#RethinkWorldHunger: Development Can’t Be Business as Usual

February 19, 2015

By Mary Kate Costello, Policy Analyst, The Hunger Project

The global community is at a pivotal moment in history as we aim to eradicate hunger and poverty — in all of their forms — by 2030. Enormous progress has been made over the last two decades, yet there is still the most entrenched poverty and hunger to be eliminated. Smallholder farmers and women continue to be the most hungry and least empowered and governance systems are not always preserving the human rights of the people most in need. The Post-2015 Development Agenda calls for an immense scale-up and universality of development support within a mere 15-year window. Yet, our goals are within reach. If we together engage in efforts that are innovative, efficient and exponentially effective, we will succeed in preserving human dignity and achieving sustainable development for all.

The Hunger Project is launching a broad awareness campaign inviting us all to “Rethink World Hunger” – to challenge the ideas that hunger and poverty are inevitable, that the end is nowhere in sight, and that the people living in conditions of hunger and poverty are passive recipients of aid. We seek to open people up to the opportunity before us: the global community is aligned that the end of hunger and poverty are indeed achievable if we together create the breakthroughs that are required –  and we must begin by empowering people as the agents of their own change. If we start with women, mobilize entire communities and engage in effective partnerships with government, people can be transformed from a state of resignation to a life of dignity and self-reliance. We invite members of the Alliance to End Hunger to join us in prioritizing the methodologies that support human capacity and dignity.

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The Post-2015 Development Agenda provides the  the opportunity to engage in a conversation that presents development positively, using terms such as “global” rather than “foreign,” “support” rather than “aid,” and “partners” rather than “beneficiaries.” To leverage this opportunity, the Rethink World Hunger campaign calls for advocacy to increase political will and encourage multi-sectoral donor support toward the type of integrated community development approaches that put people at the center.

People can be mobilized to rethink their status quo, rethink their access to services, rethink their children’s societal roles, rethink the inherent rights of the woman and rethink the opportunity before them. However, this cannot be done without committing to action at the local level in partnership with the people living in conditions of hunger and poverty. This mindset shift is necessary at all levels, for all stakeholders and for every sector to ensure that we do not carry out business as usual. For when we #rethinkworldhunger, we will create the transformation required to achieve the end of hunger once and for all.