MDG 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
To achieve the first Millennium Development Goal, The Hunger Project intervenes at the point of highest leverage: directly with the people living in conditions of hunger and poverty in the developing world.
We build the capacity of these women and men to take actions that will lead to a life of self-reliance and enable them to meet their own basic needs and build better futures for their children.
We train women and men, equipping them with the skills, methods, knowledge and confidence needed to take self-reliant actions. We also work with local governments and build alliances to help villagers gain access to resources that are rightfully theirs.
The self-reliant actions villagers take include, for example:
Income-generating activities: Trained Hunger Project partners implement income-generating activities, often joining together in self-help groups: from sewing projects in Mexico to cow-fattening projects in Bangladesh. This enables the women and men of these communities to increase their incomes, so that they can purchase the food they need to survive during periods of food shortage or escalating prices.
Food banks are an essential element of our Epicenter Strategy in Africa. Each epicenter has a food bank to which villagers contribute staple crops, both those grown on the communal land at the epicenter as well as a percentage from their own household plots. Empowering the people to create, stock and manage their own food banks at the community level helps stabilize day-to-day food prices in local markets during times of crisis.
One of the most critical support mechanisms of The Hunger Project is to give farmers appropriate farming technology and farm inputs, such as improved high-yield variety seeds and fertilizer. This enables small-scale farmers to not only increase crop yield, but also to diversify crops, which is critical to ensuring food security in their communities. Members of the community give back a certain percentage of their crop to the food bank as repayment for their agricultural inputs. The success of the food banks ensures that members of the epicenter community have access to staple foods year-round, and particularly during the dry season, as well as during emergencies such as the current food crisis, floods or droughts.
Agricultural trainings: In each region in which we work, The Hunger Project provides tools and training to increase farming production at the local level. For example, in Bolivia, our partner, Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola (ACLO), works with indigenous organizations to train people to grow an increased variety of organic crops. The Hunger Project helped farmers in Senegal adopt a new system of irrigation called drip irrigation, to improve crop production in their dry Sahelian climate.
Access to credit: The Hunger Project's Microfinance Program is a program of training, credit and savings to empower women food farmers, who grow 80 percent of the household food in sub-Saharan Africa, yet receive very few farm extension services and little access to credit. The program enables women to have easy access to credit, increase their food production, engage in income-generating activities, and increase savings. As participants in the Microfinance Program, women are required to deposit a certain percentage of their loan principal into a savings account, thereby creating a strong culture of savings within communities. Women use their new wealth to improve the health, education and nutrition of their families.
In addition, Hunger Project trainings and workshops also contribute to building confidence and shifting people's mind-set from one of dependency on outside help to one of self-reliance. Trained Hunger Project partners often remark that they feel more empowered to solve their own problems and make a difference in their villages. This change in mind-set manifests itself in an increased capacity to deal effectively with crises when they occur.