Just launched: 3-year project for a hunger-free West Africa

A child carries a huge bowl of grains on her head in Niger. An initiative to reduce hunger and improve nutrition in West African countries was launched in Rome, Italy on Oct. 18. Photo by: Steve Evans / CC BY

A new initiative to strengthen hunger reduction efforts and nutrition campaigns in West African countries was announced Oct. 18 in Rome, Italy.

The three-year Hunger-Free Initiative for West Africa is a partnership between Germany, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Economic Community of West African States. Germany is providing $2.4 million to fund the project, while FAO is expected to provide technical support. ECOWAS also committed financial support and pledged to ensure active participation from its members.

The partners have identified two main objectives: to increase stakeholder engagement and to boost political commitment for the elimination of hunger in West Africa. They plan to meet these goals through advocacy and awareness campaigns and the establishment of multistakeholder partnerships focused on monitoring and accountability.

In addition, the project will support the implementation of ECOWAS’ Regional Partnership Compact for the Implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan, or CAADP. FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said the initiative will focus on integrating “the right to food into national CAADP initiatives.”

The project’s focus on increasing political commitment in West Africa echoes U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for strong political will and new technologies to eradicate hunger around the world. It was a point the U.N. chief stressed in his remarks at a recent event honoring the latest World Food Prize recipient, scientist Daniel Hillel of Israel.

This new initiative builds on existing partnerships between FAO and Germany in Africa. It is also expected to draw lessons from a similar FAO project — the Hunger-Free for Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative — and to inform similar engagements in other African regions and in Asia.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.