From Running to Sprinting: The Alliance’s Continuing – and Increasing – Role in Ending Hunger by 2030

February 25, 2019

We are running. As a community of advocates striving to end hunger by 2030, we find ourselves in the midst of a frantic race against troubling events and circumstances around the globe that have led to an overall rise in hunger over the past few years.  At the same time, we have found ourselves playing defense – including here in the United States – against budget proposals and potential rules that threaten to detract us from our efforts.

But 2018 proved that our broad anti-hunger community – and the Alliance to End Hunger in particular – is in both an ideal and critical position to move the needle toward zero hunger.  Last year, the Alliance mobilized its membership and broader network in a successful push for passage of two key pieces of legislation.  The Global Food Security Reauthorization Act highlighted America’s continued desire to lead by example in the fight against hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.  Additionally, our collective efforts successfully advocated for a Farm Bill that preserved critical nutrition assistance for hungry families in the United States, and also improved global nutrition programming.

Our success last year was proven by more than just our legislative wins.  The Alliance continued to grow the base of support needed to fight hunger both in the United States and around the world.  This went beyond growing our own Alliance membership (although that happened, too), and included two programs in particular.  The SDG2 Advocacy Hub, which the Alliance officially adopted as host to last year, provides a collaborative platform for global zero hunger movements and organizations to coordinate and cross-pollinate ideas to achieve maximum impact at global, regional, and national policy levels. Domestically, the Hunger Free Community Network is not only growing, but becoming more robust as a coalition and active in advocacy.  In fact, we rolled out the Self-Assessment Workbook for the Hunger Free Communities Network™.  This capacity-building tool was previously used in our global work, and was adapted for domestic HFC purposes.  Our HFC capacities have also been bolstered by the continuation of our AmeriCorps VISTA program, which gave us the opportunity to place VISTAS at nearly a dozen HFC sites across the country, as well as right here in Washington, DC.  In addition to building the capacities of these local communities to end hunger in their unique contexts, it has been wonderful witnessing the development of some of our nation’s next generation of anti-hunger leaders as we hear about their own wonderful stories and experiences.  On top of all of our network and coalition building, we also continued to offer multiple forums and events to showcase leading ideas and perspectives, not the least of which included the 2018 Hunger Free Communities Summit and our event at the World Food Prize as part of our ongoing partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

As we look forward in 2019, we will continue to build off of these successes, and utilize our unique strengths offered by the diversity of our membership.  As an organization, we are at a pivotal time in our journey to achieve our mission.  We recently concluded implementing our latest five-year Strategic Plan, and are rolling out an interim 3-year plan. This shorter 3-year plan will challenge us to build out our own capacity as a network organization, and ensure we are ready to play a dynamic and influential part in the final sprint to end hunger by 2030.  This means continuing to build up and support the HFC Network and SDG2 Advocacy Hub, as well as strengthen our own network and partnerships with other critical stakeholders in the U.S. and abroad.  We are also challenging ourselves to continue our 2018 practices of benchmark-setting and impact assessments around advocacy activities and beyond.  Our work will also set an example for others as we continue to be a thought leader in incorporating racial equity into our own work, and the larger dialogue around ending hunger.