July 2008 Newsletter: Celebrating Community Leaders Empowering Women


In October, The Hunger Project will award its coveted Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger to honor Civil Society Leadership for the Empowerment of Women. We will celebrate community leaders, either individuals or organizations, who work tirelessly and selflessly to organize, advocate for, and provide opportunities to African women.

The Hunger Project has awarded the Africa Prize for Leadership since 1987. The Africa Prize is designed as a strategic intervention to honor and shine a spotlight on the African leadership that is essential for the continent’s development

The Africa Prize is awarded to Africans who exhibit exceptional leadership, exemplifying courage, vision and commitment to the well-being of the African people. These effective and dynamic leaders work in areas including science, agriculture, education, health and public policy. Their actions reflect initiative, creativity and, in some cases, personal sacrifice.

The 2008 laureate will join the ranks of previous laureates, which include, among many others, the first elected woman president in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; human rights leader Nelson Mandela; environmental activist Wangari Maathai; and champion for children’s education, Graça Machel.

Celebrating Civil Society

The civil society we will be honoring consists of ordinary people coming together, driven by their passion and commitment to create extraordinary changes. It includes nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, grassroots organizations, civic groups, labor unions, professional associations and philanthropic foundations. Groups of 10 women who come together to take an African Woman Food Farmer Initiative loan are part of civil society, as are global organizations such as Women’s World Banking, which was founded by our first woman Africa Prize laureate, Esther Ocloo.

Civil society is at the forefront of empowering African women. Rural African women are among the world’s most hard-working people as food producers, processors and marketers. They are also mothers, daughters and wives responsible for the health, nutrition and well-being of their families. Day in and day out, they work every waking hour. Despite this, they go largely unsupported, unrecognized for their efforts, and denied their basic rights.

Over the past several months, the international community has been focused on the world food crisis. While it is important that this devastating situation is in the news, its severe impact on women is not being publicized. Around the world, millions of people eat two or three times a day, but a significant percentage of women eat only once. And, now, many women are denying themselves even that one meal to ensure that their children are fed. These women are already suffering the effects of even more severe malnutrition, which inevitably will be their children’s fate as well. The impact of this crisis will be with us for many years.

It need not be this way. The Hunger Project has a sustainable solution: support and empower the women who grow most of Africa’s food for household consumption. 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.

Therefore, our decision to celebrate, honor and acknowledge Civil Society Leadership for the Empowerment of Women is absolutely right for these difficult times.

The Gala Award Ceremony

The 2008 Africa Prize will be presented at a gala award ceremony on Saturday, October 18, at the Hilton Hotel in New York City. For the first time ever, The Hunger Project will not announce the winner until the night of the event. Do not miss this opportunity!

Your attendance will send powerful messages to the world, that:

  • civil society has a critical role to play in the empowerment of Africa’s women
  • women’s empowerment must be central to international development approaches worldwide
  • civil society is the very embodiment of self-reliance in action

Through your attendance and visible support, civil society will obtain greater clout, prominence and empowerment. Moreover, you will deepen your commitment and feel the inspiration of being part of The Hunger Project. We are producing incredible results, but more must be done. Bring your friends and family to this event, and let us celebrate together!

Purchase your tickets now at www.thp.org/fallevent08!

Moving to an Electronic Newsletter

We are currently working on ways to make The Hunger Project more environmentally aware, and to ensure that we send as much money as possible to our programs. To help us meet this goal, we are planning to change to solely electronic distribution of our monthly newsletter. Over the next few weeks, we will be conducting a readership survey to seek feedback about our newsletter, and we will most likely be switching to electronic distribution as early as August! We hope that you will see the positive potential for having more money available for our programs, less impact on the environment, and more up-to-date and interactive communication with The Hunger Project! Remember to visit us online at www.thp.org!