Action Against Hunger provides lifesaving assistance and restores self-sufficiency to millions of people in over 40 countries. Their Nutrition program in the Democratic Republic of Congo was recently chosen by the Leadership Council as the CLASSY Award Winner for Hunger & Poverty Relief.
To determine the winners, the Leadership Council applied their own expertise to judging criteria developed by the CLASSY Awards in partnership with the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, a recognized authority on analyzing social impact within and across causes to assess programs that are poised to drive social progress. The criteria looks at (1) Scale and Scope of the Problem or Issue Addressed, (2) Strength of Strategy Employed, (3) Impact To-Date, and (4) Organizational Effectiveness and Resource Management.
Nutrition and Health
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Marlou den Hollander
Action Against Hunger’s strategic approach to fighting hunger has developed since 1979, working closely with the scientific and NGO community to research and implement best practice, scalable solutions. The organization has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1997, and played a leading role in strengthening the country’s ability to effectively fight childhood malnutrition.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the largest countries in Africa, with a population of 65 million people and the second largest land mass on the continent, according to AAH’s website. Suffering decades of conflict, regional war, and political neglect, the scale of humanitarian needs in the D.R. Congo becomes clear when you understand that nearly 30% of all children under five suffer from undernutrition. Over 1 million of those (5.2%) suffer from severe acute malnutrition, which can lead to death if left untreated. More on diagnosing malnutrition here.
AAH has worked closely with the Ministry of Health to build local capacity, strengthen health systems, and provide emergency care. They’ve trained thousands of health workers, equipped hundreds of hospitals and health centers, and provided lifesaving therapeutic care for tens of thousands of severely malnourished children. Most notably, they helped develop national nutrition protocols with the Ministry of Health, and have greatly increased the Ministry’s ability to treat children by building capacity and training health workers.
“Action Against Hunger has proven that even in extraordinary difficult conditions, it is possible to reduce the scourge of child malnutrition and stunting,” said Aleem Walji, Director of Innovation Labs at the The World Bank Institute, and Leadership Council member on the Hunger & Poverty board. “By working with Government, hospitals, health workers and communities, it is possible, even in fragile and post-conflict conditions, to avoid the preventable death of tens of thousands of children.”
In 2013 alone, AAH saved over 37,000 children from malnutrition, brought clean water to 283,390, and helped a total of 513,685 people with their programs.
Progress against malnutrition is rooted in the organization’s rich history. Action Against Hunger’s scientists developed F100, the revolutionary therapeutic milk product used to treat severe acute malnutrition. That development led to the creation of ready-to-use therapeutic foods, like Plumpy’nut, which now boast cure rates of 90 to 95 percent.
As different as the contexts where we work are, there is nothing more universal than the power of social change. There is nothing more gratifying than working with a community, giving its members the tools to create better, healthier lives.
Andrea Tamburini, Action Against Hunger
Today, the foods created by AAH are heavily used in community management of acute malnutrition, or CMAM, programs, which take the care out of hospitals and clinics and into homes where parents can make sure their kids are treated, all while attending to their livelihoods and the rest of their families.
“Thank you so much for honoring Action Against Hunger with a CLASSY Award. It means a great deal not just to me, but to the more than 5,000 hardworking men and women who keep our programs running day in and day out, in over 40 countries around the world,” said Andrea Tamburini, Director of Operations at Action Against Hunger. “As different as the contexts where we work are, there is nothing more universal than the power of social change. There is nothing more gratifying than working with a community, giving its members the tools to create better, healthier lives. Again, thank you—to the Leadership Council, to our generous partners and funders, and to all of you for your dedication to keep raising the bar of social impact higher and higher.”
About Action Against Hunger
Action Against Hunger | ACF International, a global humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger, works to save the lives of malnourished children while providing communities with access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger. Programs focus on nutrition, long-term food security, and water, sanitation, and hygiene—all vital parts of the equation for building healthy, strong communities.
About the CLASSYs
Since it’s inception five years ago, the CLASSYs have recognized the efforts of thousands of exceptional organizations and individuals, providing public insight into our world’s greatest achievements. With the insight and participation of experts and institutions, the CLASSY Awards has established a new way of measuring social impact across causes at a global scale. This methodology provides insight into the program strategies, outputs, outcomes and growth of these bold solutions relative to the problem being addressed.
The yearlong initiative to discover the most innovative and effective models identifies and evaluates organizations in eight major cause categories, including Active Duty & Veteran Services, Animal & Wildlife Welfare, Educational Advancement, Environmental Protection, Health Services, Human Rights & Social Justice, Poverty & Hunger Relief, Disaster Relief & Public Safety.
CLASSY Awards Nominees are selected through an intensive evaluation process created and developed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Center for High Impact Philanthropy. For the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards, organizations were evaluated through a five-step process that began with 3600 organizations. After a pre-application form was submitted, applicants completed a 20-minute phone interview. From there, those that passed were asked to complete a Nomination Profile in order to be eligible for a CLASSY Award. The Top 5 Nominees in each of the 25 cause categories were announced, narrowing the pool down from 3600 to 121. The 121 Nominees were then passed onto the Leadership Council, whose respective boards collectively determined the 25 Finalists and ultimately the 8 Winners.