As 'hungry season' approaches, Mercy Corps launches campaign on women and hunger

June 18, 2009

Campaign aims to raise $3 million, advocate for policy change, raise awareness

Portland, OR – The global relief and development agency Mercy Corps today launched the “One Table” campaign to empower women to fight global hunger. Mercy Corps pledged to raise $3 million for these efforts, as well as influence U.S. global hunger policy and spread awareness about how women can lead families out of hunger and poverty. “One Table” was launched at the approach of the summer hungry season, when food stocks dwindle to dangerously low levels in many poor countries.

“We’re launching this campaign to invite women around the world—whether they’re in Kansas, Kinshasa, or Kathmandu— to bring something to the table on this issue,” said Mercy Corps President Nancy Lindborg. “’One Table’ is about women coming together, sharing their ideas and resources, and taking action so that hungry families can get the nourishment they need today, and the tools to feed themselves in the future through long-term solutions.”

According to the United Nations, 17 people die every minute because they do not have enough to eat. Hunger is the world’s number one health risk, greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Human suffering spikes during the spring and summer months of what is called the “hungry season,” the time between when food stocks from the previous harvest run out and the new harvest arrives. This exacerbates the already harsh impact of historically high prices for some food staples, especially maize and rice.

”Global hunger is a solvable problem,” said Penny Anderson, Mercy Corps’ director of food security. “One of the smartest courses of action is investing in women; they grow most of the food for their communities, invest their earnings to achieve long-term benefits for their families, and take advantage of education and financial resources to feed and care for others.”

Mercy Corps has often targeted women, particularly through agricultural and economic programs. Efforts range from boosting the productivity of female dairy farmers in Niger to providing small-scale financial services to women tea farmers in India and teaching better nutritional and agricultural practices to mothers in Tajikstan.

With “One Table,” Mercy Corps hopes to raise additional funds to support these activities, a total of $3 million in one year. The agency also aims to support U.S. policy efforts targeting food and increased agricultural assistance, and raise awareness about the connection between investing in women and solving hunger.

The agency will unveil specific initiatives within “One Table” in the coming weeks and months. “Hunger is caused by many factors, and together, we can solve it. Around the world, women are problem solvers and agents of hope,” said Lindborg. “’One Table’ will be engaging, enriching, and joyful – maybe even fun.”

To learn more about the “One Table” campaign and sign up, please visit onetable.mercycorps.org.