Each and every day, 20,000 people die as a consequence of chronic,
persistent hunger. Approximately 800 million people live in
conditions of poverty so severe that they are unable to obtain
enough food to meet their daily requirements. This is not the kind
of hunger that makes headlines, as in a famine, but a silent
holocaust that continues day after day, month after month.
This waste of human lives is all the more tragic in that it can be
Ending hunger is a highly complex
challenge. It is increasingly clear that charitable responses and
traditional bureaucratic programs, as useful as they may be, are
insufficient to carry the day. More importantly, people increasingly
recognize that conventional approaches are based on a framework
of thinking that is inconsistent with what actually must be done
to achieve the end of hunger on a sustainable basis.
Creating a New Future
Ending hunger requires a true
break with the status quo. It will not happen in the course of
"business as usual." To resolve humanity's oldest and most
pernicious problem requires four essential ingredients:
Given who we are as human beings, what is critical to our progress
is vision - seeing a future that can be achieved and is worth
achieving. A vision that calls forth a sustainable future for
humanity, a future in which all people have the opportunity to live
healthy and productive lives in harmony with nature is what we call
"the end of hunger."
Commitment is what allows individuals to encounter obstacles,
frustrations and failures on the pathway to achievement and still
keep going. It is increasingly clear that achieving the future we
envision will not just happen. It must be made to happen, and this
will require extraordinary commitment. Calling forth that
commitment, and keeping it focused and sustained to fulfill the
vision, is a vital responsibility of
The Hunger Project.
Leadership is critical to every great human achievement. Ending
hunger requires committed leadership at all levels of society - from
the village to the district, state, nation and the international
community - that can call forth vision and commitment, and mobilize
people to take effective action.
Meeting a challenge as complex and daunting as hunger in a world of
finite resources requires brilliant strategy and high-leverage
action. It requires inquiry, analysis and allocation of resources
consistent with achieving the goal. Every action must be designed to
take a quantum leap forward towards the goal. There must also be
extraordinary flexibility of action. One must move down a pathway
with sufficient intentionality to make progress, yet be willing at
every moment to let go of one approach to take a better pathway.
The Campaign to
Not a program,
but a phenomenon
work of ending hunger cannot be accomplished by any one
organization, or even any conceivable network of organizations. The
end of hunger will not be a series of well-managed projects. It will
be achieved through millions of actions, most of which will never be
recognized, and will certainly not be monitored and measured.
The end of
hunger will be a phenomenon
will be an unleashing of the creativity and productivity of hundreds
of millions of hungry people, and hundreds of thousands of effective
strategies and actions that create the enabling environment for them
phenomenon of strategy and action will not happen on its own.
Individuals must take responsibility for making it happen.
A movement, not
this reason, The Hunger Project can never be accurately thought of
as merely an organization. It must be thought of as a movement,
a campaign of individuals and organizations committed to taking
strategic action to mobilize self-reliant development and transform
the policy environment at every level so that people can succeed.
campaign at every level of society
campaign for ending hunger starts with the creativity of hungry
people - respecting them as the primary authors and actors of the
work to end hunger, awakening them to a possibility for a better
life, and working to clear away the obstacles to the success of
their self-reliant action.
Building upon the self-reliant efforts of hungry people, the
campaign to end hunger must take action at every level of society -
from the local level up to the national government, and to the level
of the international community.
Planning-in-Action - a Methodology for Accomplishment,
Focus and Breakthrough
To meet the
challenge of ending hunger requires a methodology that will break up
old patterns of action, that will foster new ways of thinking and
empower people to achieve concrete break-throughs in health,
education, nutrition, food production, incomes and the empowerment
of women. The methodology to achieve this is called
Mobilize and empower committed
first step in our work is always to enlist the leadership of
individuals of great commitment, complete integrity and the stature
to access anyone in society necessary to ending hunger. Leadership
for action in a village must come from that village; leadership for
action in a nation must come from that nation. These individuals
must become completely clear about and committed to utilizing the
principles and methodology of The Hunger Project.
all sectors of society
Ending hunger cannot be accomplished by government alone. We bring
together leadership from all key sectors - business, academia, NGOs
and government agencies - forming councils to create and lead our
strategies in co-equal partnership.
Build a shared
people to work together effectively, they must achieve a
comprehensive shared understanding of the prevailing conditions, the
effectiveness of existing programs and the priority areas where
action is required. Bringing all the information together, and
making it clear, finite and confrontable, has been one of the most
empowering contributions of The Hunger Project since its inception.
achieving a strategic intent
Individuals working with The Hunger Project must develop a
powerfully articulated, unifying and achievable vision - a strategic
intent - and clear strategic objectives appropriate to solving the
problem, society-wide. We must never be content with helping a few,
but rather commit ourselves to transforming conditions throughout
society so that all people can build lives free from hunger.
playing a strategic, catalytic role
Once people are committed to actually achieving the goal, they must
then recognize the possibility of taking catalytic, high-leverage
action that can affect the "big picture" - breaking bottlenecks to
progress, improving existing programs, mobilizing and making better
use of resources, effecting structural changes in society that can
unleash the creativity and productivity of hungry people.
work is always guided by the question, What's missing? What, if
provided, would allow for a breakthrough? This is very different,
and far more powerful, than the more common questions, What's wrong?
Why isn't it working? These latter questions tend to call forth
blame and paralysis, not action and cooperation. The Hunger Project
respects the work of other organizations - by focusing on what's
missing, we avoid duplicating work being done by others.
Take immediate action
to catalyze "what's
missing" being provided. Take action first where it can succeed and
produce near-term results.
momentum of accomplishment
must constantly assess and sharpen the strategy. Each accomplishment
gives a new landscape: new leadership, new obstacles, new openings
for catalytic action. Each failure can lead to a deeper
understanding of the nature of the challenge. Creating and
sustaining this campaign mentality and style of working is crucial
to breaking the mind-set of resignation and unleashing the human