Movement for Community-led Development Launches as Independent Organization

January 15, 2024

The Hunger Project launched the Movement for Community-led Development in 2015, as part of our mission to transform the paradigm of development – to one that centers communities living in hunger and poverty.

Until that time, most strategies to end hunger and poverty didn’t include community-led approaches or language — the Movement was founded to change that throughout the development sector and foster an understanding about what exactly “community-led development” means among practitioners. 

The Movement collects and disseminates best practices, aiming to “shift the power” from top-down to community-led. 

Since then, MCLD has grown into a global community of practice that now consists of national associations, 25 international organizations and more than 2,000 community-based organizations around the world. It has had significant influence on US policy, including the US Government’s commitment to shift their aid budget to community-led development. In the time of COVID, the Movement provided a platform for community leaders to get accurate information and ensure government responses were more community-led. In addition, the Movement supported community-led approaches in reaching areas where The Hunger Project did not have a presence, with local organizations launched in countries such as Kenya and Sierra Leone.

New Chapter for MCLD to Amplify Impact

After eight years being incubated at The Hunger Project, which served as the Secretariat of the Movement for Community-led Development, the Movement has officially launched as its own entity, as of January 1, 2024, to support its future growth and transformative impact. Globally, the Movement is a network of networks, and is in the process of co-creating a new global structure.

THP’s Former Executive Vice President John Coonrod is serving as the inaugural Chair of the Board of the Movement for Community-led Development US-based organization, and will continue as Strategic Advisor to The Hunger Project. Former THP staff member Gunjan Veda has taken on the role of Executive Director of the Movement, supporting both the US National Association and the global operations of MCLD. Former THP staff members Sera Bulbul (Washington, DC), Pascal Djohossou (Benin) and Joanna Mbakulo (Uganda) are supporting the national associations globally. 

The Hunger Project will continue to be a key partner and member of the Movement for Community-led Development, and will invest resources to support its core work, thanks to the partnership of our committed investors.

If you are interested in supporting our commitment to this work, please reach out to Liz Burt at liz.burt@thp.org 

You can read more about the Movement for Community-led Development’s latest activities on their website

Celebrating 46 Years of Impact

Our Executive Vice President and first volunteer, John Coonrod, will be retiring from The Hunger Project staff at the end of the year. For 46 years, John has been a champion for approaches to development that have at their center the self-reliance and dignity of each and every human being  on our planet. He has been a pioneer of our methodology; a respected thought leader in the international community on women-centered, community-led strategies to end hunger and poverty; and a committed investor and activist. 

“I consider myself to be the luckiest guy in the world. Archimedes is quoted as saying ‘Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.’ THP provided me both with levers and a place to stand, including a dream job that introduced me to some of the most inspiring leaders for social justice I could imagine, including each of you. And we have indeed moved the whole world. Not all the way. But some big steps,” said John. 

John will continue as Strategic Advisor to The Hunger Project.

Photo: John presenting a report in 1987.