Overall Policy Statement: It is the policy of The Hunger Project – as established by its Global Board of Directors in May 2011 – to advocate for the wide-spread adoption of key elements of our bottom-up, gender-focused, holistic rural community development strategies, and to place particularly high priority on good 1,000-Day nutrition.
Framing our advocacy positions
Based on the overall policy statement, THP leadership in all countries are free to adopt policy positions that are expressly consistent with this policy. Examples include:
- Social mobilization for self-reliant development: we encourage policies which empower people living in rural poverty to take charge of their own development — to not be treated as “beneficiaries” but as rights-bearing citizens. In areas where hunger persists, this requires a mindset shift by both citizens and government, and the development of leadership. The Hunger Project takes a rights-based approach to development policy — based on inclusion, equality and equity — and to supporting programs that strengthen people’s own voice and capabilities. It strongly encourages policies such as the right to information that expand citizen voice in decision-making and social accountability.
- Empowering women as key change agents: we recognize gender discrimination as a primary root cause of hunger and poverty. We encourage policies which strengthen the voice and agency of women, and hold governments to account for closing the gender gap by ensuring that a majority of public resources are focused on empowering women and girls.
- Strengthening participatory local democracy: the issues of hunger and poverty are local, and require local solutions. We encourage governments to devolve resources and decision-making authority to local governments, and that these local governments adopt best practices to be inclusive, transparent, accountable to the population and effective. In addition, we encourage local governments to work in authentic partnership with all segments of their population, mobilizing their creativity and energies to achieve the end of hunger.
- Establishing a comprehensive package of basic programs: given that hunger lies at the nexus of a broad range of issues, including health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, food production, family income and equal rights for women and girls, we encourage governments to take an integrated/holistic/systems approach to ensuring these are in place. This is particularly true for 1,000 Day Nutrition, which cannot effectively be addressed with anything short of a comprehensive approach.
- Protecting the planet: the majority of hungry people are food farmers, whose success is intimately linked to the sustainability of the natural resource based. The Hunger Project drafted what became the first principle of the 1992 Rio Declaration – that all people have the right to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature.
- Patience: creating an enabling environment for people to overcome poverty requires long-term and strategic investments. We encourage governments to invest in long-term, community-led development, not simply in short-term projects.
Any policy positions beyond promoting the adoption of essential components of our field programs may be referred to the Global Boards by the President/CEO.
How we advocate
The Hunger Project respects the dignity of every person. We call on every person, both the powerful and those living in poverty, to make a personal commitment to the end of hunger and take action to advance this great human endeavor. Consistent with this stand, there are certain things we do and do not do as we advocate policies to end hunger.
- Leadership: Hunger will not be ended by merely doing more of the same – it will require major changes, and this requires leadership. The Hunger Project will provide leadership where it is needed, enlisting influential leaders in our cause, and will always work in a style which encourages others to step forward in their leadership as well.
- Partnership: We approach policy makers in a spirit of partnership, not through confrontation, controversy or complaint.
- Legal and Non-partisan: The Hunger Project carries out its advocacy within the legal framework of each country where we work, and consistent to our obligations of our consultative status with the UN. In addition, The Hunger Project is scrupulous in not associate itself with one party or another, recognizing that all parties have a contribution to make to the end of hunger, and it will never support one candidate or party over another in election processes. Nonpartisanship is an important responsibility, as some political parties may try to define disagreements over policy options as “partisan.” The Hunger Project will support policy options consistent only with what our experience has shown is the best for ending hunger, and not to either oblige or oppose a political party.
- A Common Front: The Hunger Project knows that no single organization or network of organizations are sufficient to meet the challenge of world hunger, and that we all must work together. The Hunger Project invests time and resources to build and support alliances of organizations to work together and speak with one voice for the end of hunger and poverty.
All staff and volunteers involved in advocacy with The Hunger Project must be accountable to the Global Board of Directors and any relevant National Boards (globally, through the PCAC) for implementation of this policy. The Global Office will report in writing on advocacy plans and activities to the Global Board and PCAC twice each year. Commencing in 2015, a Global advocacy task force will prepare and present a strategic plan for advocacy to the Board
Background: Since its inception in 1977, The Hunger Project has worked to encourage governments, government agencies and their leaders to align their policies with the sustainable end of chronic hunger (see our advocacy history here). Our advocacy is – at all times – consistent with our principles, vision, mission and programmatic strategies.