Celebrating Earth Day 2016: Trees for Earth

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This Earth Day, The Hunger Project stands with billions of others around the world to celebrate the earth and advocate for a protected, valued and sustainable environment for the future. The theme of this year’s Earth Day, “Trees for the Earth,” sets the goal of planting 7.8 billion trees over the next five years.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, and comes on the heels of the historic COP21 Summit in Paris last year, in which more than 190 countries came together to achieve an historic, legally binding agreement to combat climate change. We also witnessed the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with Goal 13 setting specific targets to address climate change, pollution, deforestation and clean water by the year 2030.

Join us in taking a stand to stop the damage being done to our planet and creating a healthier environment for future living. Protecting and restoring our natural environment is fundamental to ending hunger and poverty. People living in hunger and poverty, particularly in rural areas, are the most vulnerable to environmental degradation – whether from devastating weather patterns, soil erosion or water pollution. When people live in healthier environments, they have improved health outcomes. The Hunger Project works to raise awareness and build rural communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change, promote sustainable farming practices and more.

What We Do:

  • Raise awareness of and build the capacity to adapt to climate change. The Hunger Project holds workshops to build our partners’ capacity to exercise leadership, take steps to increase their resilience and formulate strategies to mitigate climate change risks. At the regional and international levels, we also advocate for the conservation of natural resources, the mitigation of the harmful effects of extractive industries, and the recovery and promotion of traditional knowledge and technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions. The Hunger Project-Mexico’s regional coordinator Margarita Ruiz Lopez, and our Peruvian partner Tarcila Rivera Zea, founder of Chirapaq, joined world leaders in discussing climate change in Paris at the COP21 Summit.        
  • Increase the use of renewable energy. The Hunger Project-Senegal’s Coki Epicenter’s Rural Bank, for example, partnered with the National Agency of Eco-Villages (ANEV) and the Japanese International Cooperation on a program that promotes the use of biodigesters that convert waste into renewable energy. Biodigesters help reduce methane emissions and prevent it from being released into the atmosphere. In addition, in Mexico, a rainwater harvesting system—built and managed by our partners—collects water and does not require energy to operate.
  • Promote sustainable farming practices. At our epicenters in Africa, The Hunger Project’s partners create community farms, where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods, like drip irrigation, to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources. In Uganda, Kiboga Epicenter has implemented Farmer Field Schools where partners can learn about agriculture in a way that enables them adapt to the harsh realities of climate change.
  •         Increase access to sustainable agriculture technology. The Hunger Project provides training and credit, mobilising people to adopt sustainable agricultural technology and practices, and encourages communities to demand agricultural extension services from their government.
  •         Promote the use of clean air through “green stoves.” The Hunger Project launched a “clean stoves” or “green stoves” project in four communities in the Mazateca region of Mexico following an earlier pilot project with non-profit partner Water for Humans. Traditional stoves in the villages where we work in Mexico fill houses with smoke that the whole family breathes in, creating poor health conditions from poor air quality. They also consume a lot of wood. These clean stoves are designed to remove smoke from the house, and use less wood. The communities were involved in the process of fundraising, planning and construction.  Water for Humans trained local volunteer “promoters” on how to build and fix the clean stoves, keeping expertise and knowledge in the region.
  •         Facilitate reforestation and tree planting campaigns. Throughout our program countries, trained Hunger Project partners establish tree nurseries, which reforest their communities, control soil erosion, and create entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon, but also provide nutrition and income. In Bangladesh for example, trained leaders, called “animators,” and volunteer students lead community reforestation efforts by mobilising mass-action tree-planting campaigns.
  •         Ensure access to clean water. Water project boards, made up of community leaders, are trained by experts to monitor, maintain and repair water systems. Community partners are trained to use and repair water pumps and generators, and a core group of local leaders lead workshops on WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) throughout the community to expand grassroots knowledge and promote water safety practices. In Mozambique, our partners in Chokwe Epicenter were able to provide access to clean water in their community, where women would previously have to walk 1.5 miles every day to find clean drinking water.

What You Can do:

  • Invest now in The Hunger Project Australia to build resilient, environmentally friendly communities
  • Share our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about Earth Day
  • Plant a tree. Learn more.

Meet our new CEO, Melanie Noden

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Ending hunger by 2030 is an enormous task, but the National Board of The Hunger Project Australia has found the perfect woman for the job, to succeed the long-standing visionary CEO Cathy Burke and further the incredible work she has achieved. Melanie Noden’s vision and aspiration for the organisation will carry The Hunger Project Australia further in their mission with the inspirational team by her side.

Originally from an investment banking background (15 year career with Deutsche Bank in Australia and London and 5 years as a Solicitor with Allens Arthur Robinson), Melanie transitioned to the non-for-profit sector and became the CEO of the Asylum Seekers Centre. During the 4 years with the organisation, she successfully established a sound financial platform at the organisation, through a combination of fundraising, media positioning and lobbying and increased the number of clients served by 500%.

Upon accepting the new role as CEO of THPA, Melanie said, “I am honored to be appointed as the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia. With a unique and holistic approach which empowers people to become agents of their own change.”

Melanie has a huge passion and belief in social justice, equity and the health and well-being of all people and has used her professional skills and qualifications to provide pro bono work for a range of not-for-profit organisations throughout her career.  

“I eagerly look forward to working with a passionate and committed group of colleagues, investors and friends to make further progress in achieving our aim by 2030,” says Melanie.

Cathy Burke, the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia for 18 years, will be moving on to new and exciting opportunities within the organisation in a global capacity. She will be expanding her influence, knowledge and leadership within The Hunger Project by taking on the role of Global Vice President and Global Leader of Partnerships.

“I am so grateful for the many years I have had as CEO at The Hunger Project Australia. I am proud of the organisation that has been built, and the difference it has made to the lives of millions of the poorest people,” says Cathy.

Melanie Noden will commence in her role as the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia on 26 April, 2016.

Our Corporate Leadership Immersion Program in India

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At the end of March, The Hunger Project and our long-term corporate partner, Sovereign Insurance (NZ), embarked on a transformational one-week Leadership Immersion Program in the Chattarpur District of Madhya Pradesh, India.

Our group including 20 Sovereign staff members from all areas of the organisation spent three days in the field, visiting some of the poorest Panchayats (villages) in the region. With the facilitation of The Hunger Project India, the Sovereign team were introduced to Elected Women Representatives (EWRs), a group of courageous and bold community leaders, committed to changing the stigma of women’s roles in their communities.

These inspirational women challenge the norm and injustice that faces their villages. Their amazing achievements include having schools built in the most impoverished Panchayats, clean water pumps installed where fresh water streams are too polluted to drink from and raising awareness of social issues such as child marriage and treatment of women within a patriarchal society. These women truly are ‘Unlikely Leaders’.

During these 3 days in the field, the Sovereign team had the opportunity to sit in on THP training sessions with the EWR’s, hear their individual stories of what they have had to overcome, what they have achieved for their communities and to truly connect with these women over this time that they spent with them.

The trip was lead by our CEO Cathy Burke and trip facilitators Karen James and Miles Protter. The Sovereign Team have now returned to New Zealand armed with transformational leadership skills, insights and an action plan to take their organisation to the next level for their staff, stakeholders and customers.

The sky’s the limit!

Vision in action in Mexico

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Via Millie Allbon, our Director of Programs and Partnerships

“Having just returned from Mexico where I have seen the work of The Hunger Project in action, I saw first hand the ‘power’ of a clear vision. I visited Genova, a remote, rural indigenous village located on top of a steep mountain, that only last year turned the switch on and brought electricity to their village. Flash back to 2010 and this was not even thought possible, even the government said so.

How did they achieve this? Through the power of creating a clear vision during a series of Vision, Commitment and Action workshops. What’s your vision? What switch could you be turning on? 

I invite you to join me at the launch of the Australian version of the Vision, Commitment and Action workshops. Can’t wait to see you there!”





·       PERTH MON 9 NOV

·       SYDNEY WED 11 NOV



TICKETS NOW ON SALE for the Australian VCA launch events HERE

Soap making entrepreneurs

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These women are from our Matsekope Epicentre in Ghana. They have a soap making business together. They’ve taken a collective microfinance loan from The Hunger Project to run their business and they put the profits back into the business or divide them up to help support their families. Mostly, they sell their products at the local market. They’re savvy businesswomen, and have worked out which colours of soaps have sold better than others!

Miracle Tree Combats Malnutrition in Africa

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Often called “the miracle tree,” moringa offers benefits far greater than your average tree because its leaves are packed with more vitamins and minerals than most foods we know. The tree is extremely rich in protein, vitamins A, B and C and other minerals that are key to combating malnutrition. Eaten as a vegetable course during meals,moringa leaves improve childhood nutrition, birth weights and the quality of breast milk. 

That’s why in countries across Africa, The Hunger Project and its volunteer leaders educate communities about the benefits of this power food, train them how to cook with it, and mobilize communities to create moringa nurseries and work in factories to produce moringa powder.

This training is part of a larger program to educate community members—especially pregnant and nursing mothers and young children—about health and nutrition. By breaking the cycle of malnutrition from the start, healthy mothers deliver healthy babies who can grow into healthy, productive adults.

Increasing Crop Profits In Africa

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Did you know that turning peanuts into peanut butter yields a ten-fold increase in profit? That’s why The Hunger Project trains farmers to add value to their crops.

Another of our strategies is to bring farmers together in collectives so they can offer produce at a scale that attracts the attention of bigger customers. For example, farmers at some of our Epicentres in Burkina Faso and Senegal sell their produce to the World Food Program and UNICEF, opening up their crops, yields and farms to global markets and international exports.

Making this news even more positive is the fact that farmers who’ve worked with THP’s Epicentres are now generating higher income for themselves and their families while helping out international NGOs. Pretty amazing!

Invest in people across Africa, India and Bangladesh and help end hunger.