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Africa

Rebecka’s business is sending her children to school

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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 sustainable palm oil and 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

I need to buy larger pots for the palm oil so that I can produce larger quantities. I’m quickly outgrowing myself. When I have paid off the latest loan, I want to take out another microfiance 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? Invest now and empower more women like Rebecka so they too can lift themselves and their families out of hunger.

Abraham Made His Children A Future

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Abraham Narh is a farmer and father of 8 children from rural Ghana. His children can’t go to school because they need to work on the family farm so they can produce enough crops to sell. This is not the life Abraham wants for his children.

Abraham’s vision was to make a future for his children. After partnering with The Hunger Project he was able to make his vision a reality.

On the farm the family grows corn, cassava, coconut and other vegetables, selling what they can at market. Abraham went to a workshop run by The Hunger Project and he learnt the importance of diversifying the crops he grows.

The THP workshop also taught Abraham about the benefits of microfinance loans, so he took one out at the the local Hunger Project Epicentre.

Using the new skills he learnt at the THP workshop, Abraham has been able to grow his crop yield beyond belief. He now has enough money that he can employ people to work on his farm, and his children can finally go to school.

Abraham has made his vision come to life and he has been able to make a future for his children.

“I want my children to decide their own future for themselves. I wasn’t that privileged, I want it better for my children,” Abraham said.

Invest now in changemakers like Abraham so they can make their vision for the future a reality.

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.

Meet Mr. Henderson

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We met Mr. Henderson on the Unlock Leadership Immersion Program in Malawi in November 2019.  

 Mr Henderson is 22 years old and is from Nsondole Epicentre. After receiving training from an Animator (local volunteer leader) trained by The Hunger Project, Mr Henderson began planting seeds in his garden.  

 Now, he proudly grows beans, peas, Chinese vegetables and tomatoes. Mr Henderson also sells the surplus vegetables that he has grown so that he can earn an income.  

“The Hunger Project taught me to plant different vegetables, so it gives my family different nutrients and we do not live in hunger. Now I don’t need to buy vegetables from other people”, he said.  

Mr. Henderson has also become a Nutrition Animator because he is passionate about passing on what he learnt to other community members including how to grow your own nutritious food and how to make compost manure.  

Mr Henderson’s garden acts as a demonstration for his neighbours and community that they too, can transform their lives.    

Ending hunger is our responsibility

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Words by Irene Ssentongo, Head of Programs at The Hunger Project Uganda.

The 2019 Global Hunger Index (GHI) indicates that the level of hunger and undernutrition worldwide falls within the moderate and serious categories. With a score of 30.6, Uganda suffers from a level of hunger that is classified as serious. Uganda produces more food than it consumes, yet stunting in children under five years stands at 29%.

Food is fundamental to human dignity and no human being can sustainably live on food aid. Families all around the world must be empowered to sustainably produce and consume nutritious food for their wellbeing. Why has hunger persisted in Uganda? Victor Hugo, a French poet and novelist said, “There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Ending hunger is not about finding more solutions nor doing something more. It is not about inventing new solutions nor is it about doing nothing. It is about causing the end of hunger on this planet by thinking out of the box.

There are unwritten laws that determine the persistence of hunger. These same laws keep people from working. It is also true that the principles that govern the end of hunger and poverty are the very principles that motivate people to get up and work. To better understand these hidden laws and principles one needs to examine and understand human nature specifically the unconscious assumptions and beliefs that shape our responses to the problem of hunger.

The first assumption relates to scarcity. We tend to perceive the world from the scarcity mindset. We have been raised to believe that everything of value is scarce and, therefore, needs to be safeguarded lest you lose it all. Food is not scarce, it is just the mindset that believes in the idea of scarcity.

The second assumption relates to inevitability. We perceive different conditions in the world as being inevitable. Many people believe that a fraction of the population will always be hungry irrespective of the efforts to free themselves.

Thirdly is the assumption of no solution. Many may ask, what should I do? Or there is nothing much I can do about the situation. We assume there is no solution to the problem of persistent hunger.

However, there are principles we can follow. The first principle is contextualisation. Ending hunger can only be realised when the state of its existence is transformed from just focusing on the solution to analysing the intention behind the solution. In creating a context, people get to answer the question, “Why am I choosing this course of action?”

Ending hunger calls for personal responsibility. You have to be fully involved in order to become the centre of influence. This is also a question of human dignity. As human beings we are born with a natural and spontaneous sense of responsibility. When we awaken this sense of personal responsibility, we birth the idea of ending hunger.

You cannot end hunger by just playing your part. There is no ‘part’, but the whole. One needs to commit fully to making the idea work. Hunger is not just the mere absence of food, but also an empowerment issue. Addressing the whole not just the parts is creating the context through which the end of hunger and poverty in the world will be achieved.

Lastly is the principle of transformation. Sustainable Development Goal two predicts an end of hunger by 2030. When we take a look back 10 years from now at how hunger ended, it will not seem as if miracles happened.

Everyone involved in this struggle will know how it all happened. They will point back to events that were pivotal in making this dream a reality. Transformative changes happen when people become more open-minded, intentional and committed to ending world hunger. Ending hunger is everyone’s responsibility. It is not only the solutions out there that will ignite change, but also the intentions behind whatever solutions we seek in the process.

Be part of the whole and invest in the end of hunger here.

Animators Rise To The COVID-19 Challenge

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Many of you have been curious to hear about how your fellow Animators and Elected Women have been responding to the pandemic. You know better than most people the kinds of challenges they are facing – lack of access to clean water and sanitation, illiteracy and misinformation, long distances from health facilities and more. All this, on top of still dealing with the daily challenge of overcoming your own hunger and poverty. 

We are so proud to say that they have really stepped up to the challenge! 

What we have noticed so clearly is that rather than having a victim mindset or waiting for help to come from outside – which would be so easy to do under the circumstances – due to the years of mindset shift training with THP they have instead adopted a leader mindset and are empowered to take action. 

In fact, we have already seen the 500,000 Animators we’ve trained to date quickly mobilise and respond to COVID-19 with ingenuity and strength at the local level! 

 

Animators Rising To The Challenge – In Numbers

  • 3,326 Tippy Taps installed in villages to bring simple handwashing stations close to the homes of people. Animators have led the education and training in how to properly use them   

A Tippy Tap in Benin.

  • 8,000 Elected Women and 3,600 Adolescent Girls trained by THP formed phone trees and What’s App groups to deliver accurate, easy-to-understand health information to 500,000 people 
  • 9,400 community members participated in specially designed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene workshops so they are personally equipped to prevent the spread 
  • 913 Animators newly trained in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene best practice 
  • 81,414 face masks made and distributed – ‘sewing armies’ have been set up in some areas to learn from one another and keep collectively strong while giving back 

Sewing armies have been set up in Uttarakhand, India to produce face masks to protect against COVID-19.

  • 71,912 kgs of soap and 19,096 kgs of hand sanitiser distributed to people so they can protect themselves and their families 
  • 91 operational health units in action receiving patients for testing and treatment where possible. Animators are mobilising people to get tested if they are showing signs (where testing is available) 
  • 52,399 food rations distributed to those who have been identified by Elected Women as on the brink of absolute destitution. Although THP usually has aNo handouts’ policy, this new idea was put forward by Elected Women who saw the dire need in their villages 
  • 174,797 families receiving community philanthropy (goods and cash), mobilised by Animators in Bangladesh 
  • 87,334 public health leaflets distributed. These have often been translated into local languages or the information is shown in pictures, so that as many people as possible can understand them 

Thousands of pamphlets have been distributed as part of THPB’s information campaign.

 

And these are just the highlights…! We hope you feel as proud as we do to stand alongside our Animators and Elected Women across Africa, India and Bangladesh as they rise to the challenge to reach the 16.5 million people living in THP communities globally. 

 

Want to dive in more? If you’re wondering what the impact of COVID-19 looks like in India for example, we highly recommend watching this episode of Foreign Correspondent which shows how what started as a health crisis has quickly turned into a humanitarian crisis. 

Take Action. If you’re interested and able to, we’d love to partner with you on our COVID-19 response through our Stay In, Reach Out campaign. Go to www.thp.org.au/stayinreachout for more information. 

From the ‘village frontlines’: Life under lockdown

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We were delighted to host an insightful and informative discussion between Rowlands Kaotcha (THP Global VP and Southern Africa Regional Director) and Diane Grady AM (Chair of The Hunger Project Australia) this week about life on the ‘village frontlines’ in the context of COVID-19.

For those of you who weren’t able to join, you can catch up by watching the recording below.

Our key takeaways from the call:

  • The enormous challenges faced by our village partners – for example, Rowlands said that in Africa, 79% of people don’t have access to water and soap for handwashing.
  • The 500,000 community leaders on the ground trained by The Hunger Project are already rapidly mobilising to respond to COVID-19.
  • The way that THP-trained Animators have used the THP methodology in new and innovative ways to take responsibility and design local solutions.
  • How our village partners have embodied the ‘leader mindset’ (instead of the ‘victim’ mindset) and feel empowered to take action.
  • That THP has always recognised the importance of partnership, and particularly now, given the scale of the issue, we have needed to link in with local and national governments and other NGOs.

What can you do to be part of the global solution? 

On the call, our CEO Melanie Noden invited all of us to be part of THP’s new global Stay In, Reach Out campaign – while staying in to protect yourself and your family, you can still reach out to keep 16.5 million people safe.

***EXCITING NEW ANNOUNCEMENT!***

A generous investor has offered to match dollar for dollar (up to $20,000) any investment in our campaign. So this is a great opportunity to DOUBLE YOUR IMPACT!

It’s simple. Give the equivalent of what you would spend on the things you can’t do right now, and instead enable others to do what they can in order to keep safe! If you’re not in the position to give, then please help us by sharing the campaign instead.

An update on our response to COVID-19.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant challenges for the continuation and progress of The Hunger Project’s work throughout Africa, India and Bangladesh. Our innovative and integrated model of community-led development means that communities are empowered with the skills and knowledge needed to adapt and shift to challenging contexts and events with continued support and capacity building from The Hunger Project.

In working to build community resilience, leadership and ownership, our community partners are equipped to continue leading the way in implementing preventative measures to decrease the spread of the virus while supporting households to continue income-generating activities where possible, maintain food and water supply, and follow the advice and guidelines given by their governments.

Africa

  • Health clinics are remaining open. THP-trained Health Animators (local volunteer leaders) are working in partnership with the health clinics to disseminate information household-by-household. Clinics are also continuing to prioritise treatment of those who have serious health conditions and those who are HIV positive.
  • Rural banks are remaining operational where possible during this time with additional sanitation, safety and security measures in place.
  • Across each of our Epicentres, we are working with Animators and Epicentre Project Officers to continue our Water, Sanitation and Hygiene trainings and workshops. More than ever before, this program is vital to protecting our communities. In Benin for example, 1,200 Tippy Taps have been installed to increase the accessibility of hand washing facilities.

School students in Benin learning how to use Tippy Taps.

India

  • The Hunger Project is committed to working closely during the COVID-19 pandemic with Elected Women Representatives (EWR’s) across the 6 states where we already work. A task force has been established to get in touch remotely with every single EWR, as well as the Adolescent Girls Program participants, to spread awareness about keeping safe from COVID-19 and ensure no one is left behind. So far, they have reach 500,000 people!
  • The main priority is for every last person in The Hunger Project’s communities to have accurate information and understand what to do in the current situation.
  • EWR’s are active in monitoring the distribution of government entitlements, overseeing quarantine efforts and ensuring people are observing lockdown rules and sanitation.

EWR’s rallying to spread accurate information about COVID-19 to their communities. 

Bangladesh

The Hunger Project’s model of community-led development means that it is in a unique position where work is implemented by volunteers on the ground in villages. Volunteers are working to:

  • Mobilise thousands of community members via raising awareness with factual and accurate information on COVID-19
  • Provide sensitisation training on washing hands, good hygiene and social distancing – including the provision of soap where possible (pictured)
  • Ensure that people who are eligible for government support are connected to these benefits, and that people who are ineligible are instead connected with other locally available philanthropy funds

Providing soap to community members in Bangladesh. 

 

Meet Jessie.

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Jessie is 41 years old and lives in the Nsondole community in Malawi. Jessie and her husband have five children.

“My number one vision is to educate my children,” she says.

Jessie has been receiving farm input loans from The Hunger Project since 2017. With these loans, she has been able to purchase seeds to grow maize and rice which she can use to feed her family. She then sells any leftover produce at the market. With the money they made selling their produce at the market, Jessie and her husband invested in a sewing machine, which her husband used to set up a tailoring business.

With two incomes to support them, everyone in the family now has three meals a day. Now, Jessie’s goal is to buy a motorcycle so her family can get around much more easily.

“My household is doing much better now. We are practising new planting methods and special farming methods so now my family doesn’t have to live in hunger and I can send my children to school.”

Stopping as Success — Mbale Epicentre Community Celebrates Self-Reliance.

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Although stopping may not always be seen as a mark of success, there are some cases where The Hunger Project knows that we have reached success when we do stop.

As our Epicentre communities in Africa reach Self-Reliance, we can begin to exit the community. The Hunger Project continues to monitor and evaluate Self-Reliant communities to ensure they remain on track with their goals.

One of the things we love about the communities we work with in Africa is how they celebrate their successes. Today, we’re stopping to celebrate the success of the most recent Epicentre community to celebrate their Self-Reliance.

Mbale Epicentre Community, Uganda.

A group of investors and their families, including lead investor Colin Tate, travelled to the Mbale Epicentre community, Uganda, in November to join the community’s celebration for reaching the critical milestone of Self-Reliance.

 

Cutting the celebratory cake shaped like the Mbale Epicentre.

 

Mbale now joins two other Epicentres in Uganda as Self-Reliant Epicentres. In the Mbale community, 93.6% of households now live free from severe hunger, and 100% of pregnant women visit health facilities during their pregnancy.

The celebrations to commemorate the community’s 12-year journey to Self-Reliance were attended by over 5,000 community partners, local government authorities, as well as Australian investors and their families and The Hunger Project representatives from Australia and Uganda. The guests of honour at the celebrations were the Honourable Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development, Hajjat Janat Mukwaya, and the lead investor Colin Tate.

 

The Mbale Community celebrating together with our Australian investors and their families.

 

Key highlights of the celebration included traditional performances by the Bamasaba Cultural Troupe, Epicentre preschool children as well as students from the Mbale School for the Deaf. Exhibition stores were also set up by the Women Empowerment Committee, showcasing items such as handicrafts and clothes.  

 

A dance performance by the students from the Mbale School for the Deaf.

 

The Bamasaba Cultural Troupe performing.

 

Epicentre preschool children.

 

A huge thank you to the generous individuals, families and businesses that invested in the Mbale Epicentre community, including lead investor Colin Tate and the Mbale Investor Consortium, for enabling this community to reach Self-Reliance.

Find out more about our Epicentre Strategy in Africa here. If you’re interested in partnering with communities to Self-Reliance, our Head of Philanthropy (stephanie.tucker@thp.org) would love to hear from you.