The Hunger Project
|Headquarters||New York, New York|
|Key people||Mary Ellen McNish, 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)|
|Operating income||30.4% to $919,249 USD (2004)|
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.
- 1 Countries of operation
- 2 Primary activities
- 3 Financial and accountability reports
- 4 "The Power of Half" donation
- 5 Public criticism
- 6 Governance and administration
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Countries of operation
In 2009 The Hunger Project was active in Africa, in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, and Uganda, in Asia, in Bangladesh and India, and in Latin America, in Mexico, Bolivia (partnered with Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola (ACLO)), and Peru (partnered with Chirapaq (Center for Indigenous Peoples' Cultures of Peru)).
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (November 2014)|
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. 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.
The program consists of 2 phases: Direct Credit and Rural Bank.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. This arrangement has improved household incomes and food security for a total of 1,455 partners in the last three years.
Innovations for Poverty Action, a nonprofit evaluation organization, 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.
Financial and accountability reports
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, Charity Navigator reports that The Hunger Project's program costs in FY2005 were 80.2% of expenses, and administrative and fundraising costs were 19.8%. Give.org/BBB reports that as of December 2006, the Project's program expenses were 77% of total, and administrative and fundraising costs 23% and meets all of its standards. Charity Navigator gives The Hunger Project four out of four stars, and the American Institute of Philanthropy gives it an A- rating.
"The Power of Half" donation
Kevin Salwen and his 14-year-old daughter Hannah Salwen, authors of The Power of Half, describe in their 2010 book how their family chose to sell its home, so that it could donate half of the proceeds of the sale of the home ($850,000) to The Hunger Project. They also discuss the process the family went through to pick The Hunger Project as the recipient of its donation, out of a number of possible charitable recipients, and the reaction of some to their choice to earmark their charitable contribution for overseas rather than for the U.S. where they live. The project they earmarked the donation for will lessen the hunger of 30,000 rural villagers in over 30 villages in Ghana, and help the villagers move from poverty to self-reliance. The family then bought a new home for itself, which was half the size and value of its original home.
The Hunger Project has been the object of criticism, focused on:
- the organization's original ties (severed in 1991) to Werner Erhard, Erhard Seminars Training, and their philosophies. 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.
- the failure of the Hunger Project to reach its goal of "ending world hunger by 1997...";
- 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.
Governance and administration
- Mary Ellen McNish, President and Chief Executive Officer
- John Coonrod, Executive Vice President
- Idrissa Dicko, Vice President for Africa Programs
As of 2010, the board membership was as follows:
- Steven J. Sherwood, Chair
- Joan Holmes, former President, The Hunger Project 
- Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique
- V. Mohini Giri, former Chair of the National Commission for Women in India
- Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, former Vice-President and Minister of Agriculture in Uganda
- Cecilia Loría Saviñón, former Director of Indesol in Mexico
- George Mathew
- Queen Noor of Jordan (honorary)
- Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Peruvian diplomat, fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations (honorary)
- Amartya Sen, economist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics (honorary)
- George Weiss
- M. S. Swaminathan, Chair Emeritus (heads the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation)
- Charles Deull, Secretary
- "Charity Review of Hunger Project". bbb.org. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- "Mission – The Hunger Project". thp.org. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- Andy Carlton; Hannes Manndorff; Andrew Obara; Walter Reiter; Elisabeth Rhyne. "Microfinance in Uganda". L&R SOCIALRESEARCH. p. 9. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- MARTHA NAKAKUTA LUYIRIKA. "THE ROLE OF MICROFINANCE IN THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN IN A COMMUNITY: A CASE STUDY OF MPIGI TOWN COUNCIL IN UGANDA.". DEVELOPMENT STUDIES. p. 10. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Microfinance Program: How It Works". Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- "Microfinance Program in Africa". Retrieved 24 February 2012.
- Watts, Tory. "Help Build a Community Food Bank in Rural Uganda". GlobalGiving. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "Achieving More through Strategic Partnerships in Uganda | The Hunger Project". Thp.org. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "Innovations for Poverty Action". Poverty-action.org. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "Evaluating an Epicenter Scale-Up Strategy in Ghana". Innovations for Poverty Action. Archived from the original on 1 September 2010.
- "The Hunger Project". Charity Navigator.
- "Top Rated Charities". American Institute of Philanthropy. Retrieved September 17, 2006.
- "2004 Combined Federal Campaign National List" (Word document, see "Global Hunger Project", item #1436). U. S. Office of Personnel Management. Retrieved September 16, 2006.
- "CVC 2005 Charity Application Global Hunger Project". Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. Retrieved September 17, 2006
- Taylor, Ihsan (January 14, 2011). "Paperback Row". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- Rosboch, Lili (June 21, 2010). "Family Sells $2M Mansion, Gives Half to Charity: Review". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- Rachel Mount (April 2010). "A Surprising Path to Philanthropy". O, The Oprah Magazine. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
- Kristof, Nicholas D. (January 23, 2010). "What Could You Live Without?". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- Bill Hybels, Ashley Wiersma (2010). The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond: Participant's Guide. Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-32948-5. Retrieved March 9, 2011.
- Rick Ross (10 April 2004). "The Hunger Project attempts to purge criticism and history from the Internet". Cult News. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- 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.
- The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come, The Hunger Project
- Gordon, Suzanne (December 1978). "Let them eat est". Mother Jones. Vol. 3, No. 10, pp. 40–44, 49–50, 52–54
- Bell, Daniel and Weston, Brendan, February 13, 1985. "Hunger Project feeds itself". McGill Daily
- "Global Board of Directors and Officers – The Hunger Project". thp.org. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- Joan Holmes Founding President, The Hunger Project The Hunger Project Website
- 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 griefandrenewal.com, Freetown, posted May 15, 2006.