Rahul Sharma (Editor)

The Hunger Project

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Corporate Homepage

Number of employees


Type of business
501(c)(3) non-profit

The Hunger Project httpslh6googleusercontentcomwy0wm0jjAFYAAA

charitable organization

Key people
Åsa Skogström Feldt, President and CEO Idrissa Dicko, Vice President Africa John Coonrod, Vice President Werner Erhard, Founder Robert W. Fuller, Founder John Denver, Founder

0.27% to $8,727,193 million USD (2004)

Operating income
30.4% to $919,249 USD (2004)

Mary Ellen McNish (Sep 2010–)

New York City, New York, United States

Werner Erhard, John Denver, Robert W. Fuller

Taproot Foundation, Heifer International, Feeding America, Save the Children, Action Against Hunger


What is the hunger project

The Hunger Project (THP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization incorporated in the state of California.


The Hunger Project is 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.

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. 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 a 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.

Impact assessment

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

The Power of Half donation

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. The family used the other half of the proceeds to buy a smaller, less expensive home. Their donation was earmarked to help 30,000 rural villagers in over 30 villages in Ghana.

Public criticism

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.
  • Executive staff

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

    As of 2010, the board membership was as follows:


    The Hunger Project Wikipedia

    Similar Topics