Mary is our Director of External Relations, leading Action Against Hunger's development and communications efforts.
And the Award Goes to…Action Against Hunger!
Last weekend, I was delighted to join some of my Action Against Hunger colleagues and over 2,500 individuals for a very special evening at The CLASSY Awards, the largest awards ceremony for the nonprofit community in the world.
The CLASSY Awards, presented by nonprofit technology leader StayClassy in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, announced eight winners live on stage this past weekend at the 5th Annual CLASSY Awards Ceremony in San Diego. More than 3,600 programs worldwide were evaluated during a yearlong research process. The winners were selected by a Leadership Council, a prestigious board of 100+ leaders and experts in the social sector.
A program we're proud of
We were thrilled to be the winner in the Poverty & Hunger Relief category for our innovative, highly impactful nutrition programming in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We’ve had programming in the country since 1997, working closely with the Ministry of Health to build local capacity, strengthen health systems, and provide emergency care. Our staff have 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. In 1993, we developed a revolutionary milk formula that slashed mortality rates by 75% for severe malnutrition. And in 1997, that milk formula helped create Plumpy’nut, the first ever ready-to-use therapeutic food, which brought cure rates up to 90-95%.
The D.R. 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. It is extremely difficult to assess needs and deliver services across vast rural areas, and the country has suffered from decades of conflict, regional war, and political instability. Over one million children under age five—more than five percent—suffer from severe acute malnutrition here, which can lead to death if left untreated. It’s with this context in mind that we use proven tools and techniques to meet emergency nutritional needs, while providing long-term solutions to the underlying causes of hunger.
We have improved long-term government infrastructure by equipping health centers and training workers, and developed the treatment protocols for treating malnutrition currently used by the nation’s Ministry of Health. We also integrate our emergency nutrition programs with long-term food security, livelihoods, and water efforts, to ensure long term solutions to hunger.
Despite the difficult conditions, our teams have consistently saved thousands of lives every year, and our proven methods of intervention and collaboration leave us very confident in the effectiveness of our programs. There are many improvements to make, but we are gratified by our crucial role in empowering the national government to deliver successful, long-term programs to treat malnutrition.
An honor shared with our community of supporters
It was a terrific moment of pride and gratitude to see Andrea Tamburini, our Director of Operations, take the stage to accept our award. But really, the award belongs to our tremendous staff in the D.R. Congo (starting with Country Director Marlou den Hollander)—and to their 5,000 outstanding colleagues who work for us every day in more than 40 countries.
Our Classy Award belongs to our colleagues in the D.R. Congo and throughout the world as well as you, our friends and supporters who make our work possible. Together we are creating brighter futures for children worldwide.
You can learn more about Action Against Hunger’s lifesaving approach to nutrition programming in the video below, and about Stay Classy and The CLASSY Awards in the press release below.