Elected Women on COVID-19 Frontlines in India

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A new report from our partners at The Hunger Project India explores the power of local leadership in a time of crisis, highlighting the need for locally empower women leaders.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has re-emphasised the need for community-level decision-making and access to accurate information during a public health crisis.

It’s abundantly clear that leadership and governance on a global and local scale are required to confront the spread of a deadly disease. In India, as the global community began to navigate the obstacles a pandemic, the biggest question that arose was: what is needed at the community level?

The solution.

Within the first weeks of lockdown, we partnered with local Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) and village councils to activate a network of more than 8,000 woman leaders to address these new challenges. Communicating accurate information to dispel myths was essential to providing the tools for safety. So, local leaders used their platforms to raise awareness and an understanding of community members’ responsibilities to protect each other against COVID-19 and successful educational campaigns were launched throughout India.

EWRs also worked to ensure access to food rations under the government’s Public Distribution System (PDS) and other government related services that were still open. From Uttarakhand to Karnataka, sewing groups were formed to make face masks using material left over from stitching clothes. Elected women established task forces to monitor ration shops and ensure prepared meals were served and distributed to the most vulnerable families.

Nirmala, Sukhiya, Sita and Anita—members of the Sema Panchayat in Rajasthan—stepped into their leadership and began operating as fundraisers to guarantee access to government resources and funds distributed during COVID-19. They approached individuals and groups and mobilised fund drives to procure sanitisers, essential food items and masks. These local leaders are motivated by compassion and responsibility:

“Our main aim was to provide immediate relief in areas with extremely vulnerable communities where the government hasn’t reached yet. We have been able to support 20 families in distress so far [as of December 2020].”

In Odisha, former elected women were key in undertaking efforts to ensure food security during the lockdown. THP trained local leaders supervised local relief programs that included government support such as 1,000 rupees (AUD$18) for dry rations and an extra 5kg of rations for 3 months. They were also involved with the delivery of lunches to school children and rationing for children and pregnant women.

EWRs are still at the frontline of our pandemic response in India. Their leadership and persistent advocacy was key to ensuring that governmental measures were accessible to all. Together, beyond only India, our global community continues to advocate for basic human needs like food, sanitation and accurate information while addressing long-term issues of gender-based violence, food insecurity and community-led development.

By the numbers.

Our awareness campaign focused on COVID-19 prevention, food security and helpline numbers for children and women. It had a total outreach of over 24,000 people through the Mobile Van Campaign and more than 36 million through the radio messages, covering 17 of the 38 districts in Bihar. Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, we enabled better access to information, reaching 17,800 people via Mobile Van Campaigns and 38 million through radio listenership in all 52 districts.

Read more about our COVID-19 response around the world.

Read the full report from The Hunger Project India.

You helped us raise $126,690 – thank you! 👍

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Together we raised $126,690!

Our Christmas campaign officially closed on Sunday, and so now we’re excited to announce that with your collective generosity, we raised $126,690 to enable our village partners in Africa, India and Bangladesh to bring their visions of a different 2021 to life. Thank you!

With your support, this year will be a time of hope and new beginnings and a chance for us all to breathe life and energy back into our dreams.

Your partnership means that now people in rural villages around the world together with The Hunger Project are taking on new and exciting personal and community projects. The possibilities are endless. Think these kinds of bold action plans:

  • Learn to read and write
  • Kickstart a business idea to earn an income for their families
  • Lead their village for the first time to lift themselves and their community out of hunger and poverty

Our heartfelt thanks

We’d like to say a big thank you to our main matching partner for generously providing the original $30,000 matching funds! We couldn’t have launched this campaign without you.

Thank you also to all the amazing people and businesses who came together to bring this campaign to life and to make it a success by providing further matching funds or sharing the message to their community:

Alex Bryant
Andre Eikmeier (Good Empire)
Andrea Candy
Andrew Spillane
Belinda Brosnan
Brad Hancock (Artedomus) 

Cathy Burke
Chorus Executive
Claire Whitbread
Coffees and Style
Deanne Boules
Elizabeth McIntyre
Gerard Castles
Griff Morris (Solar Dwellings)
Hamilton Locke

Kaye Jowett
L&A Social 
Mostyn Family Foundation
Nibble Digital 
Nic McClanachan (Human Experience)
Ruby Agency
Ruby Connection (Westpac)
Social Diary
Sophia Lang
Urban List 
Wellness in Real Life

Of course, thank you to everyone else who generously invested in The Hunger Project at this time – you are too many to list here but please know you are seen and acknowledged.

Here’s to a brighter 2021 and a world that works for everyone!

Welcoming new Global CEO, Tim Prewitt!

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This is an announcement shared by The Hunger Project Global Office.

The Hunger Project is thrilled to announce the appointment of Tim Prewitt, an international executive with more than 25 years of experience in the development and private sector, as President and CEO. Tim brings a deep commitment to community development, gender equity and empowering people living in extreme poverty.

“As we face the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgency to take a major step up in our work to end hunger and poverty,” said Sheree Stomberg, Chair of the Global Board of Directors. “Tim is the right leader to bring The Hunger Project’s sustainable solutions — solutions that are grounded in human dignity, gender equality, social transformation, and inclusion—to a breakthrough level of impact.” 

Tim has worked in more than 30 countries across Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. During his tenure as CEO of iDE from 2012-2019, he led the organisation to greater impact, financial growth and global recognition. Prior to joining iDE, Tim worked in Nigeria with farmers, the private sector, and the Nigerian government to increase farmer income and farm yields, leading to an impact on more than a million farmers and a UN World Business Development Award. He also served as Regional Director for Asia and as head of the Private Sector Practice for Chemonics International.

“I am thrilled to join such a dynamic community committed to the end of hunger, and I am excited to learn more and build on the great work The Hunger Project is known for globally. We have a tremendous opportunity to amplify our sustainable solutions and drive new levels of impact around the world,” shared Tim. 

A highly regarded speaker on agriculture, poverty, and economic development, Tim has spoken at the World Economic Forum’s Grow Africa Initiative, Clinton Global Initiative, and World Food Prize, and is the author of the forthcoming book, Table for Ten Billion, which chronicles the efforts of farmers, policy makers, companies and communities around the world in feeding our planet. He is a Fulbright Fellow and holds an MBA from China-Europe International Business School (CN), and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology from the New School (USA) and Lancaster University (UK). 

“The time is now for bold action,” said Sheree. “With Tim’s leadership, together we can create the breakthroughs needed to create a world of self-reliance and dignity for all.”

Tim officially joins The Hunger Project on February 1 and will be based out of THP’s Global Office in New York. Acting CEO Lisa North will resume her role as Chief Operating Officer.

Kossegui shows that things can be done differently.

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Kossegui Ganigi is a farmer from Guinagourou, Benin. She has two daughters and is taking care of her sister’s baby, as her sister died in childbirth. Kosseguis’s dream is that all girls in the village can go to school and all women can give birth safely. She has found her own way to bring the people in her village into achieving this dream.

“I am convinced that it is possible if the women of Guinagourou get involved together. But nobody wants to believe me. They think it’s a strange dream and can’t imagine it,” Kossegui said.

For a year, Kossegui woke up an hour earlier every day and went door-to-door around her village to try and make her neighbours understand the importance of her vision. They remained cynical, however she knew she couldn’t achieve her vision on her own. She needed their involvement.

She came up with a new plan.

“I manage to save 15 cents a day from my fish business. With that I can build the first stone house in the village after a year. Everyone wants a stone house, but the neighbours also think that it is not for our kind of people.

“If I have a stone house, they will see that things can be done differently. And then they will also start moving. Just wait,” Kossegui said.

Invest now in changemakers like Kossegui to do things differently and transform their lives.

Don’t miss your chance to double your impact this Christmas 🎁

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UPDATE!!! Inspired by the generous match offered by, a number of other wonderful people and businesses in the THP community have come together to extend the matching pool by a further $30,000 – so now you have even more time to double your impact!

Give the gift of hope and certainty this Christmas.

Our partner,, are matching all investments for a limited time only. Don’t miss out — double your impact today.

2020 has been a rollercoaster year where dreams have been put on hold. Christmas marks a time of hope and new beginnings and a chance for us to breathe life and energy back into paused dreams.


As you reimagine a different 2021…

Where you step out from behind Zoom and go to work or school, freely meet up with friends or travel interstate to see loved ones

…people in villages around the world are reimagining a different 2021 too

Where they learn to read books, kickstart a business idea, and lead their village for the first time to lift themselves and their community out of hunger and poverty.

We are stronger together; we need to work with one another to bring this vision of a different 2021 to life for everyone. 

Will you join The Hunger Project and the 16.5 million people we reach living in hunger in villages globally, to give the gift of hope and certainty – and together create a world that works for everyone?

Together in response to the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis, we have already enabled 250,000 educational posters and leaflets and 210,000 food rations to be distributed to keep the most vulnerable people safe and alive. Imagine what we could do together in 2021!

What you can count on. 

All investments up to $30,000 will generously be matched dollar for dollar by until 31 January 2021. Invest today and double your impact!


“Communities should rise up for girls”

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Daisy Owomugasho, Regional Director of The Hunger Project Uganda, wrote the following article that featured in Uganda’s leading newspaper, ‘The Newvision’.

I believe that there has never been a moment in time more important than today when all forms of community systems are being called upon to rise up and protect our children, especially the girls, from any form of abuse. As we continue the fight against COVID-19, it is everybody’s call to ensure that we do not lose the gains we have laboured so much to realise.

Since March, when schools were ordered to close, we have seen an increase in cases of child marriage in different parts of the country. Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda was struggling, but working steadily in its efforts to deliver on a number of international obligations regarding sexual and reproductive health among girls and young boys.

The closure of schools in March as a result of COVID-19 was a good intervention, but it also had a big impact in the area of sexual and reproductive health for girls mainly. Schools play a very big role in protecting girls from a lot of sexually related crimes that are ever present in our communities.

According to the UN and our own observations at The Hunger Project Uganda, if girls were to be allowed to complete the entire primary and secondary education cycle in school, this alone reduces their chances of catching HIV by 50%. Staying in school further insulates the girls from many other sexual and reproductive health situations such as early marriage, domestic violence and all other forms of abuse.Schools, therefore, indirectly contribute to more than 70% of the girl’s chances of a healthy and productive future.

UNFPA estimates that the total effect of the COVID-19 pandemic could mean approximately 13 million additional child marriages globally. This means as a country we need to scale up efforts in building and providing safety for girls. Now that schools are closed, the responsibility of keeping our children safe, especially the girls, has shifted to the communities. Unfortunately, information that has been received regarding the first few months of the girls being at home shows that communities have not been doing a good job.

Since March, when schools were ordered to close, we have seen an increase in cases of child marriage in different parts of the country. We have seen an increase in all forms of abuse targeting the girls such as rape and defilement. Suddenly, the number of new HIV infections amongst young people has also started to rise again.

For years, The Hunger Project Uganda has invested a lot in building strong community systems that work to protect girls from any form of abuse, including early marriages. We have a vibrant network of community animators with local knowledge that are able to identify such abuses when they occur. The community animators also act as early warning systems against any form of abuse likely to happen to any girl.

Communities have the intelligence and are usually in the know regarding what families may be planning to do. When such abuses are identified, the necessary interventions are done to ensure that the girls are protected. I, therefore, believe that there has never been a moment in time more important than today when all forms of community systems are being called upon to rise up and protect our children, especially the girls, from any form of abuse.

There are some good community innovations we can borrow from; case in point is the community of Kalamba sub-county in Butambala district. As a way of dealing with the rampant cases of child marriage in their area, the local community with support from The Hunger Project Uganda and area leaders mobilised and adopted a community bylaw through their local council.

The bylaw gives communities the power to detect and prevent any form of child marriage by identifying and shaming individuals who continue to engage in this form of abuse. Communities work closely with all local enforcement agencies, including the Police to ensure that cases are thoroughly investigated and victims are protected throughout. As we continue the fight against COVID-19, it is everybody’s call to ensure that we do not lose the gains we have laboured so much to realise. The responsibility of keeping our girls safe from any harm should never be left to schools alone.

In order to contribute to attaining the global development goals, specifically goals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,10 and 17, The Hunger Project Uganda through its Women Empowerment programme, is implementing Her Choice Project that seeks to create child marriage free communities in 9 districts of Uganda and safe choices for deaf girls in Mbale. Through gender-focused community led development (GFCLD), The Hunger Project Uganda has invested significantly in building capacity of girls, both in and out of school, to participate in decision-making processes through peer clubs.

The Hunger Project Uganda has also built and supported community systems and structures to provide an enabling environment for girls to thrive and reach their full potential Communities should rise up and be safe zones for all our children during this pandemic. We are continuing with our advocacy of ensuring safe places for our girls.

Shop for Good: Our 2020 Christmas Gift Guide

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To make an impact this Christmas, check out these gift ideas from our partners that also give a percentage of profits to our programs ending hunger.

  • THP x Kinnon Leather Card Holders — These stunning pebble Italian leather card-holders can be personalised with your initials. 50% of proceeds go to The Hunger Project’s commitment to ending hunger by 2030. 
  • Hey Tiger Chocolate — Hey Tiger produces delicious, high-quality chocolate in a range of unique flavours. As a social enterprise, the sale of each bar supports The Hunger Project’s work in Ghana. 
  • Kinnon x Hey Tiger ‘Give back pack’ — Supporting a good cause has never looked (or tasted) so good! This gift pack includes 1 x THP x Kinnon card holder in olive or navy Italian pebble or vintage tan leather and Hey Tiger ‘And Chill’ chocolate 
  • Decjuba x THP tee — This is Decjuba’s sixth THP tee, with 100% profits going to enable communities in Africa to end hunger
  • Alkam scrunchies – Sustainable fashion label Alkam, has released a THP scrunchie available in 2 fabrics and 3 colours, crafted from fabric offcuts to reduce waste. 100% of profits from scrunchie sales will be invested in THP. 
  • BeKeane Healthy and Fit Activewear – 20% of all sales of these crop tops and leggings go towards THPs work ending hunger.  
  • Face masks made with love – These beautiful limited-edition, handmade face masks have been made with love by tailors that The Hunger Project Bangladesh has worked closely with for years. With your purchase, you are enabling the employment of Bangladeshi women so that they can earn an income and support their families during this challenging time.   
  • Peeplcoach programs — Until December 31st 2020, Peeplcoach will be investing a huge $100 for each of the first 50 new participants who sign up for one of their career development programs — perfect for levelling up your team in 2021!
  • Give the gift of hope and certainty and double your impact —  we invite you to create a world that works for everyone this Christmas to 16.5 million people living in hunger and poverty. Your investment will be doubled thanks to our generous partner
  • Camilla lavender bags — Hand-crafted, silk bags filled with natural lavender, rose and chamomile flowers to sooth the senses, relax the body and ease your mind. All profits will be invested in The Butterfly Effect, an initiative by Camilla and THP contributing to building a brighter future for young girls in India. Available in-store only — find your nearest store.
  • Sarah Browett Coaching — Sarah is offering 20% off on all coaching and mindset courses until the end of the year, as well as investing 10% from every course in THP.

Don’t miss out on these gorgeous gifts from our partners this year!

The Bangladeshi tailors behind our facemasks.

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You can now purchase one of our facemasks made with love in Bangladesh and enable the employment of Bangladeshi women so that they can earn an income and support their families during this challenging time. These beautiful limited-edition, handmade face masks have been made with love by tailors that The Hunger Project Bangladesh has worked closely with for years. Meet the women who made them.

Mahfuza Rimi

Mahfuza is the sole breadwinner in her house, caring solo for her two teenage children since her recent divorce after 21 years. Just 2 years ago she took the brave step of opening up a small shop and offering her services as a tailor, a craft she’s been dedicated to for 15 years. Being from a remote village, running her own business in the city was a steep learning curve, and despite earning some income through it, it’s never enough to cover her family and business expenses. Now with the pandemic, orders have completely dried up, putting pressure on her and her employees who also depend on the shop for their livelihoods. She believes through this partnership with THP Australia and accessing a new customer base for her work, she will be able to earn what she needs to look after her family! 

Munira Begum

Munira has been married to her husband for 30 years. Together, they have two children. Munira’s husband has been sick for many years and is unable to work, so she is the sole breadwinner for her family The whole family depends on the income that Munira earns as a tailor. The pandemic has made it more difficult than ever before for Munira to earn an income as tailoring orders come to a near standstill. This partnership means that Munira can continue to run her business, earn an income and support her family. 


Support Munira and Mahfuza by purchasing a facemask today!

Reforestation and Tree Planting in Ethiopia

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In the Machakel region of northeastern Ethiopia, the grass grows well and the hills are green during the rainy season. However, there was also significant soil erosion on the hills. Due to the erosion, deep channels stripped of vegetation were worn into the otherwise green landscape. Almost all of the native forest on the hills was cut down and the soil depleted, resulting in crop failures and food insecurity.

Since 2017, The Hunger Project Ethiopia and WeForest have been working together to fight erosion in the area. WeForest is an organisation that empowers communities to sustainably advance and implement lasting solutions to restore forest landscapes.

“Population pressure has increased. Large areas of forest have been cut to create more agricultural land. As a result, the soil isn’t retained as well. Because of climate change, the rains are getting heavier — large areas of land simply wash away,” says Dr. Aklilu, Forestry Expert at WeForest.

“WeForest has a lot of expertise about forest planting and forest management. The Hunger Project is strong in engaging and mobilising the community. This is desperately needed, because we need action from our village partners in the area. It is ultimately in the interest of the people themselves that erosion is tackled, and we want to achieve that together,” he says.

Our village partners in Machakel play a crucial role in the collaboration, contributing with:

1. Land – they make communal land available for forest planting, instead of grazing cattle

2. Time – they unite in committees, assist in planting seedlings and protecting plants

3. Selection of trees – instead of planting popular, exotic trees such as eucalyptus, they now plant protected, native trees

“The most important thing for me is that we create a better living environment for all of us and counteract the effects of climate change. The children that I will probably have [in the future], must also be able to live here” – Gizachen Buyu, The Hunger Project village partner.

Now, grass has regrown to knee height and trees have grown where erosion channels used to be. The countryside has recovered.


• Seedlings were grown in three nurseries in the region

• Our village partners formed 60 farmer committees

• 530 hectares of community land was made available for forest and planting (where previously it had been used for livestock grazing)

• More than 1 million trees have been planted

• Farmers have planted 735,000 fruit trees and fruit-bearing shrubs on their own land, so that 270 hectares of land is now used for agroforestry

Invest in a sustainable future and food security for families here.

35 years investing with The Hunger Project!

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George Phillipos: Investment and Financial Adviser

“My vision for the world is a greater level of peace overall; specifically, for The Hunger Project – to achieve the goal of eliminating chronic, persistent hunger. 

My interest in The Hunger Project goes back to when I was 14 years of age. I picked up a magazine at the bus station here in Perth. In those days you saw famine, particularly in Biafra, the region in Nigeria. I could not understand that there’s enough food production in the world and where there was not sufficient distribution, people would needlessly suffer.

Back in those days, there was probably three billion people in the world, now it’s more than seven billion people, so that’s where my motivation initially came from. I could not understand how people could turn a blind eye to that type of unnecessary suffering.

I invest in The Hunger Project because it is more focused on getting to the root causes of chronic, persistent hunger than any group I know. I appreciate the unique Epicentre Strategy, the wonderful people The Hunger Project works with, how they source investors and work with integrity, honesty and inclusivity. I really value the work The Hunger Project is doing. It’s our humanity – you have to help lift every human being up.

Sustainability is very important. If you find a solution to something, you don’t want to go back and do it all over again. The Hunger Project is uniquely focused on that. Educating people is one of the most sustainable things that we can do. In Grade 7, there was a chart on the wall of my Primary School classroom and I will never forget the words it said: ‘Education is the key’. To lift people out of chronic hunger and poverty, education is the key.”

George Phillipos has invested in The Hunger Project since 1985.

Find out how you can join us on the journey to end hunger here.