Private sector comes together to end hunger forever
The world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. The World Food Programme reported that since 2014, the number of people suffering from hunger and malnutrition began to increase again. This is further exacerbated by climate change, economic downturns, and man-made conflicts. The COVID-19 pandemic is also expected to affect food insecurity and may push more communities into food crisis.
In the Philippines, around 4.2 million families experienced hunger, according to the latest figures of Social Weather Stations (SWS). Meanwhile, the high levels of stunting (too short for their age) and wasting (too thin for their height) among children under the age of five remain a problem in the Philippines. Around 30.3% of Filipino children under the age of five are stunted while 5.6% are wasted.
To address this situation, the private sector launched The Hunger Project to help solve hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity in the country.
RACE TO ZERO HUNGER
The Hunger Project (THP) aims to address the underlying problem of hunger and malnutrition by supporting programs, projects, and organizations responding to the urgent need to help the hungry, while seeking to introduce frameworks and approaches that address systemic and persistent hunger and malnutrition plaguing the Philippines.
“We will work towards reducing the 4.2 million families experiencing hunger to as close to zero as possible. We will begin in locations such as the National Capital Region, Samar, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, Sarangani, and Basilan. Ultimately, we want to ensure that no mother will endure hunger during her pregnancy, that no child will go to school on an empty stomach, that every family will have food on the table, three times a day, for their entire lives,” said Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr., Vice Chairman of The Hunger Project and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).
THP believes that systemic solutions require a host of interventions that are targeted in terms of beneficiaries and geographic space. Meanwhile, long-term solutions also require tracking and measuring indicators of success, extract and disseminate lessons and good practices for potential scale-up, replication, or sustainability.
As a new platform, THP is working on awareness and coalition building to encourage and influence organizations, companies and individuals to support initiatives and partnerships; create a dashboard to help track and monitor data and progress; build models for localized implementation; and advocate technology and market solutions on advancing programs, such as the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN), increasing efficiency in end-to-end value chains, and improving farmers’ productivity and income.
THP will be implemented in sites where the incidence of malnutrition ranges from medium to very high. In NCR, the projects to be implemented are The Hope Grant which intends to provide funds to small-scale startups and social enterprises that offer business solutions in the area of food security and hunger mitigation; mapping the hunger and nutrition initiatives; the Tanging Yaman Foundation Alternative Rice Hub which will provide more affordable and high quality rice to urban poor communities while providing income to local farmers; and policy and action research to determine the effectiveness of programs and interventions and identify best practices in local and international contexts.
Meanwhile, the First 1,000 Days with Emergency Feeding Project will be implemented in Samar, Sarangani, Zamboanga del Norte, and Basilan. In Negros Occidental, THP created the Negros Occidental Nutrition Alliance (NONA), comprised of local NGOs and CSOs and academe, that aims to address hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity in the province. THP also partnered with Seaoil Foundation to provide communities and vulnerable families access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food through the Tugon sa Gutom project.
“Any hunger requires two very basic initiatives actually when you get down to the fundamentals. On the demand side, it is raising the levels of income of the people so they can buy their own food. On the supply side, it is improving factors of food production such as logistics so food can get to the areas where it is needed. This is an area where technology can play a vital role in connecting the farmers, fisherfolks and poultry growers direct to the end users. On both sides, I believe that businesses can play a role by providing relevant support and investing in agriculture,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman of THP and PBSP.
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