(Written for The Hunger Project – Australia)
Together with the invaluable support of our investors, we have been successful in mobilising 395,000 locally trained volunteers globally – all of whom are dedicated to ending poverty and hunger within their communities.
We know that the people living in communities afflicted by poverty and hunger are key to providing solutions to the issues they face. By partnering with these people, we can empower them to make changes so that they can end their own hunger. Mobilising and inspiring local volunteer leaders within our community Epicentres allows us to gain insight into the mindsets of the people we aim to help, so we can then understand what they need as an individual community. We don’t recruit expats, instead, we train locals – allowing us to direct 75% of all funding to our program communities.
Our international programs are focused on; health, education, literacy, environmental sustainability, social justice and other support systems. We aim to equip our volunteers, village partners and the local population, with the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to create healthy, functioning, communities that will ultimately become self-reliant.
In direct response to their own experience of hunger, volunteers like Ayelech (pictured above), have been taught how to grow and prepare their own food. Ayelech and the 53,000 other volunteers in Ethiopia who also learned these vital life skills are now able to provide healthy, nutritious food for themselves and for their families. In doing so, they avoid suffering from malnutrition and other hunger-related ailments. They are encouraged to pass their new-found knowledge and skills on to family, friends and neighbours to help break the cycle of hunger that has been their way of life for generations. In the dissemination of their skills; the health of the community begins to improve, wide-spread hunger and illness decline and the mindset within the community begins to shift away from one of resignation and despondency to one of determination and resilience.
Our dedicated volunteer leaders take a courageous stance against deeply ingrained belief systems, based on hunger and poverty, to learn new ways of living that inspire people within their community to do the same. Their commitment to change and their instrumental efforts meant that 10 Epicentre communities reached their targets for self-reliance in 2016. In these communities, there was a 66% decrease in hunger, as well as an overall 41% decrease in extreme poverty.
Through our unique Epicentre and local volunteer initiatives, we have reached over 1.7 million people in Africa alone. This is the result of many years of dedicated work with our village partners and support from our loyal investors. We will continue to expand upon the powerful relationships we’ve carved in order to maintain and amplify the positive impact we’re having within these communities and so we can end hunger once and for all.