January 2010 eNewsletter: Achieving the MDGs at the Community Level


Dear Friends,

The optimism with which we all greeted the beginning of this new decade has already received a severe blow with the harrowing natural disaster that has struck Haiti, the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere. People are rarely speaking of the situation in Haiti without mentioning that not only is the country's preparedness to deal with such disasters impaired because of lack of infrastructure and capacity, but that many development efforts already underway will be badly set back as a result.

Though The Hunger Project (THP) does not work in Haiti or in disaster relief in general, the devastating situation there underscores the importance of our mission of ending hunger and poverty by working in true partnership with the people, building their self-reliance and capacity on a sustainable basis.

It was ten years ago that the leaders of 189 nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for ending extreme poverty in countries like Haiti. The deadline for achieving those MDGs is now less than six years away. The world has been moving too slowly to meet those goals, and the financial crisis has stalled, and in some cases, actually reversed progress.

There are, however, successes to celebrate. During the past year, incredible progress has been made in THP's work to achieve the MDGs in a sustainable and lasting way, in full and genuine partnership, with our village partners.

Since last week, there has been an outpouring of generosity as the world comes together to help those who have experienced devastating loss in Haiti. And that feeling of interconnectedness should continue to guide us throughout the year as we strive to be the best global citizens we can be. So, as we enter 2010, let us stand in solidarity with all the people around the world living in conditions of hunger and poverty and remember we are united in our common humanity.

With warmest wishes,
Jill Lester
President and CEO

Below, we highlight some of the shining examples of THP's work to empower its community partners to achieve the MDGs. Read the full article.

MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger & Poverty

Through THP programs, our partners in Africa receive training in better farming practices, improve productivity through agricultural inputs, and run community farms where they implement new techniques while producing food for the epicenter food bank. Over the last nine months, more than 310,000 kilograms of food was distributed to village partners from epicenter food banks to help provide food during lean times. More »

MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education

About 4,000 children, more than half of whom are girls, are enrolled in early education at our epicenters in Africa, where they receive a daily meal. THP animators in Bangladesh and trained elected women representatives in India fight daily to secure the education of every child, especially girls. Read more about the celebration of National Girl Child Day in Bangladesh.

MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality & Empower Women

Empowering women as key change agents is one of THP's three fundamental pillars. In the last nine months, over 50,000 village partners were trained in gender equality issues throughout our Program Countries. In Bangladesh, THP organized more than 600 gender equality awareness events, which were attended by 75,000 people. More »

MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality

In all the countries where we work, THP mobilizes communities to run their own village campaigns, which focus on nutrition, education, health and the reduction of water-borne diseases. In Africa, over 42,000 children were weighed and monitored at epicenter health clinics from April to December 2009, and about 60,000 children were vaccinated to prevent childhood diseases in the critical period of ages 0-5.

MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health

In all its programs, THP supports maternal health by fostering awareness, improving access to education, increasing the availability of health care and, most importantly, by raising the status of women within communities. Over 20,000 pregnant women accessed antenatal care and training at our epicenters in Africa during the last nine months of 2009.

MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria & Other Diseases

Over 40,000 people were trained in THP's HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Workshop in Africa in the last nine months of 2009. More than 60,000 bed nets were distributed to partners in our epicenters in Africa to reduce malaria cases. More »

MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

In the last nine months alone, more than 63,000 trees were planted in our partner communities in Africa to improve environmental sustainability. In collaboration with Environmental Defense Fund, THP-India is training elected women to build the capacity of their villages to cope with and adapt to climate change. In Mexico, trained village leaders have begun recycling programs in their communities. More »

MDG 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

THP does not see those who donate their money as donors but as investors, stakeholders who are standing in full partnership with people living in conditions of hunger and poverty.

In addition, THP works in partnership with local governments and many international and local organizations to further our work on the ground. In Bangladesh, for example, from April-December 2009, THP facilitated 144 meetings with local government bodies, in which 15,000 community members participated. THP-Mexico conducted 25 strategic planning meetings with local government.

A growing number of corporations and foundations throughout the world are proud to link their name to ours as partners striving for better development outcomes.

Read the full article "Achieving the MDGs at the Community Level" for a more detailed update on our progress.

Supporting Haiti

THP is not a disaster relief organization, and we do not work in Haiti. Should you wish to donate to relief efforts there, we encourage you to do so directly to organizations working in that capacity. InterAction, a coalition of which we are a member, has a list of its member organizations who are working on relief efforts in Haiti.

The Power of Half

In this new book, THP investors, Kevin and Hannah Salwen, share the story of their family's joint decision to downsize to a smaller house and donate the proceeds to THP.

Read more.

We Met Our Match!

At the end of 2009, we asked you to invest as part of a campaign called "Match Their Courage and We'll Match Your Money." Thanks to many existing and new investors, we sailed passed our goal!

Read more!

Making a Difference

Mrs. Kaoui Ziba has been involved with THP in Burkina Faso since September 2006 and never misses any THP activities at her epicenter, Sapouy. She has received trainings in preventative health, literacy and agricultural techniques. She also serves as Vice President of the Epicenter Committee.

Read more about Kaoui.

Meet more of our partners.

Quote of the Month

"Our new approach is to work in partnership with the people in developing countries...This kind of rights-respecting development, built on consultation rather than decree, is more likely to engender the local leadership necessary to turn good ideas into lasting results."

- Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, January 6, 2010