We work in authentic partnership with people living in hunger and poverty to unlock their leadership and enable them to become the agents of their own development.
Hunger and povety are inextricably linked to a nexus of issues, including decent work opportunities, health, education, social justice, the rights of women and girls, the environment and climate change. This is why we use a holistic approach that tackles all these issues.
Our programmes empower people with the skills, knowledge and resources they need to make progress in multiple areas of social development at the same time, to become agents of their own development and lift their communities above the poverty line for good. Our ultimate goal is for communities to become completely self-reliant so that we're no longer needed. This is the sustainable end of hunger and poverty.
All our programs have at their foundation three essential pillars.
Start with women.
The fact that women do not have the same social or economic status as men is a huge contributing factor to global hunger and poverty. Women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of the family, yet are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action they need to fulfil this responsibility.
Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits. Their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient.
In our programs, women are trained to become decision makers, to take a place among the strongest leaders in society and to become entrepreneurs on equal terms. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity, because when women are empowered to become key agents of change, all of society benefits.
Our strategies seek to build people’s capacities, leadership and confidence. We train women and men, equipping them with the skills, methods and knowledge needed to take self-reliant actions to improve their lives and conditions in their communities.
There are other vital steps in mobilisation. We have additional trainings for local animators. These leaders become the spark plugs for local action. As people take more substantial action, we provide skills trainings in literacy, numeracy, nutrition and local laws. We organise people into self-help groups to gain a stronger voice. Success builds on success.
Engage local government.
Local government is closest to the people and has the mission of working with people to meet their basic needs. The Hunger Project works in partnership with local government bodies to ensure that they are effective, include the leadership of women, are directly accountable to local people, and provide access to resources and information.
In order to strengthen local government, we work from the top down, lobbying for state and national law changes, and in some cases court rulings, to shift power to the hands of the people.
The Hunger Project is about helping individuals to shift into a mindset that says they can actually solve their own hunger…the first thing you have to do is get an individual to shift their behaviour, and if you get enough individuals to shift their behaviours then the entire village will change.
Michael Rennie, Global Leader - Organisational Practice, Mckinsey & Company.
We start by shifting mindsets.
Imagine you’ve grown up in a village and hunger and poverty is all you’ve ever known. It’s like that now and it’s always been like that - the future looks like an extension of the past. Interrupting that thinking about what the future could look like is the silver bullet to what we do. We call this shifting mindsets.
We believe that every person has the right to be the author of their own development. Addressing the entrenched attitudes and beliefs of our village partners is key to empowering them to become self-reliant, transform their lives and create a new future for their communities.
Our Vision, Commitment, and Action workshop serves as the foundation of our work, and helps communities envision a future of their own making. It inspires individuals to move from “I can’t” to “I can” to “We can.” Through participation in our trainings, people set a vision for their communities, and then lay out the actions they will take to achieve that vision.
At this village-level workshop, people create their own vision for the future, commit to achieving it and outline the actions that are needed to succeed. Each participant leaves the workshop with a specific project for the following three months based entirely on local resources. In achieving this first success, people’s initial inspiration develops into self-confidence.
After the VCA workshop, villages select local leaders, who we call “animators,” who will be trained to lead the VCA workshop for others in the area, and to facilitate the ongoing actions that stemmed from the workshop.