Ending Hunger In India

How donating to The Hunger Project helps people in India

Over the past sixty years, India has made significant progress in human development. However, this progress is not felt equally, with India being home to one-third of the world’s poor. Even so, in this timespan, adult literacy has more than quadrupled and life expectancy has nearly doubled.

In the period between 2005 and 2010, a total of 53 million people were lifted from poverty. Even so, in 2010 69% still lived on less than US $2 a day, and 33% on less than US $1.25 a day. The national goal of increased shared prosperity means more than lifting people out of poverty. It means creating sustainable change.

India has several structural challenges that it must overcome so as to sustain a population outside of poverty. Gender inequality is one such pervasive issue. Another example is that of India holding one-third of the world’s illiterate, making educational attainment a key goal for The Hunger Project.

Self- Reliance: what is it and how does it help?

When it comes to ending hunger, donating to The Hunger Project helps women, men, and children achieve happier and healthier lives through the method of Self-Reliance. Established in India in 1984, The Hunger Project currently works across six states delivering the best sustainable solutions, in collaboration with the communities that we work in.

Engaging the Strength of Village Councils in India

There is great strength in India’s constitutionally mandated and elected village councils for meeting basic needs. These village councils are based on ancient traditions of local self-government.

The Hunger Project aims to engage these councils by pioneering strategies that mobilise people for self-reliant action.

  • Empowering women as key change agents and to be effective leaders towards self-reliant action
  • Engaging with local government through one comprehensive strategy, the Panchayati Raj Campaign.

In 1992, one-third of all seats in panchayats (village councils) were reserved for women. This came as a result of the 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution. This brought more than one million women into elected office and that is where The Hunger Project comes in. Donating to end hunger in India through The Hunger Project will empower these women to become effective leaders in their communities.

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Facts About the Effects of Hunger in India

Some of the challenges India faces today that exacerbate hunger:

  • Gender inequality: Despite the steady incline of economic growth seen in India, gender inequality is pervasive. Labour force participation of women has seen a decline, violence against women has seen an upward trend and the cultural preference for sons are just some of the things that place into this structural inequality.
  • Child marriage: Stemming from the issue of gender inequality is child marriage – a very prevalent issue in India. Annually, it is estimated that 1.5 million girls under the age of 18 get married in India. In fact, India accounts for a third of the international total of child brides.
  • Lack of access to water in rural communities: 50% of people in India currently have no access to safe drinking water, with 200,000 people dying annually due to this lack of access.

How donations end hunger in India

Together with your partnership, The Hunger Project’s impact towards eradicating extreme poverty and hunger in India has been two-fold:

  1. The enhancement of the overall capacities of the Elected Women Representatives that are trained by The Hunger Project over a period of five years
  2. Measuring the overall impact an Elected Women Representative has on her respective locale and the overall progress she brings to it

How donating fights COVID-19 in India

Hunger Project staff and local elected women leaders and adolescent girls, trained by The Hunger Project, are equipping their communities with reliable information and connecting them with needed services.

In 2020 these leaders:

  • Engaged 42,000 people through COVID-19 Awareness and Prevention Campaigns
  • Reached 74 million people with radio broadcasts that talked on public health and food security
  • Shared critical information with 500,000 people that dispelled myths and addressed vaccination resistance.

In 2021 and beyond, these networks continue their work, continuing their past work and taking on new tasks such as:

  • Addressing violence against women and girls through raising awareness about government and police helplines as a response to the 15% surge in distress calls in the second wave.
  • Conducting door-to-door surveys as a means to monitor the health and symptoms of those that are COVID-19 positive, providing medical kits, and ensuring that protocol is followed.
  • Ensuring government food distribution and public welfare schemes reach those most in need.

Development and empowerment of women in India

The 73rd Amendment presented a new set of opportunities for women’s empowerment in India. The Hunger Project has since worked to build leadership skills amongst women who have systematically been denied:

  • Information
  • Freedom of motion
  • A voice in decision making.

The overarching goal of our focus on leadership development is that at the end of our involvement, women in the community will better lead, own, and shape development processes that prioritise basic services. These basic services include water, education, sanitation, health care, and an efficient food system. Donate to end hunger in India and you will be empowering women in India.

Women’s Leadership Workshops (WLWs)

The first significant capacity-building initiative of The Hunger Project’s five-year cycle are Women’s Leadership Workshops (WLWs). This work takes place with first-time elected women representative (EWRs). These participatory workshops take place over three days, and aim to build the confidence of EWRs. EWRs are provided with information and knowledge about their key responsibilities and roles in their Panchayats. This is the first step towards transformative leadership.

Empowering the Women Electorate

The Hunger Project runs a pre-election Strengthening Women’s Empowerment through Electoral Processes (SWEEP) to encourage voter participation and the election of women leaders. This occurs in the fifth year of a state’s panchayat election cycle. Some SWEEP programs include:

  • Training
  • Campaigns
  • Identification of potential leaders’ meetings
  • Film screenings
  • Door-to-door engagement
  • Street plays
  • Distributing educational posters and pamphlets.

Federations for Democracy and Mutual Empowerment

The Hunger Project supports the formation of federations among their elected leaders. States like Odisha, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Rajasthan have seen women leaders create federations at both the block and state level to voice their concerns collectively.

Alliances, Advocacy, and Action

Through partnering with the local community, The Hunger Project works to create environments that promote safe and productive participation for women and other under-served populations in India’s electoral processes.

Particular topics around which EWRs and federations advocate include:

  • The Two-Child Norm
  • The Sumangali Scheme
  • Constitutional acts
  • Issues such as malnutrition, violence against women, and child rights

Knowledge-based workshops, Gender Resource Centers, workshops and campaigns are employed by The Hunger Project India to increase knowledge and awareness among EWRs.

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