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Bringing 6,000 women online in rural Ghana

In an exciting and forwarding thinking program, The Hunger Project in partnership with BLUETOWN and the Microsoft Airband Initiative is bringing the Internet to 6,000 women in Ghana.

The gender digital divide blocks more than two billion women from accessing agriculture, health, education and civic engagement opportunities and solutions – and the divide is only getting worse: women are, on average, 14% less likely to own mobile phones than their male counterparts, and 43% less likely to engage online. This is why we’re excited to announce the launch of a pilot program to close the gender digital divide in rural Ghana.

In partnership with BLUETOWN and the U.S. Agency for International Development and with support from Microsoft’s Airband Initiative, the pilot program will provide access to information about education, agriculture, health, government initiatives, finance and business management and create opportunities for women to be active members of the digital economy.

Reliable Internet connectivity will sustainably increase women’s economic opportunities and eliminate barriers to women’s digital inclusion in three Hunger Project epicentres in Eastern Ghana. This will connect around 6,000 women to vital resources and knowledge that they will utilize to create waves of lasting development in their communities.

The collaboration will utilise BLUETOWN’s successful rural connectivity model, The Hunger Project’s proven programs, methodologies and educational content, and the technical expertise and scale of Microsoft’s staff and operations. To ensure rapid adoption of digital services, the project will leverage the already-mobilized communities at the heart of The Hunger Project’s epicentre strategy. Women in the communities will be trained as digital operators to manage the internet cafés, encouraging women’s participation in the digital community and creating micro-entrepreneurial opportunities.

You can partner with The Hunger Project as we bring more life-changing programs like this to hundreds of thousands of people across Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Give now to end hunger.

Important News About Changes At The Hunger Project Australia

A letter from Diane Grady, Chair of The Hunger Project Australia’s National Board. 

As a much-appreciated investor in The Hunger Project, I’m writing to let you know that after nearly 7 years as our CEO, Melanie Noden, has decided she’s ready for a new challenge.

Over this time, Melanie has significantly lifted our fundraising and built a sustainable professional organisation with the support of the accomplished team she has developed. This has been done through a deliberate strategy of diversification including nurturing investors like you, creating strong partnerships with women-founded businesses, reaching out to a wider community through creative campaigns, and (until COVID-19) continuing with our unique leadership-oriented immersion programs. Melanie has also been successful in working with passionate investors and The Hunger Project’s Global Office to initiate major new programs including a country-wide effort in Zambia, a multi-country water program, a women and girls education program in India, and funding for a network of Epicentres in Ghana.

We are in the last year of our 5 year strategic plan which has had a significant impact on the end of hunger and poverty – including taking 27 Australian-funded Epicentre’s to self-reliance, forever transforming the lives of approximately 529,000 people. We have begun work on our next 5 year plan which will continue over the coming year. With your support, we will continue to build on the strong foundations Melanie and her team have constructed adding in some new initiatives such as seeking government funding and connecting with more institutional funders and workplace giving programs.

We have begun our search for the next The Hunger Project Australia CEO with the help of Mal Duncan from The Insight Group. Please see the job advertisement on Seek that has been posted today. Naturally, we would like our next leader to have leadership and commercial experience and have values aligned with our purpose to end hunger and poverty. If you know of anyone who might be appropriate, please ask them to contact Mal directly on malcolmduncan@insgroup.com.au or 0418278952.

Happily, given Melanie’s passion for the incredible work of The Hunger Project, she is committed to staying on to ensure the smooth transition of the leadership of The Hunger Project Australia to a new CEO.

Thank you for your dedication to The Hunger Project and our mission to end world hunger.  You do make a difference every day!

All the best,

 

It’s the climate for change

Over the last few weeks, we have seen discussions emerging from the COP26 centre around how we stop disastrous and irreversible global heating from reaching a point of no return. The goal of securing net-zero carbon emissions is set for the year 2050 – but for many that deadline will come far too late.   

The Hunger Project’s partner communities across Africa, India and Bangladesh are on the frontline of the climate crisis. Over the last few years, these communities have faced devastating cyclones and flooding rains, as well as ongoing droughts and failed crop yields. There’s an uncomfortable irony that it’s the people who contribute least to climate change who are suffering the most from it.  

The Hunger Project has never been an organisation that has simply sat by and watched the world discuss issues, rather, we are action-based leaders in the sustainable end of hunger, and we are taking action now. 

Recently we announced that in partnership with communities in Ethiopia, The Hunger Project has planted some 3 million trees. These trees bring economic benefits to the communities in the form of fruit that can be sold at the market. They also reduce soil erosion and help rebalance the water table.   

At our African Epicentres, we’ve held Climate Adaption Workshops with 78,431 inspiring participants. Each one of these participants decided that they needed to learn how to live with the changing, warming world. They’ve been taught about the impacts of deforestation, the importance of sustainable farming and how to live with erratic weather patterns. Amazingly this has resulted in 55% of all households in Hunger Project partner communities implementing some form of climate-resilient plan so they’re prepared for any oncoming challenges.  

The Hunger Project has truly inspirational people partnering with us. I’m inspired by the resilience of our Village Partners who are committed to living on a greener, healthier planet without hunger. With a foundation of resilience comes confidence. 44% of people living in Epicentre communities now believe their village has the ability to adapt and absorb environmental shocks. This might not seem like a big number but it is significant.  

With everything going on, now is the climate for change. We are asking our community of generous Australians to come together and give so we can continue to bring forward the end of hunger and build strong, climate-resilient communities. Your partnership on this journey means so much, and no matter what you give, your support can have an impact. Just one example is how a contribution of $60 could buy 40 fruit trees for a family of farmers. These trees can stop erosion and provide enough fruit to feed a family and give them an important, sustainable source of income.  

Now is the season for change and your partnership is always appreciated.  Donate Now

World Food Day 2021: The joy of providing food for your family 

Margret is a volunteer leader – or Animator – at The Hunger Project’s Oruka community in Uganda, and a proud mother of 11 children. In a recent conversation with us, Margret shared how partnering with The Hunger Project shifted and expanded her mindset.

For Margret and her family, exorbitant land rental meant that the family couldn’t cultivate enough food. This resulted in an ongoing and seemingly endless cycle where they could only afford one meal a day.

Margret then had the opportunity to attend one of The Hunger Project’s tried and tested Vision, Commitment, Action workshops. Her attitude about living in hunger changed, and she began to see her mindset as the greatest obstacle to obtaining what she needed most in her life.

Margret’s dream had always been to raise healthy children by having enough food to feed her family, so when she got a chance to become a local farming leader, she seized it. Her attitude towards farming and access to land changed completely.

Margret saw that you don’t always need to have a vast piece of land to grow enough food, you just need to be smart about how you use the land you’re given.

During the training, she was introduced to small plots and learnt sustainable backyard farming. Margret began to grow vegetables in sacks behind her house using organic compost from kitchen scraps and chicken manure. This ensured that vegetables such as Sukuma greens, eggplants (or garden eggs as they’re called in Uganda) and spinach were available throughout the whole year. This meant a regular source of nutritious food. This meant at least three full meals for her family each day.

These days a typical meal plan for her household comprises of a cup of millet porridge and roasted maize or boiled cassava for breakfast. Lunch is largely bean sauce, millet bread and dark leafy vegetables while dinner is comprised of cornmeal/ rice and vegetables.

The most important lesson Margret learnt from The Hunger Project’s workshops is that no matter the size of one’s farm, children should never be deprived of having enough nutritious meals for their proper growth.

Margret now wakes up each day knowing she has secured her dream of ending her family’s hunger.

“Seeing my Children satisfied after a meal brings me much joy.” – Margret from Oruka.

You can partner with people like Margret by giving to The Hunger Project. We know people are the solution to ending hunger. Give now.

Jacinta McDonell Joins The Hunger Project Australia’s National Board 

The Hunger Project Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Jacinta McDonell to our National Board.  

Jacinta, the co-founder of Anytime Fitness, founder of Human Kind Project and W1LL, has been a longtime investor and to date has mobilised $1.4 million for The Hunger Project’s work in ending hunger. 

The Hunger Project Australia’s National Board Chair, Diane Grady AO said Jacinta’s experience and perspective will help The Hunger Project Australia to unlock new opportunities.  

“One of the key pillars of our strategy is connecting with entrepreneurs who can relate to our work. Jacinta has been a long-time investor in The Hunger Project and really helps us understand what it takes to connect with female founders of businesses. Welcome Jacinta, it is great to have you,” Diane said. 

Melanie Noden, CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, said she looks forward to working with Jacinta as we continue to work towards the end of hunger. 

“Jacinta will bring an incredible amount of experience both from being an entrepreneur and also as a fundraiser,” Melanie said.  

“Jacinta’s journey with The Hunger Project has already been so inspiring and we will all learn so much from her unique breadth of experience.” 

Jacinta said she is excited about joining the Board and looks forward to working closer with The Hunger Project.  

“I believe that each and every person has the ability to transform their life and that all people are resilient and inspiring. All we need is to unleash our potential – and this is something The Hunger Project does each day,” Jacinta said. 

“Every person should have access to enough food to eat each day and the opportunity to education. I believe that nobody actually wants charity.” 

Jacinta has been investing in The Hunger Project since 2014 when she witnessed our work first-hand in Malawi. The visit inspired her to set up Human Kind Project, a foundation bringing together entrepreneurs to create change. 

It is Jacinta’s hope that she can continue to inspire more entrepreneurs with her appointment to the board. 

New Report Confirms 811 Million People Living In Hunger 

The UN-led 2021 ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ Report finds that up to 811 million people globally are living in hunger amid the pandemic. 

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted progress towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending hunger. In fact, it’s looking more likely that the world won’t reach these goals any time soon – that is, if the global community continues “business as usual” instead of rethinking what’s possible and implementing new ways of thinking, being and acting to create a world that works for everyone.  

The 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report (SOFI) sets out this new reality. According to the report, up to 811 million people are living in chronic, persistent hunger – that is 161 million more people than in 2019. It says, “Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns are the major drivers slowing down progress [towards ending hunger], particularly where inequality is high. The COVID-19 pandemic made the pathway towards [Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger] even steeper.” 

Additional Findings of the 2021 SOFI Report 

  • Nearly 420 million people living in hunger are in Asia, over 280 million live in Africa, and at least 60 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • Moderate or severe food insecurity has been climbing slowly for 6 years and now affects more than 30% of the world’s population. 
  • The rate of undernourishment rose from 8.4% in 2019 to 9.9% in 2020. 
  • Without significant modifications to the world’s current global strategy, around 660 million people may still live in hunger in 2030, the date set by the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve Zero Hunger.

The Hunger Project has always believed in a world that works for everyone. Clearly, with hundreds of millions of people still living without enough food – or the right kinds of food – to eat, the world isn’t working for anyone. Together as a global community, we need to continue finding new, bold approaches that go to the root cause of problems and create sustainable solutions. That’s what we’re doing at The Hunger Project. We’d love for you to join us on this exciting and meaningful mission. Interested in being part of the solution? Give now, sign up for our mailing list or follow us on social media. 

The 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report was published jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

 

The 5 nuggets of gold from our conversation with Ruchi Yadav

On 22 June, 2021 we recorded an insightful and thought-provoking conversation with THP-India’s Ruchi Yadav. We got so much out of hearing Ruchi share about the harsh realities of life in India right now, and how The Hunger Project’s unique approach to shifting mindsets and partnering with local leaders is proving successful in protecting the most vulnerable people during the pandemic. 

1. There is a human tragedy unfolding in India in the form of a shadow pandemic hidden behind the health crisis: 9,000 children have lost at least one parent to COVID-19 or have been abandoned, and are at risk of child trafficking, child labour and illegal adoption; hunger levels have increased and are forcing families to make desperate decisions like selling their teenage daughters into marriage for just $270-550; family violence is rife and home is no longer the safe place it’s supposed to be, especially for women and girls; 5 million schools were shut down at one point and girls are not likely to be allowed to return.

2. The Hunger Project doesn’t parachute into communities and then exit; the 8,000 elected women leaders across India currently in our training program are from the communities, live there, and will continue living there long after the pandemic. The elected women are putting into practice what they have learned with The Hunger Project, adopting a ‘solution’ not ‘scarcity’ mindset to be motivated and charged instead of paralysed in the face of this challenge. 

3. “How do we reach the unreachable and make the voices of the invisible, visible?” These are some of the guiding questions that are driving Ruchi Yadav and the THP India team in shaping their strategy to confront new challenges and create long-term solutions in the context of the continuously shifting landscape. 

4. The THP India team is constantly innovating and adapting to changing circumstances and some of their future plans include: delivering remedial classes for girls who have missed out on school; piloting livelihood programs for families dealing with hunger; and finding creative ways to get people vaccinated like bringing the vaccinations door to door on the backs of motorbikes out to the most remote and mountainous areas. This is in addition to their ongoing guiding and mentoring of elected women as frontline workers to share accurate health messages, combat misinformation, run vaccination drives, and lead prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19. 

5. To stay motivated, Ruchi thinks about her future self asking her past self, “During the pandemic, what did I do?”She says what she is doing now – partnering with elected women across India to deal powerfully with the pandemic – is her legacy. 

Take action – Create a COVID-safe future for everyone

 Ruchi said the Australian community is “the wind beneath [THP-India’s] work” so let’s show our support to Ruchi, her team and the elected women leaders – as well as all our staff and village partners across the world – as they navigate the pandemic with strength and persistence to create COVID-resilient communities.  

How? Invest in The Hunger Project’s end of financial year campaign before 30 June or start a conversation with us. [Note: for a limited time you can double your impact thanks to our partner Academy Face and Body, and all donations over $2 are tax-deductible.] 

Don’t forget you can watch the whole webinar now.

 

Highlighting our partnership with Hey Tiger

From time to time we shine a spotlight on our incredible partners. Today we are highlighting the delicious and generous Hey Tiger chocolate!

Despite the challenges we all faced across 2020, Hey Tiger’s ongoing commitment to The Hunger Project and the work we’re doing with cocoa farming communities in Ghana remains an inspiration to us.

Together with Hey Tiger customers, their total donation to THP is over $400,000. This incredible investment from Hey Tiger and their community continues to empower the Ehiamankyene (pronounced YEAH-MAN-CHE-NE) community to become agents of their own development and lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.

In 2020 alone:

  • Women in the local community have taken up leadership roles through women’s empowerment workshops.
  • Children’s health has been a priority: 734 children were monitored for their weight and nutrition to help prevent malnutrition, 315 children were vaccinated against deadly but preventable diseases and 89 women accessed prenatal services.
  • A local social enterprise has been established by the community and is now up and running, renting out all sorts of items, from marquees and chairs to mattresses and tricycles – the profits from this social enterprise are reinvested back into the community.
  • Knowledge and resources were shared to keep COVID-19 in check including running educational sessions, building handwashing stations, providing 25kg of soap and distributing gloves and masks.

Some messages from our Village Partners in Ghana.

“My children are young. Because of the vision I have for their education, I’ve already started saving for the highest-level education so I can have enough money to support them. Today, I have 700 cedis (190 AUD) already saved in my account.” – Alesia Bua, Ghana

 

“It is my vision that my children will attain the highest level of education and become responsible adults. I owe much gratitude to The Hunger Project for transforming my life.” – Yaw Sekyi, Ehiamankyene community.

Hey Tiger founder Cyan Ta’eed says, “The Hunger Project is an incredible organisation, and I’ve been so impressed with their work. I hope you’ll consider supporting them, especially if you’re passionate about the things that Hey Tiger stands for.”

The Hunger Project Choose to Challenge with Lululemon

This is an article that Sivanjana Kathiravel, The Hunger Project Australia’s Head of Partnerships, wrote for Lululemon on International Women’s Day on the theme of ‘choose to challenge’. 

You know that feeling when you’re in your flow at yoga? There’s a collective, charged energy in the air; it seems everyone in the room is in sync. Well, I’ve felt that feeling multiplied many times over when I’ve been witness to a group of 40 women in a village in Uganda singing and dancing like nobody’s watching. Being in the presence of such strength, power and resilience as it’s unleashed through moving their bodies is electric! Sadly, despite the outward joy, the reality is that they face harsh and difficult circumstances; most of them are living in chronic hunger, some maybe eating one meal – if that – a day.

This is not the reality I want to live in. It’s easy for us to continue on this path, but that’s not what I choose; I choose to challenge this status quo.

I choose to be part of creating a world free from hunger.

Can you imagine a world without hunger? What does this look like? Is it even possible? It sounds like a big, bold and crazy idea – but that’s the world I’m working towards. The solution to this seemingly huge problem requires the best minds in the world – whether that be the women and men living this reality of hunger every day or anyone, anywhere who shares this exciting vision.

The Hunger Project has proven strategies – that put women front and centre – to unlock people’s potential to lift themselves out of hunger. So it is possible to bring an end to hunger, and surprisingly it’s not actually about food hand-outs!

We have discovered that the most effective way to bring about an end to hunger is by starting with women as changemakers and influencers, and challenging them to go through a process of shifting their mindsets from “I can’t” to “I can” to “we can”. Ultimately, the women then create a vision for their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Their visions are extraordinary: from a current reality of hunger to visions for farming nutritious crops all year round, or starting a new business to support herself financially, or of their children seeing their school education right through to graduation day.

One amazing woman I met in Uganda – Lydia – told me that her vision went beyond herself and her family, and she really wanted to make a difference to her whole community. She started out as a dairy farmer but was not even allowed to speak up in community decision-making meetings – purely because she was a woman – even when these very decisions impacted her dairy farm. Since then, she had embraced The Hunger Project’s mindset shifting process, and now she has been elected as a chief of her community by the King of Uganda! She told me that partnering with The Hunger Project made her a stronger woman – and she reminded me that anyone is capable of tapping into and unlocking their inner leader. “I am now listened to… If I can, you can,” she said.

Sivanjana with Lydia in Uganda.

Now imagine that kind of impact and influence amplified 15.8 million times! That’s the number of people across Africa, India and Bangladesh who are currently partnering with The Hunger Project to lift themselves out of hunger. So is a world free from hunger looking more and more like a possibility for you?

I see my role at The Hunger Project as a conduit of sorts, linking Australians who are itching to make a difference but simply don’t know where to start, together with local leaders in rural, remote villages who are creating innovative, sustainable, grassroots change on a global scale. Finding the perfect match – between an Australian who shares our vision and is excited to invest in our work, and our village partners who are seeking that partnership – is joyous. I feel fulfilled and it gives me peace of mind that I’m playing a small part in this grand vision.

I truly believe that we have so much to learn from people who face the challenge of hunger every day, and who shift from resignation to empowerment to build their personal and community wellbeing.

Every single Aussie dollar invested in our work is testament to the fact that so many Australians already share my belief in the power of people, and my hope for a world free from hunger.

The theme “Choose to Challenge” means many things to me. At a level of humanity, it’s to push back on a common belief that solving some of the world’s biggest social problems is just not possible. But if not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

One way I connect and challenge myself is through the practice of yoga. It has helped me through tough times, giving me both strength and perspective. Rolling out my mat and practicing even for a few hours a week keeps me grounded and is a personal celebration of life and wellbeing. It connects me to the bigger picture and shows me that anything, including ending hunger, is possible.

You can find the original article over on the Lululemon website.

Rebecka’s business is sending her children to school

Rebecka is a farmer and mother of five from Boti in Ghana. Rebecka has become an entrepreneur thanks to her partnership with The Hunger Project.

Rebecka participated in the microfinance program implemented in her community by The Hunger Project. Thanks to this program, she was able to take out four different microfinance loans.

With the money from the first loan of 100 cedis (the local currency equivalent to about AUD$22), she took it and invested it in her agriculture farming business. She made a small profit and repaid the loan back quickly.

For her other microfinance loans, she was able to buy a motorcycle which she now leases to people in her community. Motorcycles are useful for transport in rural communities and leasing them out allows her to pay off the loans and make some money on the side.

“It’s a big encouragement for me to have my own business. I feel proud to be self-employed and not work for somebody else,” Rebecka said.

Thanks to the money she’s now earning from her business she can afford to send her children to school. Rebecka has lifted her family out of hunger and with her children attending school they too are keeping themselves out of the cycle of hunger. Her husband has even decided to take part in some of The Hunger Project’s training programs, but she asserts that she is financially independent.

“My husband helps me with my business, but I take care of the money. My money is my money. 

 “I like to be employed by myself, I’m proud of my company,” she said.

Rebecka has bigger dreams and a wider vision for her business. She would like to expand her business in the future to a bigger farm, reaching more communities and she wants to partner with The Hunger Project as she does it.

“When I have paid off the latest loan, I want to take out another microfinance loan, with the lessons I learnt from The Hunger Project, so I can buy more pots.”

“My plans now are to expand the business so that I can move from the family farm and build my own house with my husband and our children,” she said.  

Inspired by Rebecka’s story? Partner with us today and empower more women like Rebecka so they too can start their own businesses and lift themselves and their families out of hunger.