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The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project
501(c)(3) non-profit
Industry charitable organization
Founded 1977
Headquarters New York, New York
Key people
Åsa Skogström Feldt, President and CEO
Idrissa Dicko, Vice President Africa
John Coonrod, Vice President
Robert W. Fuller, Founder
John Denver, Founder
Werner Erhard, Founder
Revenue 0.27% to $8,727,193 million USD (2004)
30.4% to $919,249 USD (2004)
Number of employees
Website Corporate Homepage

The Hunger Project (THP) is a [1]

The Hunger Project describes itself as an organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. It has ongoing programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where it implements programs aimed at mobilizing rural grassroots communities to achieve sustainable progress in health, education, nutrition and family income.[2]


  • Countries of operation 1
  • Primary activities 2
    • Methods and impact on food security in Uganda 2.1
    • Impact assessment 2.2
  • Financial and accountability reports 3
  • The Power of Halfdonation 4
  • Public criticism 5
  • Governance and administration 6
    • Executive staff 6.1
    • Board membership 6.2
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Countries of operation

In 2009, The Hunger Project was active in Africa, in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, and Uganda; in South Asia, in Bangladesh and India; and in Latin America, in Mexico, and Peru (partnered with Chirapaq (Center for Indigenous Peoples' Cultures of Peru)).

Primary activities

In Africa, THP implements what it calls "the Epicenter strategy", organizing clusters of 10 to 15 villages to construct community centers, partner with local government agencies and community-based organizations, and establish and manage their own programs for microfinance, improved agriculture, food-processing, income-generation, adult literacy, food-security, and primary health-care (including the prevention of HIV/AIDS).

In India, THP facilitates the mobilization and training of elected women panchayat leaders. In Bangladesh, THP conducts trainings focused on gender issues and leadership for local leaders who then organize local meetings, lead workshops and initiate campaigns against early marriage and dowry, malnutrition, maternal and child mortality, gender discrimination, and inequality, illiteracy and corruption. In Latin America, THP works with communities to overcome economic marginalization, particularly that of the indigenous women.

Dionne Warwick represented the charity on the US TV series The Celebrity Apprentice in Season 11 (which was aired in early 2011) and was fired before any money was made for donation. She left the show abruptly.

Methods and impact on food security in Uganda

In Uganda, The Hunger Project (THP) employs measures to facilitate the mobilization and growth of capital, as well as creating partnerships to alleviate food and health issues.

In 2009, THP-Uganda implemented the Microfinance program to improve food security and reduce poverty.[3] The Microfinance program is a training, savings and credit program; enabling the targeted poor who traditionally lack access to banking and related services to get small loans with the purpose of engaging in income-generating activities.[4]

The program consists of 2 phases: Direct Credit and Rural Bank.[5]

A Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) of about US $20,000 is allocated to an center, with the center's community electing its own people into the loan committee to manage the RLF. The funds go through a cycle of disbursement to the community, repayment of the loans from community members, and disbursement again. Through this process, the funds grow via accumulated interest.[5]

After 4 to 5 years into the Direct Credit phase, if the microfinance operation in the community meets the level of criteria set by the government, the operation can apply to evolve into a savings and credit cooperative (Rural bank). All members of the community may deposit savings and access credit from the Rural Bank. The THP stops giving assistance to the Rural Bank when it becomes operationally self-sufficient in the next 2 years.[5]

The Rural Bank is able to mobilise the community's wealth to create more wealth, as well as meeting its aim of providing the community with sustainable access to savings and credit facilities . In practice, the program saw success as THP’s Iganga Epicenter Rural Bank in Uganda was named the “Best SACCO (Savings and Credit Cooperative) of 2009” by the District Commercial Office of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry.[6]

THP's contributions to the whole operation include the gifting of RLF to start the whole process, payment of the Rural bank manager's salary for the first 2 years to secure full compliance, and assistance in the preparation of reports for the appropriate government office.[5]

Additionally, with the aim of solving food and health issues, THP has initiated a partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to address the adverse impact of disease on crops that ultimately threaten food security. The staple food crop of Uganda is cassava, of which production is greatly constrained by pests and diseases, especially the African cassava mosaic virus. The partnership enabled the education of Ugandan farmers through grants of laptops with inbuilt training courses on group management, cassava multiplication, pests and diseases. Farmers were also taught on and given access to disease-free high-yielding cassava variety MH97/2961.[7] This arrangement has improved household incomes and food security for a total of 1,455 partners in the last three years.[8]

Impact assessment

  • The Hunger Project official website
  • PanAfrica: Better Leadership Determines Our Future Concord Times, Freetown, May 19, 2006.
  • Message from President Joan Holmes to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Freetown, posted May 15, 2006.

External links

  1. ^ a b "Charity Review of Hunger Project". Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Mission – The Hunger Project". Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ Andy Carlton; Hannes Manndorff; Andrew Obara; Walter Reiter; Elisabeth Rhyne. "Microfinance in Uganda" (PDF). L&R SOCIALRESEARCH. p. 9. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Microfinance Program: How It Works". Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Microfinance Program in Africa". Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Watts, Tory. "Help Build a Community Food Bank in Rural Uganda". GlobalGiving. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  8. ^ "Achieving More through Strategic Partnerships in Uganda | The Hunger Project". 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  9. ^ "Innovations for Poverty Action". Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  10. ^ "Evaluating an Epicenter Scale-Up Strategy in Ghana".  
  11. ^ a b "The Hunger Project". Charity Navigator.
  12. ^ "Top Rated Charities". American Institute of Philanthropy. Retrieved September 17, 2006.
  13. ^ "2004 Combined Federal Campaign National List" (Word document, see "Global Hunger Project", item #1436). U. S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
  14. ^ "CVC 2005 Charity Application Global Hunger Project". Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. Retrieved September 17, 2006
  15. ^ Taylor, Ihsan (January 14, 2011). "Paperback Row". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ Rosboch, Lili (June 21, 2010). "Family Sells $2M Mansion, Gives Half to Charity: Review". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c Kristof, Nicholas D. (January 23, 2010). "What Could You Live Without?". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  18. ^ Bill Hybels, Ashley Wiersma (2010). The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond: Participant's Guide. Zondervan.  
  19. ^  
  20. ^ Rick Ross (26 April 2004). "Leader of controversial organization with ties to "cult-like" group tapped by UN Task Force to help cure world hunger". Cult News. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  21. ^ The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come, The Hunger Project
  22. ^ Gordon, Suzanne (December 1978). "Let them eat est". Mother Jones. Vol. 3, No. 10, pp. 40–44, 49–50, 52–54
  23. ^ Bell, Daniel and Weston, Brendan, February 13, 1985. "Hunger Project feeds itself". McGill Daily
  24. ^ 
  25. ^ "Global Board of Directors and Officers – The Hunger Project". Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ Joan Holmes Founding President, The Hunger Project The Hunger Project Website


As of 2010, the board membership was as follows:[25]

Board membership

  • Mary Ellen McNish, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • John Coonrod, Executive Vice President
  • Idrissa Dicko, Vice President for Africa Programs

Executive staff

Governance and administration

  • the organization's original ties (severed in 1991) to Werner Erhard, Erhard Seminars Training, and their philosophies.[19][20] The origin of the Hunger Project can be seen in the source document "The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come", from 1977, written by Werner Erhard.[21]
  • the failure of the Hunger Project to reach its goal of "ending world hunger by 1997...";[22]
  • the focus of the Project (1977–1990) on public education and advocacy, rather than providing food and other direct action. On May 30, 1981, the board of directors of Oxfam Canada passed a resolution which stated they would not endorse any activities or programs sponsored by The Hunger Project, nor would they accept funds from the project.[23]
  • Encouraging people to sell their house and donate half of the equity while possibly thinking that it directly aids people suffering from hunger. The actual purpose of the project is "empowering people to end their own hunger", "...therefore not feeding people." and creating "a paradigm consistent with the end of hunger" [24]

The Hunger Project has been the object of criticism, focused on:

Public criticism

Kevin Salwen and his then 14-year-old daughter Hannah, authors of The Power of Half, describe in their 2010 book how their family sold their home and donated half the proceeds (about $800,000) to The Hunger Project.[15][16][17] The family used the other half of the proceeds to buy a smaller, less expensive home.[17] Their donation was earmarked to help 30,000 rural villagers in over 30 villages in Ghana.[17][18]

The Power of Halfdonation

The Hunger Project met the standards to be listed on the 2004 Combined Federal Campaign National List[13] and the Commonwealth of Virginia 2005 Charity Application.[14]

The Hunger Project raises funds, via contributions, in Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. According to its online report retrieved February 2007, [1] Charity Navigator gives The Hunger Project four out of four stars,[11] and the American Institute of Philanthropy gives it an A- rating.[12]

Financial and accountability reports

[10] partnered with THP to evaluate the long-term impact of this strategy on health, nutrition, income, the role of women, social cohesion and education in Ghana.[9]

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