Recap: Our 2021 Thought Leadership in Action

December 28, 2021
Recap: Our 2021 Thought Leadership in Action!
From speaking at the United Nations to op-eds in Reuters, 2021 was a powerful year for Hunger Project thought leaders around the world.

Explore some of our advocacy and influence highlights from the year below. This is just the tip of the iceberg—national-level advocacy work in our Program and Partner Countries are critical to our thought leadership strategy.

Read on for notable publications, advocacy event summaries and Movement for Community-led Development collaboration. And if you’d like to know even more, download our thought leadership review of the year here!

Publications & Recognition

A Call for Access to Vaccines in Reuters

Hunger Project Global Vice President Rowlands Kaotcha published an op-ed in Reuters calling for access to COVID-19 vaccines. In the piece he challenges the idea that there is a lack of access to vaccines:

“That phrase, “lack of access,” is tossed around a lot. But “lack of access” belies what’s actually happening. It frees anyone from taking responsibility—because no one can own ‘lack of.’ The phrase gives the impression that there is an underlying natural cause to this disparity. But there is no natural cause. Wealthy countries are making a choice to deny access to those living in poverty. It is time we take a closer look at the words ‘lack of’ and start calling this injustice what it is: “denying access to those most at risk.”

UN Sustainable Development Goals ‘Good Practice’ Selection

The UN collects examples of good practices that could be scaled to support a path to the Sustainable Development Goals. Our SDG Union Strategy, implemented throughout Bangladesh, was selected this year! See our listing here.

Thought Leadership Writing

In his first piece for The Hunger Project’s Medium blog, CEO Tim Prewitt called for healthier and more equitable food systems. He wrote:

“Typically, conversations about improving food systems focus on complex, commercial agricultural systems, delivering products from farm to table, often across borders…What’s missing in this conversation? Community-level farming. Particularly trends driven largely by smallholder farmers. Smallholder farmers aren’t a footnote, they are the lifeblood of a global food system.”

Read the full piece.

Advocacy and Influence Events

In 2021, we leveraged digital advocacy and influence opportunities to ensure that the voices of program leaders and community partners were present during some of the world’s largest development and policy gatherings.

UN Commission on the Status of Women, March 2021

The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the pre-eminent international forum on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Anna Slattery, Communications Officer, represented The Hunger Project during a session about women’s leadership in COVID-19 response and recovery

“It takes time to cultivate strong leaders at the grassroots-level but, as this year has proven, the investment is critical for ensuring the resilience of rural communities.” – Anna Slattery, The Hunger Project

Generation Equality Forum, March/April 2021

On the heels of CSW, UN Women and the governments of Mexico and France hosted Generation Equality Forum (GEF), a global gathering that aimed to secure concrete, ambitious and transformative commitments to achieve progress towards gender equality. The Hunger Project-Mexico played a central role in shaping the agenda for the Forum and the government of Mexico’s official platform, as a leader within the Mexican Civil Society Advisory Group.

The team organized several side events elevating the voices of indigenous women and youth. Finally, Veda Bharadwaja, Senior Program Officer with The Hunger Project-India, spoke on a panel about how the pandemic is shaping economic opportunities at the local level in India.

SID-Washington Annual Conference, May 2021

We’re proud to share that The Hunger Project won first place in the Society for International Development (SID)-Washington Lightning Talk competition this year with our submission from Hunger Project policy advisor Gunjan Veda. In it she encourages every member of the development sector to examine their mindsets and biases to shift power and resources to those working closest to the communities living with hunger and poverty.

UN General Assembly, September 2021

We hosted two events on the margins of the UN General Assembly this year.

The first event highlighted the importance of bridging the gender digital divide and our new partnership with BlueTown, Microsoft and USAID in Ghana.The event was co-hosted with the African Union and the Africa Women’s Leadership Network. The event featured a keynote address from H.E. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former president of Mauritius and participation from Madame Bineta Diop, Hunger Project Board Member and African Union Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security. Watch the full event on YouTube.

The second event, hosted in conjunction with Climate Week NYC, highlighted the importance of fighting climate change in our mission to ending hunger, featuring Grace Chikowi, Country Manager, The Hunger Project-Malawi and Irene Naikaali, Head of Programs, The Hunger Project-Uganda. The event was the first moderated by a student from FeelGood, a youth-led movement that invests in The Hunger Project. Watch the full event on YouTube.

UN Food Systems Summit, Spring – Fall 2021

This year the United Nations convened a new summit to launch bold new actions to transform the way the world produces and consumes food, as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Leveraging our role as the Secretariat of the Movement for Community-led Development, The Hunger Project led conversations with stakeholders at all levels about how we can ensure the food system works for all.

In the lead up to the Summit, we were invited to be part of the World Economic Forum’s Transformation Leaders Network,where we drove conversations around the mindset shifts needed in society and within institutions to achieve an equitable and sustainable food system.

Additionally, as part of the Food Systems Summit Science Days, we hosted a panel discussion with our partners at AGRA, Farmerline and Microsoft about our work connecting smallholder farmers with digital resources to improve their farming practices.

Leading the Movement for Community-led Development

The Hunger Project is the co-founder and Secretariat of the Movement for Community-led Development — a coalition of organizations committed to programs that put communities in control of their own development.

For the past two years, under The Hunger Project’s leadership, the Movement has been working on a multi-phase collaborative research project to better understand the practice of community-led development (CLD). The team developed two tools to strengthen the practice, which were launched at a virtual gathering, with a keynote speech from former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda. Phase 2 of the research, funded by USAID, developed recommendations for policymakers and practitioners for ways to use CLD to strengthen food security and resilience. Pablo Sanchez, Senior Data Scientist at The Hunger Project, and our partners from World Vision, Outreach International and Pact, presented the findings of this research at the American Evaluators Association’s 35th Annual Conference. For more information about this work, please see our full summary.

This is just one aspect of the Movement’s work. For more information about its other convenings and areas of influence, click here.