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Kemi Nekvapil leads THP workshops

Flourish In The Next Phase – with Kemi Nekvapil

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“It is up to communities to drive the change they wish to see in the world.” – Kemi Nekvapil.

We were so honoured to host a THP Leadership Workshop ‘Flourish In The Next Phase’ with Kemi Nekvapil. A huge thank you to Kemi who facilitated a thought-provoking session, and to everyone who joined for contributing to the conversation about what we have learnt during lockdown and what we want to take with us into the next phase.

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

Kemi’s Invitation To You.

As Kemi mentioned, we invite you to take this one action today to create a world that works for everyone by investing in our Stay In, Reach Out campaign. A little goes a long way:

  • Giving what you would spend on a coffee could fund the construction of a Tippy Tap (simple foot operated handwashing station) so a family has access to hand washing in their home; or
  • The cost of a week’s worth of coffee could buy a food parcel for highly vulnerable families in India for a month

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.

Stay In Touch With Kemi.

To stay in touch with Kemi, please go to her website www.keminekvapil.com

Empowering women is more important than ever in the face of climate change

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We know that climate change has caused levels of people living in chronic hunger to rise since 2015.

Women are likely to feel the effects of climate change and reduced supply even more profoundly than their male counterparts as social conditions force them to accept less of diminishing resources. As the primary providers of food and water, especially during the dry season when men leave to work in urban areas, rural women will be forced to walk further to collect supplies for their families as water becomes less accessible.

UN agencies estimate that 80% of people displaced globally due to climate change are women. They have been forced to move due to inhospitable conditions, lack of resources, or conflict resulting from water and food shortages.

Often we can overlook social solutions, such as gender equality, in response to climate change and focus majorly on technological and scientific solutions, such as electric cars. A combination of addressing and utilising both are essential to solving climate change.

Project Drawdown, a global research project which identifies and assesses solutions to climate change, has identified three solutions that stem from improving the rights and wellbeing of women and girls. According to Project Drawdown, addressing the following factors simultaneously has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases pollution by over 100 gigatonnes by 2050. This is equivalent to what the world has produced over the last three years.

Family planning

Ensuring every woman in developing countries has access to family planning not only improves the lives of women and children but also helps tackle climate change. To attain the UN’s population recommendation of 9.7 billion by 2050, family planning is necessary to slow population growth, which will therefore decrease the burden on natural resources.

Education

Educated women have more choices open to them. In developing countries, however, girls face many barriers that stop them from going to school including child marriage, harassment or a lack of facilities at school. When girls are educated they are empowered, this will curb population growth. Education also builds resilience and equips girls with skills to face the challenges that climate change presents.

Agriculture

Women in agriculture face a variety of obstacles and constraints that their male counterparts do not, such as lack of access to training, machinery, and new technology. In developing countries, women in agriculture commonly lack the economic resources and income to invest in agricultural technologies and the knowledge to improve their practices. Providing women in developing countries with greater access to resources and land could produce greater crop and livestock yields, producing more food from the land and reducing pressure for deforestation.

With the proper adaptive techniques, communities can learn to adjust to the new realities of their environments while working to lessen the impact of climate change. Rural populations already have a low environmental impact as compared to urban ones, and small changes can go a long way in adjusting to new conditions. Women in Ethiopian villages, for example, invest in more durable homes, utilising The Hunger Project’s Epicentre credit savings programs to build structures that can protect their families against both natural and man-made changes. 

It is more important than ever that we all continue to empower women around the world.

Bizuhaye Terefe Goes Back to School

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Originally published by The Hunger Project Nederland.

In the North Shoha region of Ethiopia, The Hunger Project is actively working with the Her Choice alliance to end of child marriages and enabling girls to re-enrol in school. Often, these are girls who have dropped out of school after a child marriage or teenage pregnancy. The Hunger Project empowers girls so that they can finish their education and transform their situations for themselves and their children.

Bizuhaye Terefe, 19 years old, lives in the village of Wujiba with her aunt and five-year-old son, Abity. She has been going back to school for two years now.

Bizuhaye is happy that she can go back to school after she had to leave when she was just 13 years old.

“When I was 13, I was raped and then I got pregnant. That was a very nasty experience. I’m still sad about that,” Bizuhaye says. “Because I was expecting, I had to quit school — that’s how it works here. I was living with my grandmother at the time because my mother had died a year earlier. After Abity was born, I lived with grandma for a while, but she could no longer care for us. Fortunately my aunt, Genzeb, then took us in.”

Image credit: Johannes Ode

The Hunger Project started the Her Choice program in the region two years ago. They empower and run activities for girls who left school too early to give them the chance to go back to school. Like Bizuhaye, these girls are usually married early or pregnant.

“I was visited by the school director, asking if Bizuhaye wanted to come back to school. Of course I wanted to help her, but I had no money for pens, notebooks, uniform and other school supplies. The Hunger Project then took care of that so Bizuhaye could go back to school!” says Genzeb.

Bizuhaye says, “I really enjoy going back to school. My favourite subject is English. My dream is to become a pilot later, that seems great. I can therefore earn a lot of money and help my family. If I later become a pilot and my future husband has a busy job, I want to plan the arrival of even more children. I certainly want to have four children, but I want to be ready for it. Abity can then become a big brother. It will take a while before the time comes. First I want to finish high school and study. And my son will also go to school from next year. “

Meet Razia: Protesting Child Marriage

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In Bangladesh, boys are typically valued more than girls. Girls are often pulled out of school at a young age to be married off. They aren’t able to earn an income for themselves or have a say in family decisions. They are made to look after their siblings and families, do the household chores and other manual labour instead.  

After being forced to marry at 15 years old (three years before the legal age of 18), Razia was denied an education and was forced to stay at home and provide for her new husband and start a family. No one protested her marriage. Like other girls her age who were being married, Razia soon gave birth to a boy and a girl.   

“I thought child marriage was my fate,” she says. 

She couldn’t see a way to break out of the cycle of poverty and stop own daughter from becoming a victim of child marriage just like she had been. 

The Hunger Project runs programs such as Women’s Leadership Workshops in rural communities in Bangladesh. These workshops empower women with knowledge and skills they can use to develop their own businesses to transform their situation, lift their families out of poverty, and enable other women in their village to do the same

After receiving training from The Hunger Project, Razia began a new enterprise from home — sewing — which has brought in an income. She also started a women’s self-help group to help other women save money to reinvest in their family on important things like education.  

Razia now works from home earning her own income. As she earned more income, her confidence grew. She looked to use her newfound influence to shift the perspective on local issues close to her heart, and now protests against child marriage in her village.  

I’ve learned how to raise poultry and livestock, and sew. Because of this, I now have enough savings to easily support the health and education of my children. I’ve also been able to send my own daughter to The Hunger Project’s Youth Leadership Training. Now she collaborates with other young people around here to create a harmonious society free from child marriage.  

In addition, I’ve set up my own compost plant to produce organic fertiliser for my home garden. I’ve now encouraged 20 other women in my neighbourhood to set up their own organic compost plants too.” 

The women’s group have written a list of children who have dropped out of school in the village. They are working to support them to return to studying.   

“Now, I work to protest against child marriage and make people aware of its consequences,” Razia says.  

Our future work in Zambia

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Restoring Zambia as the breadbasket of Africa.

Part of The Hunger Project’s global mission is advocating for the widespread adoption of our sustainable, grassroots, women-centered strategies in countries throughout the world. In 2017, the Patter Foundation offered The Hunger Project an opportunity to expand into a new country: Zambia.

Due to the large amount of investment in mineral resources, Zambia is a country with high levels of inequality. It is also a vast country with tourism opportunities and underdeveloped agricultural potential. The country has a widely-shared national vision (adopted in 2006) to be “a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030 that provides opportunities for improving the well being of all, embodying values of socioeconomic justice” (Zambia achieved middle-income status in 2011).

Zambia’s Vision 2030 sets the goal of reducing poverty to 20% from its current level of 54%. It also has policy framework – as yet not fully implemented – that is almost a perfect fit for The Hunger Project’s gender-focused, community-led Epicentre Strategy.

The Patter Foundation underwrote a scoping exercise to determine Zambia’s suitability for The Hunger Project’s work. Part of the exercise involved codifying our Epicentre Strategy in a Toolkit so that we can advocate for its widespread adoption. Now, the Global Board has approved The Hunger Project’s entry into Zambia. This is an exciting milestone in the journey of ending hunger globally.

Making our vision for a hunger free Zambia a reality

“We spoke to Roger (Massy-Greene, a THPA National Board member) about finding a way to direct our philanthropy to work happening in Africa. Roger spoke so passionately about the Epicentre communities that he had invested in for many years together with his wife Belinda and their family.

From there, we did our own research and met with the THPA team to find out more. We were already supporting some students from a quite extraordinary not-for-profit school in Zambia that is a leading light for the national government. We visited one of the villages where the children come from; there, many of the parents are unemployed and most families are living well below the poverty line.

We were really impressed with the Epicentre strategy’s holistic nature with the ultimate goal of self-reliance – and that it is community-led development.

We immediately saw that in this village and those surrounding it that The Hunger Project’s Epicentre Strategy would be an invaluable benefit to the community. Zambia is a country that has so much potential; it has the potential to be a ‘breadbasket’ of Africa. We also believe that it is critical to the survival of big game, as it borders Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe. This – along with the fact I was born there as were my dad and grandfather – led us to the decision that we wanted to find a means to make a large impact in the country.

We agreed to fund a scoping study by The Hunger Project to look at how we could expand the Epicentre Strategy into a new country – Zambia – to see if we can make our vision for a hunger-free Zambia a reality.”

Nikki And Paul McCullagh
The Patter Foundation

Malawi to end child marriages

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The country with one of the highest rates of child marriages has taken a major step to end the practice by adopting a constitutional amendment that raises the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 years-old. 

In a major win for young girls all across the continent, on 14 February the Malawi Parliament took a landmark decision towards advancing gender equality by banning child marriage in the country. Unanimously the Parliament of Malawi adopted a constitutional amendment that raises the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18 years, for both girls and boys. The amendment aligns the Constitution with the 2015 Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act enacted by the Parliament.

Each year around 15 million girls will be married before they turn 18. The Hunger Project and 0ur partners have been a strong advocate for an end to child marriage

According to the UN, half of the girls in Malawi are often married before the age of 18 and teen pregnancies contributing to 20-30 per cent of maternal deaths in the country. The practice of child marriage locks girls into a cycle of poverty, with many forced to leave education after they marry, rendering girls more vulnerable to violence.

The new reform aligns the Constitution with Malawi’s international and regional obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and others, including the Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality.

Your investment can help bring an end to child marriage. Donate today. 

 

 

How Louise’s life has changed in five years

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When we first met Louise five years ago, she shared with us how The Hunger Project had given her the confidence to be a leader in her community. Thanks to a microfinance loan, she had just started a business selling fruit, corn and peanuts and had big dreams for the future.

Five years on, when we arrive in the village of Dotan, Louise is waiting for us with her women’s group. They are dancing and singing when they meet us.

“I have become much more independent. My life has expanded, with the support of The Hunger Project. Before, I mainly traded in corn, now I also have a shop with homewares and clothes.”

Louise is also a volunteer health leader for her community. If residents have concerns about their treatment at the health post, they talk to Louise. She makes sure that their concerns are addressed.

“I give advice on the importance of family planning. I help deliver polio vaccines provided by the government. I’m also active in a committee that monitors the work of the public health post.”

Louise’s incredible work doesn’t stop there. She has taught more than 80 women in her village to read and write, to ensure that everyone can become socially independent like she is.

“I teach a small group of women to read and write. I would love to help all these women to achieve what they want, to realise their dreams. In this way our community advances.”

“In five more years I hope to be living with my children in a new, bigger house… I want to expand my business even more. I am also going to buy additional farmland to farm maize with the help of seasonal workers. The income from this will be my retirement plan, for the future when I can not work anymore.”

Story from Mariken Stolk.

Unleashed Women is BACK!

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We’re proud to launch Unleashed Women for 2017. It’s back bigger and better – and truly global, with women joining from the US, UK, New Zealand, Europe and more!

This powerful global movement empowers women to end hunger – will you join us? Together with you, we believe we can achieve our goal of raising $200,000 reaching 160,000 women to end hunger and poverty in their communities.

In the words of The Hunger Project Australia’s CEO Melanie Noden, “Unleashed Women is a movement for women like you who are bold and dream big; who want to be part of a collective of like minded and like hearted women; and who care about making a positive impact on the world. As an Unleashed Woman, you are a global citizen who stands for a brighter future for women everywhere”.

Does this sound like you? Simply click here to join today.

We’ll be here standing alongside you as you unleash your potential to make a difference in the world!

#UnleashedWomen #TheHungerProject

The future is bright for Namukasa

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Namukasa Kasolo Tayiha, at just 10 years old, is investing in her own education and future after participating in The Hunger Project Uganda’s training on microfinance at her primary school. These workshops, led by volunteer animators, encourage youth to start saving and are often the first steps towards economic empowerment.

In Uganda, microfinance supports the reduction of poverty by improving people’s standards of living and economic self-sufficiency. It also offers a pathway to education, health care and gender equality. While it is often adults who make these types of investments, Namukasa– who lives in the Iganga district of Uganda–was ready to start planning for her future after participating in a workshop!

“I remember the teacher who came from The Hunger Project saying that most girls these days drop out of school to get married at a young age because their parents can no longer support them,” says Namukasa. “But if they set aside some of their money in a savings account at the bank, they can support themselves by later being able to buy what they need to stay in school.”

The teacher inspired Namukasa to immediately open a savings account with her community’s cooperative. She then started putting part of her lunch money into an account on a weekly basis.

Namukasa’s father, Kasolo Isma, was happy to learn of his daughter’s initiative in planning for her own future. “This is something new that I have not heard of happening in Iganga,” he says. “When Namukasa told me she had registered with the bank to start saving, I was very happy and I am currently thinking of ways to ensure her savings grow.” Kasolo Isma says he is very proud of his daughter and is now sharing the news with other parents in the community.

So far, Namukasa has managed to save 75,210 shillings ($27AUD) in her account and tries to deposit between 500 to 3000 ($0.20 to $1.11 USD) shillings a week. Even when Namukasa is not able to make it to the bank, she uses a savings box from The Hunger Project-Uganda to deposit money into.

This is just the beginning for Namukasa– one day she hopes to become a nurse while continuing to save for her future!

Post courtesy of The Hunger Project Global Office.

COMBATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN BENIN THROUGH COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AND EDUCATION

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Violence and discrimination against women remains a pervasive challenge in Benin. In fact, a study in 2013 showed that 75% of women in Benin are victims of violence and more than 44% are sexually abused. To tackle this issue, The Hunger Project-Benin works with community partners through the Women’s Empowerment Program to raise awareness and empower local women through education and training. In 2016, these efforts included the establishment of village councils specifically dedicated to preserving children’s rights and preventing violence against women using educational sessions and plays.

Before establishing village councils, The Hunger Project-Benin helped coordinate a series of discussions with community and religious leaders and local officials. Participants listened to presentations and testimonies from one another and brainstormed solutions. A total of 41 participants attended these discussions and addressed issues like the consequences of gender inequality and the types and impact of violence against women, including child marriage. After the discussions, participants established village councils composed of community notables and local leaders.

In addition to the creation of village councils, the Women’s Empowerment Program hosted seminars in nine priority epicenters. The seminars included capacity building sessions to empower women and girls economically, socially and politically, and informational sessions on the impact of violence against women. In total, the seminars were able to reach over 400 people, including more than 160 women.

As a part of these initiatives, The Hunger Project-Benin began a targeted project called “Her Choice” in 2016, a project with the goal of ending child marriage and female genital mutilation entirely. Project organizers recruited a professional comedian to write and stage a play illustrating the negative impacts of child marriage, titled “Unchained Destiny.” The performance group, Le Baobab, trained 10-12 young girls and boys in each of the three initial epicenters to produce the play and perform it for a large audience of local officials and community members.

The plays were incredibly successful, eliciting emotional reactions and applause from the audience. Many community leaders committed to joining The Hunger Project-Benin in combating child marriage and encouraged project organizers to bring the production to other epicenters and partner villages. It’s only with the active commitment and participation of community members that we can reduce the incidences of violence against women and gender-related inequalities.

Credit: The Hunger Project Global Office

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