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The Sustainable End of Hunger Happens Locally, New UN Report Released

783 million people are living in hunger. Rural communities hold the answer.

This year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) Report, launched July 12, 2023, revealed that up to 783 million people around the world are living in hunger. While this remains relatively unchanged* from the previous year, factors such as conflict, poverty, climate, economic shocks and COVID-19 have made it unlikely that we will meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger without significant changes to our global and local food systems.

In line with this year’s SOFI Report findings, we at The Hunger Project know that the global food crisis demands a bold, comprehensive, locally-led approach that addresses the complex issues that intersect with hunger, such as gender equalityaccess to educationthe digital divideconflict and climate action in community development. Across the rural communities we work with in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, we have seen the development of sustainable, equitable food systems — locally-led systems in which every person has reliable access to nutritious food. We know that, through radical collaboration, a world without hunger is possible.

What can you do?

Communities have the answers, but they are often denied access to the resources needed to take action. Individuals and civil society organisations need to call on governments and the private sector to allocate meaningful resources to sustainable, community-led solutions.

Notable Findings from SOFI 2023
  • Up to 783 million people in the world live in hunger.
  • In Africa, 1 in 4 people face hunger, more than double the world average.
  • Approximately 630 million people will be chronically undernourished in 2030.
  • 27.8% of adult women are moderately or severely food insecure, compared with 25.4% of men.
  • Nearly 148.1 million children under five years of age (22.3%) are stunted, and 45 million (6.8%) face wasting
  • The majority of the people living with chronic hunger today are women, as 27.8% of adult women facing chronic food insecurity were moderately or severely food insecure, compared with 25.4% of men.
Investing Rurally is Investing Globally

This year’s report highlights how locally-led solutions in rural areas are critical to addressing the hunger crisis globally. As Alvaro Lario, President of International Fund for Agricultural Development, said during the SOFI 2023 Launch Session, “Investing in rural development is key to reducing poverty and hunger in rural, urban and peri-urban areas alike.” Rapid urbanization often leads to the neglect of rural areas, resulting in limited access to markets and services, further deepening food insecurity. Strengthening linkages between urban and rural areas is crucial for addressing global hunger.

Creating sustainable, interconnected systems requires full participation from those living across the rural-urban continuum. SOFI 2023 reaffirms the importance of local leadership, declaring that development will only be sustainable when people have the right tools and resources to lead their own development. Hunger Project programs build a path to self-reliance by leveraging local partnerships and positioning women as change agents to enable communities to develop their own solutions to unique challenges.

Calling for a Coordinated Approach

The report also calls for coordinated investment by governments, civil society and the private sector in ending hunger in rural areas as a tactic for preventing hunger in urban areas. At The Hunger Project, we are committed to forging partnerships with grassroots organisations, government leaders and communities around the world. We employ a holistic approach that empowers women, mobilizes communities and foster partnerships with governments to end hunger and poverty.

A one-size-fits-all approach often falls short in addressing the diverse factors contributing to hunger. As Director General Qu Dongyu of the FAO said at the SOFI 2023 event, “Solutions should be localized and transformed to meet local context.”

Gender Gap Progress

In positive developments, the report elevated progress in gender-based food insecurity at the global level. In the wake of the pandemic, gendered-based food insecurity in 2021 rose to 3.8 percentage points. In 2022, reporting finds that it has declined to 2.4 percentage points. A global emphasis on the importance of women continues to create a new future of possibility.

Why Local Context Matters

Engaging local communities and stakeholders in the design and implementation of solutions is essential for their success and sustainability. By understanding the local ecosystems, cultural practices and socio-economic dynamics, we can develop context-specific interventions that effectively tackle hunger and strengthen resilience. Localization also involves recognizing and leveraging traditional knowledge and indigenous practices that have sustained communities for generations. By harnessing technology, empowering individuals with relevant skills and tailoring interventions to local contexts, we can forge a more equitable and resilient food system.

By bridging efforts and enacting change within governments, food systems, education, health and communities, our work at The Hunger Project lays the groundwork for sustainable progress leading to self-reliance.

Widespread hunger signifies deep-rooted challenges and exposes vulnerabilities in our current food production, distribution and consumption patterns. Understanding these implications is crucial for addressing the global food crisis and shaping an equitable and sustainable food system. This year’s SOFI Report explores those implications and proposes a coordinated path forward for all of us.


Photo: Bangladesh, 2022, Photo for The Hunger Project.

The 2023 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report was published on July 12, 2023, jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organisation 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 Organisation (WHO).

*Though this number is lower than last year’s report, SOFI 2023 reporting agencies caution against perceiving this as an objective reduction in hunger. Reporting gaps from key regions may not be presenting a comprehensive picture.

Ethiopia: Having coffee with the community

After Zambia, it was onto Ethiopia and to the Buye Epicentre, which is the site for one of the next Water First projects. Water First was an idea born from one of our Global Investors, Daniel Petre who saw a need to bring water sources closer to villages; and the reason was two-fold. 

The most obvious benefit of having water closer to the community is ease of access, which means better sanitation and health practices. But the other less clear benefit is having water close by means less sexual assault of women and young girls. If you have a young girl walking 10 km on her own on a remote track to get water, she is highly vulnerable. In Uganda, we are getting reports that they are seeing a decrease in teenage pregnancy when water is close by. It is confronting to think about, but it is the reality in Africa, and we are fortunate to have Investors like the Petre Foundation who don’t shy away from this problem, but instead are focused on funding solutions. 

Ethiopia doesn’t quite approach Epicentres like some of our other program countries in Africa. They do not build infrastructure but rather focus on community mobilisation. It was amazing to spend time in the community and to listen to their challenges and to hear about the work that they’re putting in.

We started working with this community about four years ago and this will be another powerful opportunity for us to support them. This water project is going to make such a massive difference to the people in this community – it’s a vast area that encompasses three large villages with around 12,000 people.

We heard stories about how they walk 1.5 hours round-trip to collect water. Each household needs around 7 to 8 jerry cans of water for their animals and themselves. 

It’s one of the most remote places I think I’ve ever been to – ever. After we visited some of the potential Borehole sites, the villagers then invited us to one of their homes for an incredible meal of Injera and beautiful curries and drinks followed by coffee – always superb! All of it was absolutely amazing including the local spirit that we HAD to drink! 

The Hunger Project Ethiopia Country Leader Teshome Shibru and his team are doing some very powerful work and it was also an opportunity for me to learn and listen to their approach that is focused on nature and the environment. These projects protect and enrich existing forests, through assisted natural regeneration and other tree-based landscape restoration interventions. Tree-based restoration initiatives will contribute to raising smallholders’ incomes and help communities mitigate the effects of climate change. 

I also spent some time visiting communities whose main crop is coffee, I got to see where our fancy and expensive single-origin coffee comes from. I was taken by the huge disconnect and disparity between the places where these items are grown and where they are consumed, and this is reflected in prices that are passed onto largely Western consumers but unfortunately, the local growers do not see the financial benefit. It was tempting to start a Hunger Project social impact coffee business to somehow try and address this imbalance… who’s in?

I left Ethiopia with an absolute desire to continue to support their work.

828 million people currently face chronic, persistent hunger: World Hunger Day 2023

Today (Sunday, May 28) is World Hunger Day, a time to draw attention to the sobering fact that over 828 million people currently face chronic, persistent hunger – a sharp 22% increase since 2019.[1]

That statistic alone might turn your attention to something more personal such as thinking about your next meal, or which café to meet at later – my words are not here to induce guilt, but to shine a light on a part of the world you might not hear about often.

In Uganda, where I live, the reality of a country plagued by hunger and poverty is hard to ignore. Hunger robs my people of their dignity – I don’t have the luxury to turn away but instead, I embrace the opportunity to make a difference.

I grew up in one of the famous slums of Kampala city. My home was that part of the city where poverty, hunger and crime were rife; but it is also where I learnt to be creative, courageous and compassionate.

Deep in my imagination, I always conceived a world without hunger. My earlier life prepared me to embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities that would open a door into a more sustainable future. A future where hunger was just a story to be told.

Human nature thrives on sharing; there is enough for everyone irrespective of geographical boundaries. My mother taught me this lesson earlier in life. She always shared the little food we had with neighbours. That to me was a humanist view of abundance. An abundant mindset that turns scarcity into opportunities.

But for too long, there has been greed. How can we expect individuals to win against hunger when the game has been rigged for so long?

Here are a few examples that come to mind when I think about unsustainable systems.

Personal wealth is concentrated with just a tiny percent of an exploding world population;

Population growth is higher in developing countries, [2]while resource consumption and pollution is higher in developed countries;[3]

Climate change destroying food systems in Africa and Asia, while the global north create around a third of greenhouse gas emissions.[4]

World Hunger Day was pioneered by The Hunger Project to ensure that the world does not lose sight of the plight of our brothers and sisters bearing the brunt of world hunger and poverty. According to the UN, 20% of Africa’s entire population is facing hunger right now.[5]

Ending hunger is possible. I see the possibilities in my work every day, in the resilience and ingenuity of people.

But we also need to cause disruptions in longstanding systems that are causing hunger to persist.

To end hunger, we see the benefits in amplifying local voices and leadership around sustainable food practices, such as growing local through the promotion of eco-friendly farming systems and promoting technology innovation to reduce food loss both on farm and during post-harvest.

We are promoting the use of community seed banks to preserve indigenous seed varieties as well as improve storage. We’re promoting value addition to increase nutrient content in food, so that children may thrive. We’re raising awareness around the importance of biodiversity in enhancing productivity as well as working with communities to develop community adaptation plan to mitigate climate change impacts.

We believe this is how we create a world without hunger. It’s a longer-term approach that requires ongoing investment but truly represents sustainability on a global scale.

Author: Irene Naikaali Ssentongo – Country Director – The Hunger Project Australia






Bringing Solar to communities in Zambia


I’ve been fortunate to have spent some time recently in Africa, with a week in Zambia and a week in Ethiopia. Here’s part one with an update on our work in Zambia.

As CEO, part of my role is to help support and secure funding for projects in the communities we work. There is no substitute for going to meet with our community partners and understand the need and context for such projects in person – and really get a sense of the very real and positive impact our work has in these countries. 

I travelled to Zambia with Nikki McCullagh, one of our Major Investors who has been the key supporter in our Zambian outreach through the Patter Foundation. There we met Rowlands Kaotcha, Vice-President for The Hunger Project’s Africa operations and our local team. While we were there, we had a progress update on the Epicentre build. While there have definitely been some challenges, it was great to see that the project is to be delivered later this year. We spent some time in Chipata and met with the local government official – an incredibly smart, powerful and articulate woman who said, “educate a woman and feed a nation.” That has really stuck with me and reaffirms the approach we have taken in working with women and girls. We then travelled to Vubwe, an epic drive on a road that has been made more degraded by the recent rains that broke the terrible drought Zambia had been in for the past few years.  


One of the highlights was the full day of community visits which is a chance to meet and connect with leadership from the Epicentre Committee and spend time with community members. We visited multiple villages, and I was thankful to be invited into people’s homes and hear how The Hunger Project has transformed their thinking and their quality of life.  We were privileged to be able to join a community savings meeting at Musiya village which is approximately 20 minutes by car from the Epicentre and close to the border of Malawi. It’s a simple and powerful process and allows the community to borrow funds and invest them in entrepreneurial activities that lead to being able to better provide for their families. They also have a separate fund that they all contribute to for area of need for the wider community. Amazingly, because of the proximity to the border, they manage their accounts in both Malawian & Zambian Kwotcha! 


I loved meeting the head nurse, who is now living in the purpose-built nurses’ quarters. The clinic still has a way to go but it was a promising start. We met with some solar power providers so that the Epicentre doesn’t need to rely on connecting to the grid and also supported the recruitment for the field officer role. The very capable Emmanuel has started and is already doing a fantastic job. 

I feel so fortunate to be able to see the programs in action and observe the incredible work that the community leadership and individuals are putting in.  

Kenshunga Epicentre is now Self-Reliant!

We’re pleased to announce that the Kenshunga Epicentre in Uganda is now Self-Reliant!

The period between 2009 and 2022 has been one of transformation in both the social and economic lives of the community partners at KenshungaEpicentre.

Irene Naikaali Country Director, The Hunger Project Uganda


Bulamagi Epicentre is now Self-Reliant!

We’re pleased to announce that the Bulamagi Epicentre in Uganda is now Self-Reliant!

Reaching Self-Reliance is an important collective achievement, and we wish to acknowledge the Bulamagi community for their strength, intelligence, and tenacity in reaching this key milestone.

Philippe Magid, The Hunger Project Australia CEO


2022 Gift Guide

Here at The Hunger Project Australia, we’re grateful to all of our partners that have committed to supporting our work and ending hunger.

We absolutely love the brands we work with and their products – and we know you will too! So if you’re looking for a last-minute gift for any of your loved ones – check out the THPA curated gift guide for the perfect gift that also gives back!

Hey Tiger Chocolate

The most delicious, high-quality chocolate in town comes in a range of unique, fun flavours. Hey Tiger Chocolate is the perfect gift idea – not only is each bar wrapped with beautiful packaging, but the sale of each bar supports The Hunger Project’s work in Ghana. 

Bared Footwear

Bared Footwear has crafted some seriously soft and sustainable bamboo THP Invisible Socks. $10 from every pack sold is invested in The Hunger Project. And if you don’t already own some, the Bared THP Hornbill Sneakers are the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one with $50 from every pair supporting our work in Malawi. 

THP x Kinnon Card Holders

Kinnon’s luxury leather card holders are a great gift for both men and women, with 50% of the proceeds invested in The Hunger Project’s work.

Wash Wild Hand Sanitiser, Hand Wash and Body Wash

Wash Wild has generously donated 50c from every bottle of Hand Sanitiser, Hand Wash, and Body Wash to The Hunger Project. They’re a beautiful blend of Australian native oils that not only smells and feels amazing, but is highly effective in killing germs and bacteria. 


Check out Decjuba’s online store or head into one of their retail stores for last-minute gift ideas. From fashion, activewear, and shoes to accessories there are so many beautiful gift ideas.   

Madame Flavour Tea

You might have tasted the Madame Flavour Deeply Relaxing Camomile Tea if you purchased our Mother’s Day Hamper earlier in the year. Madame Flavour has a beautiful range of high-quality tea – so if you haven’t tried them, head to their online store or grab a box at your local Woolworths or Coles. 

Random Harvest

Random Harvest generously donated their renowned Caramelised Balsamic Vinegar for our Christmas Pop-Up and now we’re obsessed! If you haven’t tried it already or tasted their full range of delicious gourmet dressing and condiments, head over to their online store today! 

Charlie’s Fine Food Co

What better gift this holiday season than some delicious cookies and biscuits? Goods from Charlie’s Fine Food Co were a hit at our Christmas Pop-Up, so next time you’re in Woolworths pop some into your shopping basket! 


Not only do Breville have beautiful kitchen appliances but they also have great kitchen accessories such as their gorgeous Coffee Glasses

Endota Spa

Did you know Endota has its own skincare line? You might have come across their Intense Moisturise Mask in our Mother’s Day Hamper and at our Christmas Pop-Up. If you haven’t already go check out their range, they have gift packs as well as stocking fillers for under $30. 


The reusable and sustainable brand Huskee has supported The Hunger Project by donating their beautiful reusable cups for different initiatives throughout the year. The cups are made out of coffee husks to help reduce the amount of waste in the coffee industry and we love them for our morning coffees.  

Peppermint Grove

From candles, skincare, bath products and room diffusers, Peppermint Grove creates the most beautiful fragrances. They have been supporting The Hunger Project through the donation of products at our different initiatives, so if you haven’t already, check them out! We are obsessed with the Lychee and Peony Scented Candles that we sold at our Christmas Pop-Up. 


A long-time supporter of The Hunger Project, Camilla creates beautiful clothing and accessories for women. If you are after a beautiful gift to impress, head to their online store or one of their retail stores near you.  


Sustainable fashion brand, Alkam has created THP scrunchies from fabric offcuts to reduce waste. 100% of the profits from scrunchie sales are invested in our work. 

Mullin Mulled Wine Infusers

A new brand in town is creating delicious Mulled Wine Infusers. We were lucky enough to sell some at our Christmas Pop-Up. Each infuser is filled with a vibrant blend of rich spices and bright citrus, ethically sourced from Fairtrade farms in Sri Lanka.  

Introducing Philippe Magid, Our New CEO

We’re pleased to share this letter from Diane Grady, Chair of The Hunger Project Australia’s Board announcing the appointment of Philippe Magid as the new CEO of The Hunger Project Australia. 

The Board of The Hunger Project Australia is delighted to announce the appointment of Philippe Magid as our new CEO effective May 23, 2022.  Philippe will take over from Melanie Noden who, after leading us so capably for nearly seven years, has been appointed CEO of Australian Philanthropic Services.   

Philippe was appointed after a thorough search process that resulted in several outstanding candidates being carefully considered.  We chose Philippe because of his proven track record as a CEO, his skills in fundraising and marketing, and his ability to inspire staff and investors to engage deeply with our purpose—to end hunger and poverty – you can read a brief version of Philippe’s CV here. 

As the former Executive Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Philippes natural empathy enabled authentic connection with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and leaders. In that role, he initiated immersion programs for investors in first nation communities which resulted in significant giving. In the same manner, we believe Philippe will build meaningful relationships with both our investors and with people in our women-centred programs in Africa, India and Bangladesh.   

Philippe also has experience working in an international organisation as the Global Director, Arts and Culture Experiences for Airbnb which will assist him in understanding and working with the global Hunger Project team based in New York. His time as CEO of Reach Foundation—a youth-oriented NFP– will also enable him to contribute to one of The Hunger Projects new global initiatives aimed at empowering young people.   

As a fundraiser, Philippe has excelled at understanding what motivates individual investors and as a result, he is able to develop genuine connections with them. He has also been successful in securing government grants for the organisations he’s led.   

Philippe is recognised as a team builder eager to get to know each member of staff and agree on appropriate goals and development opportunities with them. He is committed to operational excellence and driving performance based on facts.   

In summary, we believe Philippe is the right person to guide THPA on our path to realizing our aspiration to significantly lift our fundraising to reach AU$50 million and thereby assist millions of people to achieve a life without hunger.   

When asked why he chose to join The Hunger Project team Philippe said:  

“I am thrilled to be leading The Hunger Project in Australia and to build on the powerful impact The Hunger Project is having, and to collaborate with you all in order to significantly broaden and deepen our impact over the coming years. Right now, The Hunger Project’s work and your support is needed more than ever. It is such a critically important time for the communities we support and work closely with.” 

We look forward to you meeting Philippe in person before too long.  In the meantime, if you havent done so already, please consider investing in our End of Financial Year campaign.  Your contribution would provide both a meaningful farewell to Melanie and welcome to Philippe.  

All the best and thank you for your ongoing support,

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.