Action against Hunger was founded in 1979 by a group of French intellectuals in response to the emergency in Afghanistan. These included Françoise Giroud, Bernard Henri Lévy, Marek Halter, Alfred Kastler (a Nobel Laureate in physics), Guy Sorman, Jacques Attali, and several other doctors, journalists and writers. While the fight against hunger had previously been an element of more general humanitarian action (the fight against poverty, promoting better health, etc.) they founded an organisation that was exclusively dedicated to ending hunger. Action against Hunger is now recognised as one of the leading organisations in the fight against hunger worldwide.
While the fight against hunger had previously been integrated into more general humanitarian action (the fight against poverty, promoting better health, etc.), ACF’s founder members created an organisation specializing in the problems associated with hunger.
ACF’s mission consists of saving lives via the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition, in particular during and following disasters and conflicts. The organisation focuses its activities on an integrated approach, taking various aspects into account:
- Nutrition, health and healthcare practices
- Food security and livelihoods
- Water, sanitation and hygiene
- Advocacy and awareness-raising
In 2013, ACF-International was active in over 47 countries, coming to the aid of around 7 million individuals. By integrating their programmes with regional and national systems, ACF is ensuring that short-term actions are becoming long-term solutions.
FIELDS OF EXPERTISE
NUTRITION, HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH AND CARE PRACTICES
Through its nutrition programmes, ACF prevents, diagnoses and treats acute malnutrition in those most at risk, including young children and pregnant or breast-feeding women. Depending on the particular requirements of each situation, the context and the local culture, ACF designs health and nutrition programmes that are tailor-made for the target community. These programmes include an assessment of the community’s nutritional needs and the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of malnutrition. ACF teams pay particularly close attention to training local workers in order to guarantee the autonomy of local entities in taking charge of and treating malnutrition.
FOOD SECURITY AND LIVELIHOODS
The general aim of ACF’s actions regarding “food security and livelihoods” consists of saving lives in crisis situations and protecting and preserving the means of existence for communities at risk, during or after major shocks and in situations of chronic stress.
WATER, SANITATION AND HYGIENE
The nutritional well-being of a community requires a reliable supply of clean water and an adequate knowledge of how to use and manage such supply. Entire communities can fall sick if close attention is not paid to hygiene. ACF therefore works to prevent malnutrition in two types of situation: in emergency situations (epidemics, natural disasters, etc.), ACF takes action in the field (water distribution via tankers, hygiene kits, provision of emergency sanitation, implementation of risk prevention programmes), and it also acts as coordinator for the relief response.
ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS-RAISING
ACF’s advocacy and awareness-raising activities are closely linked to its operations in the field and its humanitarian mandate to combat hunger. Advocacy aims to promote lasting changes to policies, practices and intervention capacities by influencing political and economic decision makers and by mobilising public support. ACF’s advocacy work is structured around two main areas:
- The fight against hunger and malnutrition
- The defence of humanitarian principles
Where is Action Against Hunger