Written by THP intern Erin Kiessling
For our staff’s favorite moments of the conference, check out this video.
The Hunger Project celebrated its 35th year of InterAction membership at the InterAction Forum this month. Our continued investment in partnerships was clear as Suzanne Mayo Frindt, Global President and CEO of The Hunger Project, co-chaired the Forum this year. Her opening remarks set the stage for several days of influential discussions on sustainable development, advancing a collective agenda, and the importance of gender-focused community-led development.
Throughout the two-day forum, The Hunger Project team attended thought-provoking sessions with a rich exchange of ideas, spoke with current and future partners, and presented during breakout sessions on behalf of The Hunger Project and the Movement for Community-led Development (MCLD).
The Hunger Project partnered with Relief International to lead a productive session titled “Beyond Frameworks: Letting Communities, Stories and Failures Define Impact.” The session highlighted how 35 development specialists across 23 organizations have come together to analyze 350 aid programs to quantitatively assess the impact of community-led development. Many attendees used the session as an opportunity to inform the scoping of the study and provide feedback on terminology. Several new organizations expressed interest in being involved with the study and the Movement after hearing about this groundbreaking research during the session.
In another session, The Hunger Project and Project Concern International presented in partnership Leveraging Collective Impact for Policy Change. During the session, Ann Hendrix-Jenkins, Senior Advisor for The Hunger Project and the Movement for Community-Led Development and Janine Schooley, Senior Vice President, Programs at PCI, posed important questions such as “How can policies support (or undermine) community agency?” and, “How can community agency support policy dialogue and policy activism?” These questions started a lively discussion with many stakeholders, including large NGOs, local civil society organizations and government policy professionals. Attendees concluded that policies supporting community-led development must be initiated in every level of government: local, regional, national, and international.
InterAction Forum was an excellent opportunity for The Hunger Project to share our research and experiences with our community partners while also learning from others. The Forum was an important reminder of the collective impact we can make as a mobilized community. While development strategies have significantly evolved to become more inclusive and responsive to the communities we serve, there is more progress to be made. Despite everything left to accomplish, The Hunger Project could not ask for a more determined and passionate group of partners to work with as we find solutions to the global problems of today.