Reflections From Åsa Skogström Feldt

May 24, 2017

It is time for me to move back to Sweden and packing is a good exercise for reflection.

In today´s news landscape it is easy to forget that the world is getting better, that we are making progress. Since 1990, the world has cut in half the share of undernourished people in the population. Even with a growing global population, that’s 216 million less of our sisters and brothers who are living in hunger. And, extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990.

It is easy to work out of a place of scarcity, not abundance; out of a place of power, fear and divisiveness, not compassion and shared responsibilities. Yet, we are all aligned with the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — our joint global goals.

The risk of having 17 goals and 169 indicators is that we will keep focusing at one indicator at a time, and create even more top-down siloed project approaches, instead of putting people in the center, working with community-led holistic processes, across sectors, which is exactly what is needed if we are going to achieve the SDGs.

It is not easy, and definitely not fast, but recent research points to the opportunities. For example, a new study, which includes research conducted in villages mobilized by The Hunger Project in Bangladesh in partnership with BRAC, shows the value of building strong communities, particularly among the lowest income groups. The study’s key finding is that low-income individuals who trust their communities make better long-term financial decisions that can lift them out of poverty.

There is still so much to be learnt about creating partnerships above individual interest; how to keep ensuring that youth are included; how to not only include climate mitigation in our work, but also ensure we are not using more of the resources than we have on our planet; how to continue making voices heard and listened to; and, of course, how to create enduring progress on gender diversity and inclusion of all.

We need to keep being curious, open and transformative leaders. Yes, we are all leaders in this, and we need to be fearless! We are all interconnected. Although I will not be in the same role as President and CEO of our global Hunger Project family, I absolutely pledge to keep standing for a world for everyone!

Åsa is departing The Hunger Project as of June 2017. Read more about this transition and our new President and CEO, Suzanne Mayo Frindt.