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An Investor’s Incredible Trip to Uganda

Meet Kris Macourt, a young philanthropist from Sydney who has just returned after spending time visiting communities in Uganda. Kris and her family invested in Kenshunga Epicentre, and went to see just how far the community has come.

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Kris with Ally, THP-Australia’s Head of Philanthropy and Impact

What inspired you to get involved with The Hunger Project?

The fundamental fact, after years of doing my own due diligence with organisations, that The Hunger Project was the only project I discovered whose funding becomes inessential to the community it has partnered with, after that community reaches a state of self-reliance. To me, that is the marker of a model that truly works.

How would you describe The Hunger Project to someone who’s never heard of it?

Just that! A model that works! An organisation that seeks no benefit outside of helping communities to become independent from funding and self-reliant in a way that empowers their own capabilities, self-governance and competence to thrive.

On your visit, what kind of people did you meet?

I met the THP-Uganda team, who, in every capacity, drive the very hearts of the communities they partner with. I met post ‘self-reliant’ communities, who were empowered and full of joy. I met a community that has yet to be mobilised yet have the great determination to do so, which inspired me so much. Seeing the comparison between the two was an indication of what wonderful work THP can achieve alongside them.

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Community planning
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Country Director Irene Naikaali

What challenges were the communities facing?

What is fundamental for THP is women centric business and drive and that is evident when meeting with the communities – that the women are one of the greatest drivers of change for their community, voicing the challenges on behalf of everyone. One issue that continually rose, was that of capital. How to grow their circles and further expand their businesses. Of course, the difficulties of climate change. Access the materials and conservation of product. To name a few.

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Collecting water
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The health clinic

What’s one thing you’d ask people to do to create a world without hunger?

Do your research! If you want to make a difference, make sure that you are donating with projects that can actually create the change that is needed. Get emotionally involved, give more than just money, but allocate time to connect with those facing challenges and understand what their needs are. Because listening is a truly remarkable pilot when navigating through a world that seeks change.

A window into Benin

In late 2023, I spent time in Benin; a special place that most people would struggle to find on a map. Home to almost 13 million people, Benin remains one of the poorest nations in Africa and the world. Access to basic social services is low and climate change is making subsistence farming even more unreliable. Colonised by the French, Benin became independent in 1960. We have been working in country since 1997.

I arrived to meet my global colleague Elodie Iko, who is the Country Director of THP-Benin. Elodie is an impressive leader and commands any room with a quiet strength. It’s evident that she is highly respected by her knowledgeable staff and the various communities in which she works.

The purpose of this trip was to meet one of our long-time Investors Cameron, and his son Elliot, to visit an Epicentre they previously funded, and see how the community are progressing in their post self-reliance journey.

Our first Epicentre visit was to Dasso, where we met with a women’s business that processes cassava. They do some extraordinary work and produce 10 tons of end product. They use every element of the vegetable and produce four items for markets. The business employs 12 women and there was a real buzz. We got to try some of the ingredients, and it was delicious!

We then had a tour of the Epicentre. The children’s nursery – which didn’t exist before – was absolutely adorable; but more than that, the nursery’s impact on the children’s lives is transformative for their education, growth and wellbeing.

We then spent time with the leadership, who spoke positively about the future and the challenges they face. The last visit at Dasso was with the women-led nutrition and wash program. They demonstrated how they educate the young children and mothers on how to create nutritious meals for the family and there were about 50 kids being fed. It was equal parts inspiring and intensely upsetting. They are remarkable.

We had lunch in the car and then moved to Avlame. This is an Epicentre that has been post self-reliance for seven years. Of course, on the road you need to have some challenges and one of our cars broke down – never a dull moment!

Avlame is a pretty extraordinary place and what they have achieved is impressive.

The committee leadership are incredible. None of them could read and write before the Epicentre – so to see them arrive with handwritten speeches in their notebooks was a reminder of the power of literacy.

The speeches and discussion were very powerful and some of the most insightful conversations. They have established multiple spaces for rent; they have tons of food storage and a restaurant.

As expected in this part of the world, it was hot (39 degrees) and after two inspiring Epicentre visits, it was time for an early dinner and some rest before a busy two days ahead.

Hunger Hero: Christine Khor, founder of Peeplcoach

There are many reasons why people feel drawn to supporting The Hunger Project; Chris Khor is candid about the moment in her life that drew her to our work.

“I was having my first midlife crisis at 45 in 2012. I call it “divine dissatisfaction”; I had a thriving
business, I had resources, I had a functioning family, but there was something that was not quite
there. I saw an opportunity to go to Uganda and I said right there and then – “I want to go.”
I’d never been to Africa, but something compelled me to apply.”

She recalls raising $20,000 in a whirlwind of activity – before spending the flight there in a flood of
tears.

“I still have the journal. I was writing about how I hated my job and who I was working with, the
sense of fulfillment just was missing,” she reflects.

“Then we went out and saw the work and it changed me. I went from being this crying, entitled,
middle-aged woman to someone who felt incredibly blessed. I got over myself on that trip.”

The trip gave Chris the clarity and focus she needed.

“When I came back – I changed everything except my husband! I went back uni, I sold the dream
house, I changed where the kids were going to school. Within a year I had started a new business,
Chorus Executive.”

As well as running a successful business, Chris utilised her extensive network to spread the word of
our work, while also joining our Board to contribute further to ending hunger.

Adding to her list of achievements, she has since gone on to found PeeplCoach, an online coaching
and leadership development business that empowers people to bring their best to work and to
face their biggest obstacle – themselves.

“PeeplCoach’s mission is aligned to The Hunger Project; it’s about giving individuals the tools and
education to define their own future to be more productive, successful and sustainable.”
“Our partnership allows us to have a big impact while also helping to create a fairer world.”

As a female founder and entrepreneur, Chris feels strongly about empowering women to be future
leaders.

“We’re very proud that 51% of our coaching cohort are women. We are equalising the playing field
– in executive coaching, the average is around 10%,” Chris explains.
“The women-led component is very important to me personally. I fundamentally believe in
education, keeping girls in school, ensuring they have the opportunity for education and access to
healthcare.”

On a personal level, Chris reflects on the life-long friendships The Hunger Project has fostered.
“Two of my closest friends are from that period of time, and the calibre of the people we are
friends with, the kindness and generosity is next level. It’s also allowed me to bring a realness to
others and added an extra layer of purpose to my life.”

To find out how your business can partner with us, get in touch here.

Reflections from the Heart: A Journey through Amuru with THP Uganda

It’s difficult to describe the feeling when entering a community wrought with hardship. They are places where people have faced unimaginable suffering and obstacles unfathomable to most of us in our everyday lives. Entering the quiet villages of the Amuru District of Northern Uganda in October 2023, we witnessed both pain and hope.

I am accompanied by Tania Austin, the owner and founder of the clothing brand Decjuba, one of The Hunger Project’s (THP) leading corporate partners. Their Decjuba Foundation has supported multiple initiatives and I was fortunate enough to be the facilitator on this trip.

Our primary goal was to listen deeply to those we met, in order to understand how the establishment of an Epicentre in the district would positively impact their lives. Most here practise subsistence agriculture, resulting in low household incomes and food insecurity, exacerbated by a lack of access to basic resources like clean water and healthcare.

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This is also a country that has been devastated by more than two decades of brutal civil war. Whole generations are missing from villages, while investment in infrastructure and education is close to non-existent.

Katie, a mother of four, shared her life story. Abducted as a child, married to a warlord, she now existed in a world devoid of support. Her husband, possibly killed by rebels, left her to fend for her family alone. Her main worry was her son’s health – sick and without access to medical care. Her story was a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Lucy’s home offered a contrasting energy. She welcomed us into her world with a quiet dignity. Her six children, though weary, mirrored her strength. With her husband imprisoned for poaching, Lucy fought to provide for her family by cultivating a rented plot of land. Yet, her primary concern was the lack of clean water, a constant threat to her family’s health.

In another part of the village, a grandmother greeted us warmly, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She told us of the difficulties in accessing education due to financial constraints. Her eldest son shared his dreams of becoming a doctor, an opportunity that felt out of reach.

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These visits, although challenging, strengthened our views on THP’s Epicentre strategy and how it empowers people and entire communities to change their own future. The greatest gift we can offer is not immediate aid or a quick fix to the issue of generational hunger and poverty. It’s by walking alongside our community partners and trusting them with the tools and resources to build a pathway out of hunger themselves. I am hopeful by sharing these stories that many other Australians just like me will be moved to take action and support a new Epicentre in Amuru, so that women like Katie and Lucy can support themselves and their families.

You can help us create a world without hunger. Please make a tax-deductible donation here.

By Claire Whitbread – a major investor and long term supporter of The Hunger Project. This is her sixth trip with THP.

The Purposeful Present Edit 2023

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These gifts help end hunger and poverty for women and girls – what a gift.

Want to give a gift that makes a positive impact, for both the giver and receiver?

Look no further than our Purposeful Presents 2023 Edit! Featuring an amazing range of gifts from our most excellent partners, you’ll find something for everyone at a range of price points, from budget to splurge. 

$50 and Under

Hey Tiger premium chocolate $10
Proceeds to THP: 2% from every block

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Unicorn Charity Bags, Camilla $29
Proceeds to THP: 100%

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Wash Wild $8
Proceeds to THP: 50c from every bottle

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Dock and Bay quick dry towels $49
Proceeds to THP: 20%

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Montalto Wines Range starts from $25
Montalto supports over 1,000 young girls in India through our Adolescent Girls program

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Bared Footwear$24
Profits to THP: 100%

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Clemence OrganicsFrom $25
Profits to THP: monthly donation

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Under $100

THP x Kinnon Card holders$50 – $60
Proceeds to THP: 50%

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Showpo sweats$79.95
Profits to THP: 100%

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Amazing Decjuba tee$59.95
Proceeds to the Decjuba Foundation (THP is a beneficiary)

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Women Empowered Fund Impact Report

It’s been a big year for women’s empowerment at The Hunger Project and our Women Empowerment Fund has lifted up thousands of women and girls in Africa and India.

Small things we take for granted become game changers, like internet access, going to school, getting a small business loan; we’re delighted to share just some of the inspiring stories in the below report and in this short video.

Women Empowered Impact Report The Hunger Project

World Food Day: Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind.

We are proud to join our global community this World Food Day in raising awareness about the importance of water and creating sustainable solutions to conserve it. 

Clean water is key to creating a world without hunger. It is connected to nutrition, health, the environment and the economy. At The Hunger Project, we partner with rural communities to enhance water access, sanitation and conservation, developing new water sources and promoting sustainable practices.

Global access to safe water remains a challenge. Approximately 2.4 billion people in the world reside in water-stressed countries. Among those affected, women bear a disproportionate burden due to the scarcity of clean and safe water. Often tasked with fetching water, women endure long walks and even violence during their journeys. Reliable access to clean water not only reduces risks but also mobilizes  women to invest in their families and communities and enables girls to attend school. 

We recognise that the majority of freshwater used globally supports agriculture. Most people living with hunger depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, leaving them susceptible to environmental degradation, water scarcity and climate change impacts. Therefore, efficient, low-barrier water conservation methods are critical to create thriving communities. 

Additionally, every year, countless adults and children lose their lives due to diseases spread through unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Illnesses like cholera, dysentery and diarrhea are prevalent, causing hundreds of thousands of children to live with malnutrition. 

Climate change, agriculture, population growth, urbanisation and economic development are putting the planet’s water resources under increasing stress. Now is the time to work with communities to find sustainable approaches to water conservation and to ensure that every person has access to clean, affordable water.  

What we do.

  • Promoting Local Food Varieties
    Our food consumption has a direct impact on water resources. At The Hunger Project, we work with communities to identify native crops that thrive under local conditions. This helps reduce the need for complex irrigation systems and promotes biodiversity.
  • Promote sustainable farming practices
    We work with our community partners to create and manage community demonstration farms. Community partners learn techniques to sustainably improve crop yields, providing entire communities with increased access to food. Through taking part in The Hunger Project programs, farmers like
    Issa, have learnt how to practice sustainable farming and to grow climate resistant crops.
  • Build water and sanitation capacity
    We establish water project boards made up of community leaders who are trained by experts on how to monitor, maintain and repair water systems; training people in the use and repair of water pumps and generators; and training a core of local leaders in water safety and purification so they can lead workshops throughout the community and expand grassroots knowledge. We also partner with philanthropists such as The Petre Foundation to deliver the Water First project across sites in Africa to increase access to clean, safe water. 

Digital Generation. Our Generation

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the digital landscape offers boundless opportunities for growth and progress for girls. As we celebrate International Day of the Girl under the theme “Digital Generation. Our Generation,” we’re reminded of the incredible potential that technology holds for empowering girls to become leaders, innovators and change-makers in their communities and beyond.

Systems of inequity, like a lack of access to online resources, are keeping hunger in place in communities around the world. When girls have the opportunity to connect to online platforms it gives them the power to access rapid and current information, which improves their education, businesses and engagement with civil society and political processes. In turn, each of these facets of life contribute to ending hunger in communities around the world. 

 At The Hunger Project, we are committed to harnessing this potential, by encouraging girls to embrace digital resources as a tool for personal and societal advancement. Our programs equip girls with vital skills in digital literacy, enabling them to confidently navigate the virtual world and drive positive change in their communities.

As girls navigate the digital landscape, they become architects of their own destinies, defying traditional barriers and stereotypes. Through this empowering program, The Hunger Project envisions a world where the potential of every girl is realised, and where their contributions, both in the virtual realm and the real world, drive meaningful change for generations to come.

At The Hunger Project, we recognise the intersection between digital engagement and hunger as a powerful avenue for transformative change. We envision a future where technology enables girls to not only uplift themselves but also contribute to the fight against global hunger. 

The Legends of Larapinta!

Eight women. 39 kilometres. One stunning ancient landscape.

All of us were from different places and life stages but found ourselves sharing common ground early on; in search of deeper connection with ourselves, with nature and with each other. In fact, interconnectedness became our unofficial ‘theme’ for the week!

As the Senior Partnerships Manager at The Hunger Project, I’ve had the great privilege to visit some pretty amazing places, but doing the Larapinta Trek with seven incredible women was a life highlight.

Before I go into the details of the trip itself, I’d like to acknowledge that all of the participants – Chelsea, Carlie, Jen, Jodie, Sharon and Vanessa, all fundraised a minimum of $6,000 to take part – collectively raising an incredible $46k for The Hunger Project. A massive effort!

Facilitating the trip was the fabulously talented Kemi Nekvapil (check out her books and podcast!). Kemi is a long-time supporter of our approach to ending hunger, which focuses on the VCA principles: Vision, Commitment and Action. These principles were weaved into our journey, guiding us through to our destination.

Also guiding us was Anna from Autopia Tours. What a phenomenal woman! Anna was so passionate and knowledgeable and guided us beautifully throughout our trek.

We all arrived in Mparntwe/Alice Springs excited and full of anticipation. After a special Welcome to Country at the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, where we learnt about the deep connection First Nations people have to the land and each other, we all gathered for dinner to meet and get to know one another before spending the next three days on the land and under the stars.

The first day was a mild trek to ease us into the absolutely majestic scenery and the days to come. The sounds of nature surrounded us, as we had space away from our busy lives and constant streams of information to think about what we wanted for our futures. Throughout the day, we found quiet, reflective spots where we would rest and talk through a part of The Hunger Project’s VCA approach and how it related to our own lives.

After a day of walking and a tasty campfire dinner prepared by the brilliant Autopia team, we snuggled into our tents and prepped for a 1:30am alarm. We were getting up in the middle of the night to climb Mount Sonder (Rwetyepme) – in the dark with head torches no less! The walk up the mountain was very windy and cold, but there was a certain point in the trek where the stars appear BELOW you and we were enveloped in night – it was a magical, spiritual experience. Reaching the top of Mount Sonder for sunrise, with a hot thermos full of tea to share in the company of this group of women, was well worth the lack of sleep.

 

On our final trek day, we walked through Ormiston Pound and into Ormiston Gorge – as you can see by the pics, it is breathtaking. We finished our trek with a water crossing up to our waists – a symbolic conclusion to an unforgettable experience.

 

Some of the words that the participants used to describe the trip were “life-changing, awe-inspiring and profound”. For me, the camaraderie, vulnerability, shared laughter and tears was what made this trip so special. A huge thank you to the inimitable Kemi, who has supported The Hunger Project and lives our values each and every day, and she generously shares her gifts so that others may grow.

Latest report advancing Adolescent Girls in Bihar

The Adolescent Girls program is one of our most inspiring and important initiatives, and the results in 2022 are no exception.

I’m proud that this yearly update includes the following positive outcomes:

• As of December 2022, 97% of the Adolescent Girls enrolled in the program remain unmarried

31 Sukanya Club members stepped up to help prevent 18 early marriages of other girls in the program. These girls remain unmarried and are continuing their education

126 Adolescent Girls took the lead in saying no to their own forced marriages

• 79% of girls who had dropped out had been re-enrolled in school

25 schools now have functional toilets and drinking water after 99 Adolescent Girls took the lead to ensure the availability of clean toilets and drinking water after following up with school administration and School Management Committee members.

These amazing achievements are a collective effort, and we are very grateful for your unwavering belief in girls to shine and thrive

You can read the report in full here.

 

Philippe Magid
CEO, The Hunger Project Australia