Community-led Development

Communities are the heart of the solution to world hunger.

At The Hunger Project, we believe development happens in communities. It is in communities where women, men, and youth can discover their voice, assert their rights, and mobilise action to achieve their aspirations.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 16 calls for building participatory, effective, accountable institutions at all levels – which must start at the level closest to the people.  Fortunately, there is a proven, step-by-step methodology to ensure people gain this opportunity for self-reliant progress: “Community-led Development (CLD).”

Four of the biggest challenges in the SDGs – to halt stunting, empower women, achieve inclusive economic growth and build climate change resilience – all require integrated and community-led solutions.

Community-led Development (CLD) is the process of working together to create and achieve locally owned visions and goals. It is a planning and development approach that’s based on a set of core principles that (at a minimum) set vision and priorities by the people who live in that geographic community, put local voices in the lead, build on local strengths (rather than focus on problems), collaborate across sectors, is intentional and adaptable, and works to achieve systemic change rather than short-term projects.

Community-led Development is a gender-focused and transformative process at the heart of The Hunger Project’s work. It is more than participatory projects. Community-led Development requires a long-term process that empowers citizens and local authorities to transform patriarchal mindsets and take effective action.

Some of the ways we support communities to end hunger for themselves, for good:

Introduce income-generating activities. Trained partners implement income-generating activities, often joining together in self-help groups: from sewing projects in Mexico to cow-fattening projects in Bangladesh. Thousands of our partners also participate in THP workshops throughout Africa to learn new and innovative methods of increasing household income.

Facilitate self-reliant food banks. In Africa, The Hunger Project empowers people to create, stock and manage their own food banks at the community level, which helps stabilize day-to-day food prices in local markets during times of crisis.

Promote sustainable farming practices. At our epicentres in Africa, partners create community farms, where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods, like drip irrigation, to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources.

Ensure access to microfinance. Our Microfinance Programme trains and empowers villagers, with a special focus on women food farmers, who grow the vast majority of the household food in sub-Saharan Africa. Partners learn how to increase their incomes and use their savings to improve the health, education and nutrition of their families.

Facilitate reforestation and tree planting campaigns. Throughout our programme countries, trained Hunger Project village partners establish tree nurseries, which can reforest their communities, control soil erosion, and become entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon, but also provide nutrition and income.

Promote community leadership roles for women. Our Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) empowers women to become strong leaders in their households and communities. In Africa, every Epicentre Committee – a council that is elected to be responsible for all epicentre activities – must include an equal number of women and men.

Develop new sustainable water sources. Empowering local communities to drill new wells and boreholes and repair existing ones; build and repair water towers; and construct water troughs for livestock.

Create functional adult educational programs. Our Adult Literacy programmes educate adult community partners and empower them with the literacy and numeracy skills necessary to grow their businesses


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Razia, Bangladesh

“Every woman should be skilled and economically self-reliant… Otherwise, the problems of women could never be solved…”

Rita, Ghana

“I worked with the teachers, sensitising the school children on the effects and the harms teenage pregnancy can do to them.”

Rejeya, Bangladesh

“Now I do not pass the night without food and my other family members can eat full meals at night.”