Starting in 1991 The Hunger Project has been working in partnership with people and leaders in East, West and Southern Africa and ever since then has developed a so called epicenter strategy, which is both cost-effective and easily transferable.
This bottom-up strategy has proved to be very successful in conquering hunger and poverty in rural Africa.
Groups of villages combine into dynamic centers where they learn to act cooperatively in order to meet their basic needs. Moreover, they gain access to so far unknown or untapped government resources.
The epicenters are situated in regions which are far apart (more than 20 km) from small and larger cities and for this reason are cut off from health services, schools, markets and often also from services of the other non-governmental organizations.
The epicenter strategy is divided into four phases that are clearly distinguishable, and it guides people in the space of about eight years from extreme poverty to a life of self-reliance.
The basic attitude of people that is affected at the outset by dependency, resignation and discrimination of women is changed by this process. A new attitude that is based on responsibility, self-reliance and gender equality is able to develop.
To this day, a total of 121 epicenters in eight African countries have been set up. They reach almost two million people and allow them sustainable improvements in the fields of health, education, food and family income.
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"In the local VCA (Vision-Commitment-Action)-Workshops of THP, the majority of participants are women and they become empowered to lead their lifes independently, to take action and to influence their communities as self-responsible members. As such, they jointly find their own ways out of chronic hunger and external material dependence. THP joins this process locally, where the people are at home."
Therese Gerber-Fürst, Management Consultant, has been supporting THP for more than 10 years