To help eradicate hunger, Global Volunteers has established partnerships with many organizations around the world, including Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief non-profit organization. Rise Against Hunger coordinates the packaging and distribution of nutritious food and other aid to people in developing countries. They target remote, last-mile communities within hunger pockets designated as “serious” or higher on the Global Hunger Index. These are the most challenging places to reach and are often difficult to access. Founded in 1998, Rise Against Hunger has packaged more than 44 million meals and assisted in distributing over 67 million meals through partner agencies. Since 2017, Global Volunteers, has been proud to be one of its partner agencies.
By Andrew Philbrook, Director of Reaching Children’s Potential Program
The nutritious food and micronutrient packets are packaged by local volunteers at central locales around the United States and other countries, bundled into boxes, and then loaded into large containers to be shipped to partner locations. The volunteer-packaged food provides significant caloric intake and contains 20 essential vitamins and minerals. The meals address the top concerns for micronutrient deficiencies (iodine, iron, and vitamin A) and work to prevent other common difficulties experienced by at-risk populations. Global Volunteers distributes Rise Against Hunger meals to feed over 400 families and 1,400 primary school students twice daily.
When the meals arrive in Tanzania, Global Volunteers’ staff facilitates the transportation to Ipalamwa, a journey that can take more than 10 hours over rural roads and sometimes dangerous mountain highways. Once in Ipalamwa, the meals are unloaded by hand and stored in Global Volunteers RCP Center’s food storage unit. Here, they are inventoried, labeled, and prepped for distribution. Every month, eligible families meet RCP staff to pick up their meals. Families enrolled in the RCP program are notified of their date and time to get the meals and they travel to centrally located distribution centers in their village where RCP staff meet them with vehicles full of boxed meals. The meals have proven vital to the health and wellbeing of hundreds of RCP families around the Ukwega Ward, and their impact has made an enormous difference in their lives.
Atupende Love Matran, a 22-year-old mother, has lived in the Ukwega Ward her entire life. She lives with her mother and joined the RCP program in September 2022 when she first learned she was pregnant. Atupende delivered a healthy baby boy at the Ipalamwa General Clinic and both she and her son receive nutritious packaged meals monthly. Before joining the RCP program, Atupende remembers that her family’s situation was not good. She recalls that it was tough to afford to buy food, and her family’s health was suffering due to malnutrition. Atupende was delighted to receive the meals from Global Volunteers for herself and to feed her baby when he reached six months. She said this has been very helpful because “…now we have the food available in our home for ourselves and to feed our babies.” She lives close to the RCP Center in Ipalamwa and doesn’t need to travel far to receive her meals. She makes the 10-minute walk with her neighbors each month and they all talk about how happy they are to be able to receive this vital assistance. Atupende also shared that “…from the food and education I receive from Global Volunteers, I now have a very healthy baby.” She told her caregiver during a weekly home visit that she has noticed changes in her community and that “…now we have many healthy babies, and the level of malnutrition is very low.”
Stories like Atupende’s are becoming more and more common in the Ukwega Ward. Through Global Volunteers partnership with Rise Against Hunger, Atupende and hundreds of other moms now have the nutritious meals that support her and her child’s growth so that they too can reach their full potential.
Moving forward, Atupende and her neighbors will receive household Earthboxes to grow micronutrient rich vegetables, a family chicken coop and chicks so they can harvest eggs and meat for protein, and a fuel-efficient vented stove to cook meals. Within a few years they will become food secure and will no longer require the packaged food. Global Volunteers and all the RCP families in the Ukwega Ward are extremely grateful to Rise Against Hunger and all the volunteers who help package these life-saving meals.