The Hunger Project's partners at the Zuza Epicenter in Mozambique are the first of all our epicenters to embrace solar energy as a clean, renewable source of electricity for their epicenter and water system.
In late January, H.E. President Museveni of Uganda visited The Hunger Project's Mpigi Epicenter. During his visit, President Museveni indicated that he would seek to give THP-Uganda approximately US$200,000 this calendar year and provide a truck to the epicenter to transport food collected from partners for distribution.
Five THP partners were honored with awards in Ghana's National Farmers' Day Celebration. These honorees have pledged to share their experiences with other farmers to improve food security and farm incomes in their epicenters.
The Rural Bank at THP-Uganda's Kiringente Epicenter gained official recognition and was inaugurated at a ceremony on September 10, 2009. Rural Bank recognition marks a very important milestone for our epicenter communities: they are officially declared self-reliant. Kiringente is the fifth epicenter in Uganda, and the nineteenth in Africa, to become self-reliant.
Oprah's Angel Network has awarded a US$50,000 grant to The Hunger Project to enhance our community mobilization and leadership programs in Uganda. These programs enable rural communities to overcome their own hunger and poverty on a sustainable basis.
The work of THP-Uganda was acclaimed by an independent, external consulting firm, who undertook a pro bono impact assessment, which praised the organization's high-impact, low-cost strategies. Trainings continued with volunteers, animators and trainers of trainers, and access to health services increased.
Two epicenter buildings, Dinguiraye and Ndereppe, have been completed and stocked in the past six months, and microfinance loans disbursed to multiple groups and thousands of individuals. The Women's Empowerment Program (WEP), launched in November 2008, has been busy training volunteers and trainers.
Progress continues to be made in building food stockpiles and providing literacy classes and health services through the epicenters. THP-Mozambique continues to build its partnerships with the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Health and other local administrations.
This has been an exciting period of expansion and innovation for Malawi, with a new pilot microfinance program for people with HIV/AIDS, who tend to be discriminated against in terms of credit loans, and growing partnerships with NGOs and various government ministries.