Freedom From Hunger

Rating: 5 stars   15 reviews

Issues: International, Economic Development, Microfinance

Location: 1644 Da Vinci Court Davis CA 95618 USA

Mission: Freedom from Hunger offers women in poor, rural areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America a powerful combination of microfinance, education and health-protection services so they can feed their children, safeguard their health and gain lasting knowledge and skills. Our programs build on a woman’s determination, courage, entrepreneurial spirit and love for her children. We increase sustainability through collaboration with in-country partners, and rigorous impact studies show that integrating microfinance with other needed services can alleviate poverty, improve health and end hunger—one family at a time, millions of people a year.
Results: Freedom from Hunger’s 49 staff have trained and supported 150 partners in 20 countries, who are currently reaching more than 4.4 million people (almost all women in poor rural communities) and benefiting a total of over 24 million, when their family members are included.
Geographic areas served: Africa, Asia and Latin America
Programs: For Assa Fofana, nothing is simple. If her child comes down with malaria—common in Mali—she cannot sell vegetables at the market so that her children have enough to eat that day. Instead, she stays home with her sick child. Savings set aside to buy food during the hungry season are spent on malaria medicine. She needs a loan to grow her business and earn more money, but her rural village is beyond the reach of banks and even most microcredit providers. School is expensive in Mali, but she knows her children’s education is vital for her family to end generations of poverty and hunger. Freedom from Hunger knows that Assa and more than a billion people like her need more than money to defeat poverty. That’s why our programs combine microfinance with education and health services, including health savings, health loans, health insurance, health education, group discounts with health providers, mobile healthcare in rural villages, distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and more. To ensure lasting change, we train local organizations to deliver our programs cost-effectively and independently. We have shown that combining microfinance with education and health services is smart, both for women and for the local organizations that serve them. More and more local organizations are joining us in integrating programs to alleviate world poverty.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

During my time on the Board I visited our program in Kenya, where women were using our small donations to start up self-sustaining businesses for themselves. I also, promoted Freedom From Hunger by speaking about the organization to various groups in Arizona, and presented a slide show about our work in the world. I solicited donations in Arizona from contributors who came to believe in our orgaization's motto, " Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime". Freedom From Hunger has the multiplier effect in that we supervise the new enterprises & make sure that they succeed the first year, and after that success follows success from one generation to another. Others who see good outcomes are encouraged to try new enterprises & it goes on and on in that community. It is very exciting to see this happen, and it is impossible to measure the extent of this self impowerment after it begins to take hold. Without question, the long range effect is in building confidence in the people that they will be able to sustain themselves.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See above remarks.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try to find more money to start to work in other communities around the world who are in need of programs such as ours.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

I like this organization because our programs result in permanent empowerment of people to find ways to sustain themselves.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

truly dedicated and sincere in their approach to helping foster confidence and results in our recipients.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

truly change the future for millions of poor people. Our programs lead to independence from want, and put the recipients on the path to being able to better sustain themselves and their families.

Ways to make it better...

If I had been more successful at raising money for the group, they could have expanded their programs in other communities around the world, that would benefit from our programs.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funding is an ever-present unmet need. There are millions of people in third-world countries who would benefit from our programs.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I have been on many boards and in a number of national organizations and never have I been involved with people who are more sincerely interested in the welfare of strangers in far away lands than the leadership and staff of Freedom From Hunger.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I have been on the board of FFH for 3 years and in that time have come to understand the leadership role it plays in the field of microcredit organizations by promoting basic education modules in conjunction with loan repayment meetings. These modules cover money management, basic business skills, basic health care and nutrition. FFH's underlying premise is based on the data that shows women will use the money they make on a small business feel their familes and thus reduce chronic hunger. FFH is a very ethical, sensitively run organization with a big heart.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have observed FFH's credit with health education modules presented to a women's microcredit group in Ghana where they gained an understanding of how one gets malaria and how to prevent it. Very powerful.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

7 people found this review helpful

Several years ago I checked out this program and started donating. I got impressed enough that I now donate monthly. What they do just makes sense to help women in the worst conditions learn how to help themselves an get on their feet to improve the situations of themselves and their families. Educations and a small loan equals empowerment and improved health and life situations.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching reported results.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I was first introduced to Freedom From Hunger about four years ago. A friend involved with the organization asked me if I would like to see what the organization did first hand. He invited me to go to Bolivia to visit villiages where women utilize the services provided by Freedom From Hunger (FFH). For five days I had the opportunity to sit in meetings where women discussed their businesses and carried on the financial transactions in order to keep their 'organizations' solvent. I saw education being delivered on such vital services as basic health care or putting away 'excess money' earned in a savings account. Items so basic it is taken for granted by most people in the U.S. Later at a round table session of the participants who traveld with FFH I was asked what I saw during the trip. My response was I saw hope being created where none likely existed before. I saw an organization creating opportunities for a better life to the women and children they reach. I saw dedication by an organization to those who don't have a voice but need to be heard. It was amazing for me personally and convinced me it was an organization that I wanted to be part of. Great people, great mission, great results!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Bolivia. I visited village meetings for five days and saw first hand the results of their efforts.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

As a venture capitalist, I have seen first hand what can happen when the flow of capital is directed to energetic and motivated entrepreneurs. When I first heard about Freedom From Hunger and its Credit with Education program, I wondered if the role of microfinance in the third world might possess similar characteristics and if it could help raise living standards. So I traveled to Haiti seven years ago to observe how Freedom From Hunger pursues its mission and to find out if it was successful. I discovered to my amazement that indeed microloans made to women to help fund their small businesses, when coupled with business or health education, are a powerful economic force. Instead of being a program that gives people fish, Credit with Education teaches people how to fish and lends them the capital to make it happen. The result is a sustainable increase in living standards. I joined Freedom From Hunger right after that trip and have been an enthusiastic supporter ever since.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my personal visits to Haiti, Mali and Bolivia. I have witnessed first hand how Freedom From Hunger focuses on the poorest of the poor women in villages across the globe and makes a profound difference in their lives and those of their families.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

When I first learned about Freedom From Hunger, and their method of combining education with credit for very poor women in developing countries, I realized the tremendous potential for alleviating hunger and malnutrition in countries where extreme poverty exists. I have visited with credit groups consisting of 20-30 women in Mali & Ghana in West Africa, Bolivia, and the Philippines. There I saw first hand what FFH is accomplishing. A lady operating a small store (4’ X 6’) on a busy street in the Philippines, made possible with loans from a FFH credit group, told me what she appreciated most was when one of her two small sons is ill she does not have to decide whether to spend money on Food or Medicine, she can have both. One FFH field trainer told of the woman in West Africa who, after a training session on Child Survival, came up to her crying and said if she had known before what she had just learned her two babies would not have died. Multiply these two examples by some TWO MILLION women and their families. These women through education and empowerment gained via Freedom From Hunger’s efforts will add a very positive power for good in the development of their countries.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Site visits to credit groups in West Africe, Bolivia, Phillipines

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

As a communications professional, I visited several of Freedom from Hunger's programs and talked to women participants. Some of the women I talked with were selected for the interview by local staff. Others volunteered on the spot. I picked others at random. I will never forget the women I met or the stories they told. Their determination to make life better for their children and themselves was present in every conversation. All they needed was the chance to make their hard work pay off in earnings, savings and knowledge. Freedom from Hunger's programs gave them that chance. There are too many heart-warming stories to tell, but one theme I wanted to mention is the one of empowerment. So many women told me how they believed in themselves and their ability to create positive change because of their participation in the programs. They gave me example after example of change. They were proud of themselves and they wanted me to know it. One thing that impressed me was that most of the women never knew the name "Freedom from Hunger"--only that of the local organization that delivered the services. Freedom from Hunger likes it that way. They train local people and organization to implement their high-impact programs and then they step back. If anything, they are too modest about their impact. I am grateful to have met these women and heard their stories of impact.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In visiting the programs and talking with the women who participate. I've met women in Africa, Asia and Latin America on my visits. I am also a donor and volunteer.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

They're not the household name they should be and should probably devote more resources to communcations and PR. As a communications professional, it's no surprise I would say that, I guess, but I would do more in that area.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Visiting the programs and talking with women who participate.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

I've met the senior people, board members and staff. All are excellent and dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Double its operations.

Ways to make it better...

I get frustrated that more people don't know about the organization.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funding!

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

As a public health nutritionist I am most interested in helping organizations that help promote nutrition and health of women and their families. Freedom from Hunger does this and so much more! Through their Credit with Education and Saving for Change programs, Freedom from Hunger enables women to develop the skills and knowledge to begin a business, refund the money loaned to them, care for their family through improved nutition and health care, and even save money and loan to other women. I have been most impressed by the professionalism of Freedom from Hunger staff While a relatively small organization, they work efficiently with regional staff to reach women throughout the world to help them develop self-sufficiency along with improved confidence and self-esteem. I will continue to prioritize my support with Freedom from Hunger being my top recipient.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

communications with staff and regular publications.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

I was introduced to Freedom from Hunger by a friend and was immediately engaged by the power of the credit with education model that Freedom from Hunger pioneered and the staff's commitment to not just doing the right thing, but doing things right-that is, with well documented results. Then, I had the privilege of visiting Haiti, and meeting many of the women whose own dedication, commitment and support of one another makes the Freedom from Hunger model truly transformational. As a result, I am continuously motivated to contribute time and resources to this organization. Of all the philanthropic activities in which I am engaged, I consider this one as yielding by far the highest and best social and tangible return on investment in the work to end poverty in our lifetime.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the work firsthand in Haiti, engaging with staff and partners who visit the United States and share their work, and witnessing a tireless pursuit of innovation on behalf of women who are among the poorest of the poor.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-3-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

In January 2010, I visited Freedom From Hunger's microfinance with education program in Mali, West Africa. It was inspiring to see the commitment by the women who were able to save and borrow safely and affordably, sometimes for the first time in their lives. By combining savings and lending with education - in this case education related to malaria prevention and other health-related issues - FFH is helping poor women and their families develop tools to strengthen their families' basic financial sustainability. As a board member, I felt moved by the quality and impact of Freedom From Hunger's work.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

On-site visit in Mali, West Africa; Quantitative and qualitative reports from staff and board at board meetings

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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