The Hunger Project: Partnering to Create Solutions That Bring Hunger Down to Zero
Chronic hunger is not just about food: it is a phenomenon linked to the rights of women and girls, income opportunities, health, education, social justice, the environment, and climate change.
At the heart of all these issues is one thing: people.
World Hunger Day, commemorated on May 28th, is a time to highlight the critical need for sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty and to inspire everyone to be a part of the answer.
Solutions to ending hunger must be sustainable locally, socially, economically, and environmentally. That is the approach of The Hunger Project (THP) and the reason I was attracted to their work and became an “investor” (that’s what we call our donors) nearly four decades ago.
Grassroots Work and Empowering Local Communities
It might seem obvious that the work of ending hunger should be centered on the people who are living with it, but many organizations have historically focused instead on their expertise in a specific area, like water or agriculture, which they then deliver to “help the poor.” The Hunger Project comes from a different place: we believe that effective, sustainable change starts with the recognition that people living in conditions of hunger and poverty are hardworking, resourceful, and creative – and that they have the right and the responsibility to be the authors of their own development.
Our methodology is built on a set of principles, including Interconnectedness, Human Dignity, and Gender Equality. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all solution from the outside, we mobilize and empower local leaders who understand their community’s issues and are in the best position to design and lead the development process. It is our privilege to partner with these local leaders on their journey to sustainable self-reliance.
An event like the COVID-19 crisis deepens pre-existing inequalities which will have significant impacts on under-served populations like women, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political, and economic systems, which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic and causing an increase in food insecurity and hunger. In a crisis like this, The Hunger Project’s partners are equipped with the skills and confidence to act locally and respond quickly and effectively.
THP does not strive to simply alleviate the symptoms of hunger. Rather, we identify the underlying conditions that give rise to chronic, persistent hunger, and we work to transform those conditions to bring about sustainable change. We do this through three essential pillars:
We empower women as key agents of change.
Through income-generating workshops, rural banking opportunities, and a Microfinance Program, women food farmers in THP program areas have access to credit and training, instilling in them the importance of saving and empowering them with the potential to increase their incomes through revenue-generating projects and investing in their families and communities.
We also hold Women’s Leadership Workshops, in which participants collaborate and learn practical skills to represent the needs of their villages, ensuring awareness and action at the top levels of government.
We mobilize entire communities into self-relient action.
We train women and men, equipping them with the skills, methods, and knowledge needed to take actions that improve their lives and the conditions in their communities. As people take more substantial action, THP offers skills training in literacy, numeracy, nutrition, and leadership. Through these opportunities, people organize into self-help groups to gain a stronger voice. Success builds on success.
We foster effective partnerships to engage local government.
We work in partnership with local government bodies to ensure that they include the leadership of women, are directly accountable to local people, and provide access to resources and information. We have forged effective partnerships with local governments throughout Africa, South Asia, and Latin America to ensure that they allocate resources to their rural communities.
THP has partnered with nearly 13,000 communities across Africa, South Asia, and Latin America to achieve great progress in local economic development and to create sustainable solutions to the root causes of hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition. But we wouldn’t be able to do this on our own.
A partnership with a Global Impact
In addition to the leadership of those directly affected by hunger, we recognize that the end of hunger will require the partnership of many stakeholders – government agencies, civil society, corporate leaders – and a willingness to back up that vision with powerful action.
Our recent partnership with Herbalife Nutrition and the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation (HNF) through the Nutrition for Zero Hunger initiative impacts people’s lives by fueling our program work and goes a step further by sharing our methodology and success stories with Herbalife Nutrition’s vast global family. Our organizations share a conviction: nutrition is a human right.
Herbalife Nutrition and HNF will support The Hunger Project in its work to address the issue of global hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition by:
Supporting The Hunger Project's holistic approach.
By investing in women and girls, mobilizing rural communities, and fostering effective partnerships with local government, THP’s methodology catalyzes a development process through which communities achieve concrete results in food security and nutrition outcomes.
Improving nutrition education.
Empowering communities to gain access to nutrition information regarding healthier, locally sustainable food choices.
Raising awareness of the global crisis.
This partnership increases awareness of The Hunger Project’s mission by disseminating information to Herbalife Nutrition’s extensive global network of independent distributors and more than 10,000 employees worldwide, to reach as many people and communities as possible.
THP has spent the past 40 years designing, implementing, and advocating for the most effective pathways to creating a world free from hunger. We view our alignment with the Nutrition for Zero Hunger initiative as the start of a very exciting partnership.
How You Can Support
Most people want global hunger to end – but they don’t think it can happen, or they doubt they could play a part in it.
Anyone can join this movement by investing in the work of The Hunger Project and sharing about it with others. You can donate, volunteer, or connect with local THP offices and online communities around the world.
Ending chronic hunger sustainably is about lifting up and celebrating human dignity. Together, we can transform the idea of “zero hunger” into a reality.