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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

Mpingo Epicentre makes history

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The Hunger Project’s Mpingo Epicentre community is the third community in Malawi to reach self-reliance. What’s most exciting about this news is that all three of these communities in Malawi have been funded by Australians.

The 11,835 people of Mpingo have partnered with The Hunger Project since 2003 – and with the Eureka Benevolent Foundation since 2015.

There are 3 criteria an Epicentre must achieve in order to be declared self-reliant. Mpingo has achieved all three of them with flying colours:

1) The first criteria required is to have legal recognition as a community development organisation in their own right (separate to The Hunger Project).

2) The second criteria required is a title deed for the property on which the Epicentre building is constructed.

3) The third criteria required is to have a minimum self-reliance score of 80% based on their achievements on 53 measures.

Their future: As a result, the community declared themselves self-reliant, and Then Hunger Project is able to withdraw – and focus our attention on bringing other communities to self-reliance.

Results at Mpingo

Since reaching self-reliance Mpingo has achieved some amazing results across the board in terms of health, education and community engagement.

95% of births are attended by a licensed health care professional.

94% of households have at least one literate person.

90% of farmers are using improved farming methods.

88% of individuals are aware of their HIV status.

84% of children age 4 to 18 are attending school.

84% of individuals now believe they have the ability to implement change.

You can read more about the Mpingo Epicentre and much more in our 2017 Annual Report.

Three Epicentres reach self-reliance targets

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Three Epicentres in Africa have declared self-reliance – meaning the communities have demonstrated the confidence, capacity and skills to act as agents of their own development… an amazing achievement.

Mesqan Epicentre in Ethiopia –  An outstanding example of the progress made in the community is that the prevalence of diarrhea in children under 5 decreased by 37%, to only 7% of children, thanks to work by trained volunteers to raise community awareness and increase access to safe water and sanitation. Congratulations to our partners at Mesqan Epicentre and our team in Ethiopia!

Kiboga Epicentre in Uganda –  There was an 86% decrease in the proportion of households in extreme poverty since the time of construction. Congratulations to our partners at Kiboga Epicentre and the team in Uganda!

Zakpota Epicentre in Benin  – The Zakpota community in Benin have successfully reduced hunger by 96% in the past 4 years! Congratulations to our partners at Zakpota Epicentre.

When people are empowered to become the solution to their own problems they emerge as courageous, innovative, leaders who create sustainable and lasting changes in their communities.

Image credit: Johannes Odé

Ndereppe Epicentre in Senegal has reached self-reliance

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The Ndereppe Epicentre community in Senegal has officially reached all 3 criteria required to declare self-reliance, the ultimate goal of The Hunger Project’s Epicentre Strategy (where the community has the resources and skills needed to continue the work started by us, independent of The Hunger Project).

The criteria include reaching a minimum of 80 for their self-reliance score; having a land title; and being legally recognised as a community development organisation.

Now, we can share Ndereppe’s final self-reliance score – 91.76 (the highest seen yet among the first group of Epicentres that have reached self-reliance!) Ndereppe is the first Epicentre in Senegal to reach self-reliance.
This is testament to what our village partners can make possible in partnership with investors like you.
We now know that having investors like you specifically underwrite an Epicentre through to self-reliance is integral to the community’s success so they can maintain progress and momentum, and reach their goal on time.
We particularly acknowledge Gary Ward for leading the consortium of investors from Western Australia that has partnered with, and funded, the Ndereppe community.


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Our 2030 Leaders program has just returned from Uganda where they attended the Kiruhura self-reliance celebrations.

Kiruhura achieved its self-reliance targets in November – meaning the community has demonstrated the confidence, capacity and skills to act as agents of their own development.


Some key highlights of Kiruhura’s achievements are:

  • Kiruhura has one of the highest Women’s Empowerment Index scores to date across our epicentres at nearly 78 out of 100 points
  • 100% of women are receiving at least one antenatal visit
  • There was a 65% increase in the proportion of the population aware of their HIV status since the midterm study in 2013
  • Extreme poverty was reduced by nearly 75% since baseline
  • 37% of households have a nonfarm business

This is a monumental achievement for these communities and all of the staff and investors who partnered with them along the way! We’d like to particularly acknowledge the Whitbread Foundation and the Cranlana group of investors, who have underwritten Kiruhura Epicenter.

Ghana Epicentres Achieve Targets for Self-Reliance

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In eight countries of Africa, our Epicentre Strategy mobilises clusters of rural villages into “epicentres,” which band together 5,000-15,000 people to create a dynamic centre where communities are mobilised for action to meet their basic needs. This strategy is designed to partner with communities over a period of about eight years after which they graduate to a phase of “sustainable self-reliance,” which means that communities have demonstrated the confidence, capacity and skills to act as agents of their own development.

We are thrilled to announce that three epicentres in Ghana — AtuobikromAkotekrom and Nsuta-Aweregya Epicentres  —  have achieved the targets they set for declaring their self-reliance.

Self-reliant communities have demonstrated progress in the following eight goals:

  1. Mobilised rural communities that continuously set and achieve their own development goals;
  2. Empowered women and girls in rural communities;
  3. Improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in rural communities;
  4. Improved literacy and education in rural communities;
  5. Reduced prevalence of hunger and malnutrition in rural communities, especially for women and children;
  6. Improved access to and use of health resources in rural communities;
  7. Reduced incidence of poverty in rural communities; and
  8. Improved land productivity and climate resilience of smallholder farmers.

Community members of these epicenters have affirmed multiple local partnerships, created funding streams from revenue-generating activities and established gender-balanced leadership structures to support sustainable growth. The Hunger Project has activated its exit strategy, and it is anticipated that there will be no further financial inputs, with the exception of not-as-frequent staff visits and a post-evaluation three to five years later in a select number of epicenters.

This is a monumental achievement for these communities and all of the staff and investors who partnered with them along the way! The communities will be celebrating this milestone in July, so stay tuned for more news and photos!

Read more about self-reliance and how we measure it

Find out more about the journeys of AtuobikromAkotekrom and Nsuta-Aweregya Epicentres.