• Anaïs Richmond

The Hunger Project | Voices of Change

Here at What Can We Do? we strive to promote a better and fairer world through civic engagement, and that is why we launched the Voices of Change guest blog series.

We want to amplify the voices of a variety of different charities, community groups and individuals from home and abroad. While highlighting how COVID-19 has impacted them, how kindness plays a role in what they do, how people can get involved to support them and what the ideal future looks like.

Our special guest today is Katy Yeo from The Hunger Project UK, discussing how they work towards a sustainable end to world hunger by empowering women and men in rural communities to end hunger in their communities.




Tell us about The Hunger Project


The Hunger Project is a global charity committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. Our work focuses on using a grassroots, women-led approach to achieve this.


We work in 13,000 communities, reaching 16 million people in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, empowering women and men living in rural villages to become the agents of their own development, ending hunger in their communities.



How has COVID-19 affected the work that The Hunger Project does?


There are already more than 820 million people living in chronic hunger, and the spread of COVID-19 means that 265 million could face severe food insecurity or famine (source: World Food Programme).


On top of this, many do not have the same access to information, sanitation and healthcare as we do. With this in mind, we did not want communities who were on their way to moving above the poverty line to be left behind, nor did we want those who have successfully lifted themselves above the poverty line to fall back into hunger.


Our sustainable, empowerment-led approach to ending hunger means that many of our partner communities were already equipped with important skills necessary to lead their communities in times of crisis. 


We have been able to mobilize over 500,000 local leaders in 13 countries around the world to deliver correct information and support to communities at risk during COVID-19, to make sure no-one is left behind.





Local communities have already achieved so much:


- 4000 Tippy Tap pedal-powered handwashing stations installed in villages in Benin so families have access to sanitation -

- 9400 people joining water, sanitation and hygiene workshops -

- Young women and girls in Ghana and Bangladesh empowered to protect their community through vocational training in making masks and hand sanitizer -

- Agroecology initiatives in Uganda so families can grow their own crops and be self-sufficient -

- 8000 women in India equipped with vital information and knowledge to keep their villages safe -





What activities have you been undertaking since the start of COVID-19? 


The Hunger Project's community leaders in Africa, South Asia and Latin America are implementing solutions and initiating projects to tackle the effects caused by COVID-19 according to their community's need. It has been truly inspiring to hear just how much of an impact they have been able to make.


In the UK, we have had to postpone a number of our fundraising events and challenges because of this crisis. We continue to work hard and creatively to make sure that we can still support the communities where we work - through Instagram challenges, to our successful World Hunger Day campaign that brought together people all over the world on social media on May 28th.  


A highlight of World Hunger Day was a webinar with frontline leaders from our team in

Ghana, where supporters of The Hunger Project had the opportunity to hear about what

work is happening on the ground and how communities adapted in the face of new challenges to continue working towards ending hunger.


We are now working on our upcoming campaign for World Poverty Day in October, to once again stand in solidarity with millions at risk of falling into poverty because of this crisis.


Follow us on social media for more, and get in touch to be part of the movement in

October!





Tell us about the role of kindness in your work


At The Hunger Project we believe in people. We know our sustainable community-led

approach works.


In Burkina Faso, for example, the region that responded the fastest, and reached out the widest was actually an epicentre community area of The Hunger Project.


How can we do all this? It's because the power of partnership, togetherness, positive mindset and loving leadership runs through our entire Hunger Project family. From

Africa, South Asia, Latin America, to all our supporters in the UK.


We are so grateful to have the support of businesses, communities and individuals willing to fundraise and invest in our work during what is a difficult time financially for so many. This includes businesses who pledged a percentage of their sales profits for World Hunger Day despite the current economic climate. 


We also rely on the kindness of small businesses and individuals to share our posts on their social feeds to help spread awareness about our work.



How can people help or get involved with what The Hunger Project is doing during COVID-19?


We have a number of food challenge fundraising campaigns that we would love people to get involved with to support our work ending hunger.


Equally, we love to hear what creative ideas our supporters come up with; we had two

flatmates who created “No May-o”, where they gave up mayonnaise for the entire month of May and got friends and family to support them! Currently, supporters Ken and Mark have pledged to run every day (!) for 365 days to fundraise for empowering communities to end hunger.


We’d love for more people to find our about our work and join our community.


And our website has a page dedicated to our response to COVID-19.


Our social media community is a really kind and supportive movement in the end of hunger. We welcome people to join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Linkedin.





What is the most amazing act of kindness you have seen during the COVID-19 crisis?


We have seen so many acts of kindness from The Hunger Project’s community during this crisis.


From super supporter Claudia Allen, who took on the Live Below the Line food

challenge for the entirety (!) of the UK lockdown, living on £1 a day and fundraising for our work, to the amazing team at Kulawa Spices who, when they could no longer mail out their gourmet spice kits, came up with an amazing quiz fundraiser to continue to invest in the end of hunger.


We are grateful to them all!


What does the ideal future look like for you? What policies/initiatives/positives would you like to see come out of this crisis?


Our vision is a world where every woman, man and child leads a healthy, fulfilling life of self-reliance and dignity.


We’ve seen some incredible displays of female leadership during this crisis. We know that women and girls are key change agents in communities.


In the countries where we work we’ve seen women lead the way in protecting their communities: Anju a headteacher in Bangladesh working to keep her village coronavirus-free, or Ruth a community health nurse and midwife assistant who continues to provide essential support for mums and babies during this time (you can read their stories on our Instagram page).


We would love to see more resources and recognition for local female leaders as a result of their incredible efforts during this time. 



Katy Yeo

thehungerproject.org.uk

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More things you might like:

World Hunger: Did you know?

How signing petitions makes a difference

Why we need Youth Activism

FEAST! | Voices of Change

Hospitality Action | Voices of Change


Have some more time to give? Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and at our website for more inspiration.


Do you want to be our next guest blogger for our Voices of Change blog series or want to write for our Spotlight series? Please get in touch.

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