schools.
2006: JAM moved from Lobito to Benguela town in Angola. A new JAM operating base was built after land was donated by the local government and a food factory was built.
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: JAM adopted a Complete Community Development Approach (CCDA) — a holistic approach to tackling development issues. In this way, JAM made the transition from a relief agency to a development agency.
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 began in 2009.
2008: When the South African government started school-feeding programmes in primary schools, JAM moved its nutritional feeding programmes into Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, for children aged one to six.
2009: The McGovern-Dole Grant, this time around for programmes in Angola, was signed with the USDA.
2010: JAM extended its McGovern-Dole 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 States. 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 expanded its programmes into Lakes State, South Sudan. A training farm in Pambarra, Mozambique was established and began training local farmers who could then sell food to the local market and supply food to surrounding schools in need.
2014: JAM celebrated its 30th year of operating in the humanitarian and development sectors with notable progress at the PLC Farm in Mozambique. We initiated and implemented our FEED programme (Farm, Empower, Enhance and Distribute). FEED aims to promote local food production, procurement, processing, and consumption anchored on sustainable, economically viable local agricultural value chain systems.
Inputs from the entrepreneurial farmers to the school-feeding food production showed promise. We continued our work, bringing relief to the war-torn nation of South Sudan. In Angola, we established greater partnership with government making our work there more sustainable.
2015: In Angola, JAM implemented much-needed feeding interventions at six malnutrition clinics in Benguela Province, with daily school feeding at 146 schools and drilling over 100 water wells. In Mozambique, 34 entrepreneurial farmers were established in partnership with the German Embassy and our new School Gardens Programme was implemented at selected schools. In South Sudan, we signed agreements with the UN and started our malnutrition prevention programme in Jonglei State.
2016: Aware of the increasing needs in South Sudan, we continued to pursue opportunities to assist even more people, with an increased focus on partnerships throughout the region. 2016: Our programme in South Africa grew significantly, reaching close to 100 000 children. Entrepreneurial farms with full irrigation were developed for local farmers in Mozambique. In Angola, tens of thousands of school children continued to benefit from our nutritional feeding, and almost 100 safe water wells were drilled.
The beginning of 2017 saw an upsurge of fresh conflict and new internal displacement in a few locations in South Sudan. JAM continued to strengthen our partnerships with key UN partners and rolled out much-needed assistance to tens of thousands of affected communities. This included moving into Uganda where refugee camps housed those fleeing conflict in South Sudan and DRC.
2017: JAM continued to implement our Water Sanitation and Hygiene programme (WASH), and Education and Nutrition programmes in Benguela. In Mozambique. JAM responded to government’s call for urgent humanitarian assistance in the wake of heavy seasonal rains and displacement of locals. Meanwhile, JAM’s school upgrades and feeding, as well as farming projects, continued to show positive results in all areas.
This is a year that will never be forgotten in JAM’s history, it was the year when, at the age of 73, Peter Pretorius passed away, leaving an incredible legacy and massive shoes to fill. Despite her grief, Ann ably stepped into the role of Global CEO.
Under Ann’s leadership JAM continued to grow in leaps and bounds and registered in Sierra Leone through a partnership with the government on the FEED Model. The partnership integrated school feeding, agricultural development and the production of fortified foods.
Mozambique championed our FEED Model integrating agricultural production, food processing, and school feeding. WASH remained a flagship programme ensuring increased access and availability of water to thousands of families each year.
Angola remained one of the countries with the highest rates of malnutrition and JAM continued to make a difference through nutrition and WASH interventions in some of the most vulnerable communities.
Rwanda reached hundreds of children each year with subsidised vocational skills training to benefit underprivileged children.
South Africa drove the agenda for nutrition and education in early childhood as a means of giving children in vulnerable communities a better start in life. We provided nutritional meals and created better learning environments through infrastructure development.
South Sudan’s programme experienced a semblance of political stability following the peace agreement signed in August 2018. However, the desperate humanitarian needs remained and JAM continued to assist millions of people affected by years of brutal conflict through food assistance and livelihoods recovery while looking into more sustainable, long-term programming.
Much like Peter found himself surrounded by a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions in Mozambique in 1984, so JAM found itself facing a crisis that had the whole world in its grip.
Africa, already embattled with socioeconomic and environmental issues, such as conflicts, displacement, natural disasters and climate change, would feel the effects of the pandemic even more keenly.
Escalating violence and Covid-19 restrictions hampered JAM’s operations but, after almost 40 years’ experience responding to various crises in Africa, JAM was prepared to instantly respond and adapt accordingly.
The overall result of our increased efforts during this worldwide crisis is that in 2020 JAM reached 3.9-million people compared with 1-million in 2019.
JAM captures the story of how God used an ordinary man to bring hope and healing to areas of brokenness and devastation across Africa. JAM continues to honour Peter’s legacy, and in 2021 his son Isak Pretorius took the reins as Global CEO, continuing the great work his parents started.
It was a year of one of the biggest decisions in its almost 40-year history: to change the name of the organisation.
Intensive research revealed the benefit of finding a name that best reflects our uniqueness: the fact that we are Africans working together with partners from around the world for an Africa that thrives.
We wanted a name that reflects who we are and what we do.
We consulted with professionals and experts in various fields to assist us to find the best name, to create a new logo, write a new slogan, devise a colour palette, all the while maintaining our original vision, mission and purpose. The exercise took a lot of research and creativity, months of hard work, thousands of virtual meetings, hearing from people in the field and from all around the world, extended trips to our countries of operation, writing and rewriting scripts, stories and other documents. It was an intense and hugely important time for all involved, yet it was a challenge that everyone in the organisation was willing to accept.
On 12 April 2022, we proudly launched our beautiful new brand. ForAfrika perfectly describes who we are and what we do. We have always been and will always be for Africa.