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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Freedom From Hunger

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Economic Development, International, International Development, International Economic Development, Microfinance

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.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

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.



Rating: 5

Freedom from Hunger changed me, the day I first heard of their work in providing adult education along with microloans. This was not charity, but a chance for families to study and work their way out of systemic poverty; and it was not a top-down smug attempt at development, but a 64-year history of asking what is needed in specific global communities, listening, and adapting programs and services to fit real people's needs. I'd been working as a writer and just gave birth to my first baby, Benjamin. I wanted all moms and dads to be able to give their babies nourishing food, vaccinations, books and school, a safe warm home, and a shot at living their dreams. Now Ben just started at his first-choice college, and I work in development and write about innovative solutions to poverty. Freedom from Hunger started small too, with 100 women in 2 countries (Thailand and Mali); they now serve over 2 million clients in 16 countries. Somehow they manage to combine a legacy of care, deep research, and tested methodology, with cutting-edge innovations in how to deliver services to the poor. For example, FFH brings savings circles ("Saving for Change") and health education to geographically remote areas; and malaria, HIV, maternal and infant health training and services ("Microfinance and Health Protection") to areas hardest hit by disease. The first to link loans with education, FFH now provides training and curriculum materials to local partners all over the world, so that families can work smarter and advance faster out of poverty into opportunity.