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U- Unlimited Potential

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“It was an experience that grew me in so many ways, a safe place to discover my full potential.” 

Prue Aja, Professional photographer | 

When Prue began working as a photographer, she knew it was important to work with people whose values aligned with her own.  

“I knew the bigger picture was to eventually contribute towards a future of equality for all, starting with women. I always believed that if there were more women in power, making the big decisions in our world, it would be a different – if not better – place.” 

The Hunger Project focuses on women-centred strategies to end world hunger in rural, remote communities. This is what drew Prue to our leadership immersion programs in countries like Uganda, India and Malawi. Studies show that when a woman is empowered, her whole community benefits. By focusing on women we are creating a huge ripple effect that lifts up entire communities. 

Prue was in a position of power and strength in her business and daily life to make a difference to others when she learnt about THP’s leadership immersion program from some trusted women in her circles. She knew she could have a positive impact and work towards something bigger than herself and her personal goals. She dived head first into the lifechanging experience. 

“I didn’t yet have clarity around what the program was about, but the first step was showing up, putting my hand up and jumping in wholeheartedly with an open mind, eager to learn.” 

In October 2018, she travelled with 11 others to Uganda to embark on the week-long leadership immersion program. They learnt first-hand from community leaders who partner with The Hunger Project anenable their communities to end their own hunger. They were also led by program facilitator, author, speaker and executive coach Kemi Nekvapil through exercises to help them develop a plan for their own potential and future back in Australia. 

“I have gained a new sense of self and humanity.”  

Applications open now for Unlock, The Hunger Project’s next leadership immersion program to Malawi in November 2019 (limited spots still available). Find out more or apply now at 

*This blog post includes extracts from Prue’s original post on her website: 

Farmer by trade and tradition; generous by nature 

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The power of The Hunger Project is driven in large part by the generosity of investors in Australia and globally – strategically paired with the time and energy invested by our village partners. Ivan Halbert has been investing in THP consistently for more than 20 years, and recently gave his largest investment ever. We spoke to Ivan from his humble one-bedroom flat in Perth about his lifelong commitment to The Hunger Project.

Originally coming across the work of The Hunger Project in 1995, Ivan immediately knew it was something he wanted to be involved in.

The Hunger Project Australia CEO, Melanie Noden, with Ivan Halbert

“I thought it was a good program and it fit with my ideas of giving back to the world,” Ivan said.

“My thinking on giving internationally is that if all the countries The Hunger Project works in reach self-reliance and improve their local conditions, then the whole world improves.”

Ivan is a farmer by trade and tradition, but he pressed pause on his life on the land to open a health and wellbeing retreat with his wife. They ran this for 10 years and, throughout that time, The Hunger Project remained a big part of Ivan’s life.

“Being part of The Hunger Project was integral to my family’s upbringing. It first started with my wife and I, and then on to my daughters, who have been involved in The Hunger Project’s work as well. It has just been a big element of my life,” Ivan said.

He said his family’s charitable heart and his established hard working ethic has influenced his lifetime of investment in organisations like The Hunger Project.

“I became partners with my dad on our farm and I carried on with it for years. It was a very large farm and I feel I was very privileged to have owned it,” Ivan said.

“Giving was part of my upbringing. My dad and my mum were very generous; generosity was bred into me.”

Deborah Protter (THP WA Board Member), Melanie Noden (THPA CEO) and Ivan Halbert.

A few years ago, Ivan was in Uganda on a personal visit. His experiences in Africa cemented in his mind why the work of The Hunger Project is so important.

“I was talking to a taxi driver in Uganda and I told him I was involved in The Hunger Project. After that, he completely opened up and took me around to see the level of poverty. I went to a quarry where children as young as five were working and smashing rocks all day,” Ivan said.

“Seeing the levels of hunger and poverty firsthand was eye-opening.”

Reflecting on why he has chosen to invest in The Hunger Project for more than two decades, Ivan said the level of transparency and effectiveness makes investing in THP worthwhile.

“The ethos of the Hunger Project of training the local people to lift themselves from their current situation to see the possibility of rising above “what is” to a new level of life is inspirational. It’s not about giving money; it’s about giving skills,” he said.

“Another thing for me is that The Hunger Project’s program work is virtually run by volunteers. When I give a dollar, I know that a majority of that will go directly to the people who require it. It is important that the money goes directly to where it should be going.”

The Hunger Project Australia thanks Ivan and his family for their dedication and generosity throughout the past 20 years, and acknowledges the enormous impact they have had as a result.

Join Ivan and his family in the efforts to end hunger:

Hitting new milestones

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190+ people over the past five years have raised more than $2.1 million through participating in THP’s unique individual leadership immersion programs in Uganda, Malawi, Senegal, Ghana, India and Bangladesh. Breaking the $2 million mark for the first time is cause for celebration! This is an enormous collective effort, and these funds translate into real, tangible change for our village partners. The impact of that amount could look like this*:


From the everyday to the unfamiliar

The immersion programs lift participants out of their everyday lives and transplant them into an unfamiliar environment, full of new ideas and possibilities. No matter which country the program takes them to, participants meet THP village partners, and explore how they mobilise their rural communities to powerfully overcome the challenges of a lack of food, resources, healthcare and education.

Australian program participants are encouraged to discover the leadership distinctions demonstrated by our village partners, and apply those learnings to their own lives – often discovering in the process that we have a lot more in common with someone from a remote village in Uganda or India than you first may think.


This is what three of the 190+ program participants had to say when reflecting on their own immersion experience:

“The experience I gained is to step forward, make a commitment and stand tall in what I believe in. I learnt these skills from the women within the group, the program facilitators, the women and men we met in the villages. It all showed me that anything is achievable with the right mindset.”
Melinda Webb

“The villagers – women, men and children – have taught me optimism and strength, resilience and vulnerability. Even on their different levels of reliance, the women showed courage in moving forward with what they had – and not what they wanted or needed. And instead of self-indulgence, they are quick to act and lead when opportunity presents itself.”
Evelyn Gibson

“Women who had little resources and extremely challenging living conditions were doing amazing things and living joyful and fulfilling lives, providing outstanding role models to others, and creating opportunities for their families and communities for many generations to come. This was extremely humbling and made me reflect deeply on my life and my fears.”
Jackie Howard

*Funds are applied to the area of greatest need.

Interested in knowing more about our immersion programs?

Positive results in Bangladesh

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One of the programs run by THP in Bangladesh builds the capacity of elected women, focused on two core areas: 1) to challenge gender inequality and violence against women, and 2) enabling women to effectively participate in local politics.

The program – called POWER for Political Participation for Women for Equal Rights – raises awareness about the patriarchal and traditional structures that reinforce routine human rights violations faced by women.

Shifting mindsets over time

A new survey conducted in almost 550 households in the Khulna district where the capacity building work was carried out showed that the POWER program has resulted in significant, positive shifts in mindset and behaviour – within just a 2-year period*. For example, the survey found:

*Comparing 2015 (baseline) and 2017 (endline) data from 542 households. Respondents included women and men.

Community empowerment

The survey also found that as a result of THP’s capacity building interventions, community members reported engaging in elections and local cooperatives, feeling a sense of agency to change things, and feeling satisfied with local services and institutions. For example:

This newfound sense of collective community empowerment is evident in the story of Rumi, a 14 year old girl who was taken out of school and nearly forced into a child marriage – learn more about Rumi’s inspirational story HERE .

What’s next?

The survey also identified areas that still require attention – for current work in the Khulna district and for future scale up of the POWER program in other districts. THP Bangladesh is looking at the survey’s recommendations and will incorporate them into future program planning and interventions. The survey identified for example:

A snapshot of our work in Bangladesh:


Be part of shifting mindsets and community empowerment in Bangladesh:

A message from our CEO

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To our valued partners in the end of hunger,

There always seems to be so much to celebrate within The Hunger Project community! I am thrilled to share this newsletter with you; it is packed full of acknowledgement and achievements. Rumi’s story in particular brought tears to my eyes to hear her and her friends’ strength and determination. You will also read an inspiring story from Ivan Halbert with whom I had the privilege to have lunch recently in Perth – his unwavering commitment to the end of hunger over 20 years is amazing.

I’m also excited to tell you that the Mpingo Epicentre  reaching 9,465 people in Malawi has just reached Self-Reliance. I went with a group of Australian leaders and investors to Malawi recently, and we were fortunate to be part of the celebrations with the Mpingo community. The Massy-Greene family and the Eureka Benevolent Foundation from Sydney generously funded the last few years to Self-Reliance. That very same family foundation continues their generous investment in the end of hunger, this time in the Pemba Epicentre community in Malawi, where THP began work just 2 months ago. As a result, the future of the people in Mpingo and Pemba will look dramatically different to their past. This is just extraordinary.

I would also like to highlight the power of our partnerships with Australian businesses – in particular DECJUBA, MECCA, Camilla and Hey Tiger. All four businesses are led by incredibly empowered women entrepreneurs who are passionate about advocating for the empowerment of women, both in Australia and globally. The beauty of these partnerships is the opportunity they provide us to engage new groups of people – particularly via DECJUBA’s THP tshirts and Fearless campaign marking their 10th anniversary, MECCA’s limited edition THP product for International Women’s Day, Camilla’s The Butterfly Effect initiative, and Hey Tiger’s launch. These partnerships enable us to expand and grow our community.

Thank you for your commitment and generosity. With you, we are enabling people to transform their lives.

Yours in ending hunger,

Melanie Noden

CEO, The Hunger Project Australia

Photo: Melanie Noden pictured in Senegal with young girls who are living in a self-reliant community and are growing up with a brighter future ahead of them.

Read on about the latest results from The Hunger Project’s work in Bangladesh: 

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

Meet Louise

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Louise is from a small village in Benin, West Africa. She lives with her six children and her husband, who works the land and grows corn.   

In the past, Louise wasn’t allowed to participate in decision-making, either in her own home or the community – simply for being a woman. Traditional cultural practices meant Louise didn’t have a voice of her own.  

When she participated in The Hunger Project‘s unique Vision, Commitment, Action workshop, Louise saw that she had vision for the future and that she could be the one to turn it into reality. Since then, she has gained confidence in her own capacity and leadership, and has become the leader of a microfinance group within her community. Her opinions, and her voice, are now respected.

“Before, my voice wasn’t heard when I brought something up for discussion. Now, I am part of the village council. I bring the local women together around microfinance, and I also share information I’ve learned about the importance of reading and writing, nutrition and hygiene,” Louise says.  

As a result of leading the small, local microfinance group, she has been able to expand her fruit, corn and peanut businesses to support her family – together with her husband. She now also advises other women on running their small businesses.  

When the microfinance group gathers, Louise also takes the opportunity to educate them on literacy, health and nutrition, so that the whole community flourishes. 

“It gives me a lot of joy when I see the results of my work. For example, many women are now supporting their families financially – and they know how to feed their children nutritious food. That makes me feel good. I will stand by these women to achieve what they want,” she says.  

There are many ways you can partner with people like Louise:

  1. Invest with a one-off or monthly gift 
  2. Share Louise’s story on social media and tag The Hunger Project Australia
  3. Read more about our work in Africa
  4. Learn about our leadership immersion programs to Africa, India and Bangladesh


Mouthful Magazine & The Hunger Project

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The Hunger Project is thrilled to announce our new partnership with monthly digital mag, Mouthful Magazine.

For each annual subscription, Mouthful Magazine will kindly donate $5 to The Hunger Project Australia.

In their 6th issue the team at Mouthful Magazine wrote about why they’ve decided to partner with The Hunger Project.

“There is enough food in the world to feed each and every one of us, yet millions go to bed starving every night. This is untenable. I wanted to do something about it so I went looking for an organisation that addressed this in a pro-active way – not just throwing money at the problem, because that never works. After much research and study I came across The Hunger Project and I realised I found ’the one’.” – Mouthful Magazine, Issue 6.

Read more about the partnership with Mouthful Magazine or visit their website for more info on subscriptions. 



Global Investor Report 2017

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We are thrilled to share with you our 2017 Global Investor Report.

You can now download the report and read it in full.

Melanie Noden, CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, says she is pleased to release the report.

“I’m thrilled to present to you our Global Investor Report showing the incredible impact your investment has had on the lives of 16.1 million people in 2017,” she said.

Find the report here.


Five minutes with THP Global CEO, Suzanne Mayo Frindt

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Suzanne Mayo Frindt joined The Hunger Project as President & CEO in May 2017. THP UK sat down with Suzanne to chat about her journey to The Hunger Project and the transformative work undertaken by The Hunger Project and our partners.


Tell us about your journey to The Hunger Project. How did you become involved with the organisation and what inspires you?

I became aware of The Hunger Project through my husband Dwight who was a Hunger Project volunteer and activist, and who joined The Hunger Project movement at the absolute beginning.


What inspired me was The Hunger Project’s mission to end world hunger. This was not simply alleviating poverty, but that breakthrough thinking, that change in mindset: what is it going to take to end hunger once and for all.

What connects me at the heart level is that The Hunger Project is a transformational organisation, rather than alleviating poverty. We are working to end hunger, to end a condition that is unacceptable for us and to create the world that we want to live in.


One of the key pillars of The Hunger Project’s work is the empowerment of women and girls. How are women key to the end of hunger?

The evidence, the data, is there, it makes scientific and numeric sense: women are key change agents in the end of world hunger. But just because something is known, doesn’t mean it is practised, which is why we need to keep working and talking about the empowerment of women and girls.

The Hunger Project’s training with women focusses on “selfhood”. Some of the women that I’ve met as part of my visits to The Hunger Project’s programmes didn’t know themselves as their own human beings. They were so and so’s mother, or so and so’s wife. Our trainings, the Vision, Commitment and Action Workshop help them to begin to think of themselves and their own identities, and tap into their own power.

“Before THP [The Hunger Project], my vision was obscured. I thought I was worthless and that there was nothing else in the future for me. But now my life has changed. I realize that I am a worthy person, I consider myself proudly indigenous and I know that I am worth a lot”

-Florencia, The Hunger Project Partner, Mexico


You have been an investor in The Hunger Project for 28 years, how has it transformed your life?

When you invest in The Hunger Project, you are investing in transformation. You are investing in the power of others to transform their lives, but the transformation happens to you too.

On a visit to Bangladesh I saw how much courage it took for some of the women to come out of their homes to meet us. It was courageous because cultural traditions meant that many were not used to meeting with strangers, or were hardly engaged in local society and rarely left their homes. Their courage inspired me to take a step up in my own life, how could I be a wimp when I’d seen their courage? So I tried to mirror it, in my own way, and demand of myself that I become a true transform partner. I didn’t invest in transformation for my own transformation, but in doing so, I have become transformed myself, and the path has led me to becoming the Global CEO of The Hunger Project!


What would be your final thought for people reading this?

We are living in a world where there is so much polarisation. Ending hunger can only happen through partnership and inclusion. We must come together as a world community to solve a world issue.

We see time and time again when crises occur how we all come together, putting aside differences of opinion or “sub-group issues” to focus on a bigger shared vision. We all want the end of hunger, all of us, no matter who we are. When we all focus on a bigger visionary, aspirational aspect, and “look up and out”, up, and outside of ourselves, we are able to achieve that shared vision.