Updated January 2012
Through our work to end hunger, we have recognized these ten principles as being fundamental to The Hunger Project. We challenge ourselves to ensure that each of our strategies builds on these principles.
- Human Dignity. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, including the right to food, health, work and education. The inherent nature of every person is creative, resourceful, self-reliant, responsible and productive. We must not treat people living in conditions of hunger as beneficiaries, which can crush dignity, but rather as the key resource for ending hunger.
- Gender Equality. An essential part of ending hunger must be to cause society-wide change towards gender equality. Women bear the major responsibility for meeting basic needs, yet are systematically denied the resources, freedom of action and voice in decision-making to fulfill that responsibility.
- Empowerment. In the face of social suppression, focused and sustained action is required to awaken people to the possibility of self-reliance, to build confidence, and to organize communities to take charge of their own development.
- Leverage. Ending chronic hunger requires action that catalyzes large-scale systemic change. We must regularly step back — assess our impact within the evolving social/political/economic environment — and launch the highest leverage actions we can to meet this challenge.
- Interconnectedness. Our actions are shaped by, and affect, all other people and our natural environment. Hunger and poverty are not problems of one country or another but are global issues. We must solve them not as “donors and recipients” but as global citizens, working as coequal partners in a common front to end hunger.
- Sustainability. Solutions to ending hunger must be sustainable locally, socially, economically and environmentally.
- Social Transformation. People’s self-reliance is suppressed by conditions such as corruption, armed conflict, racism and the subjugation of women. These are all rooted in an age-old and nearly universal patriarchal mindset that must be transformed as part of a fundamental shift in the way society is organized.
- Holistic Approach. Hunger is inextricably linked to a nexus of issues including decent work, health, education, environmental sustainability and social justice. Only in solving these together will any of them be solved on a sustainable basis.
- Decentralization. Individual and community ownership of local development is critical. Actions are most successful if decisions are made close to the people. This requires effective national and local government working in partnership with the people.
- Transformative Leadership. Ending hunger requires a new kind of leadership: not top-down, authority-based leadership, but leadership that awakens people to their own power — leadership “with” people rather than leadership “over” people.
In sum, world hunger can be ended, but not by merely doing more of the same. Hunger is primarily a human issue, and ending hunger requires principles that are consistent with our shared humanity.