Posted by: XL Results Foundation | January 21, 2008

XL Explores New Ways to Alleviate Hunger

Pioneer Club

Explores New Ways to Alleviate Hunger

XL Group and The Hunger Project join forces to fight hunger and poverty in India with a new organization, the Pioneer Club, writes Susan Gallagher.

The Pioneer Club, a $5 million joint poverty alleviation initiate between The Hunger Project and XL Group, was announced in New York last September at the 2007 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in response to the former US President’s call for private sector commitments to resolving global issues. The Clinton Global Initiative brings global leaders together to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Empowering Indian Women

To demonstrate its commitment to combating starvation and improving health, nutrition, family incomes and education in rural India, XL’s recently founded Pioneer Club has organized a leadership trip to India in January 2008. The club’s founding members and accompanying participants will be able to see firsthand the results of their giving to The Hunger Project, and learn how their generosity has contributed to the power of local women in Indian villages to improve the quality of their families’ lives. Its total funding comes from XL Group, while its implementation is facilitated by more than 90 grassroots Indian NGOs, in a policy-level partnership with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj of the Indian Government.

The Pioneer Club’s $5 million commitment is intended to implement a systematic five-year strategy to:

  • Build the capacity of 50,000 elected women leaders to be directly responsible for improving access to health, education, nutrition and better incomes for 15 million rural Indians.

  • Mobilise local action campaigns to improve health, education, nutrition and family incomes, in partnership with local village councils
  • Build alliances for advocacy and action to reform policies, giving village councils access to greater resources and more decision-making authority
  • Inspire and mobilise the power of the media to create a climate of awareness and transparency, so that these actions can succeed

Against the Odds

New York-based Joan Holmes, President of The Hunger Project, says, “The transfer of power to one million women, elected local representatives in India – many of whom are malnourished and illiterate – is the greatest social experiment of our time. These women are struggling against enormous odds to improve the lives of their families, their villages and their nation. They are the key change agents for a new future for India.”

Development experts agree that when women have a voice in their village, they alter the development agenda, address the critical issues of fulfilling basic needs, and confront harmful cultural practices.

“Women in local government shift the development agenda towards meeting basic human needs,” Joan explains. “They also take on social practices like dowry, domestic violence, child marriage and child labour. They empower other women to know their rights. Empowered women begin to transform gender relations,” she continues, “and call into the question the deeply-entrenched patriarchal system. I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen what these women can do.”

XL Group Donates $5 Million

Roger Hamilton, Chairman of the XL Group, expresses his heartfelt support. “The Clinton Global Initiative exists to tackle the toughest issues of our time, and clearly hunger and poverty are top of that list. The Pioneer Club is about bringing practical results for real problems, and we are proud to partner with The Hunger Project in working towards the sustainable end of the world hunger.”

XL Results Foundation’s $5 million contribution over five years will help build the capacity and enhance the decision-making power of 50,000 women leaders, whose actions in turn will affect the lives of 15 million villagers. It will help mobilise local action campaigns to improve health, education, nutrition and family incomes in partnership with elected village councils. This major financial contribution will also support alliance building and to advocate for policy reform. It will track, document and publicise the progress being achieved in a large sample of those villages.

The Pioneer Club’s founding members on their ‘Leadership Trip’ to India in January will see first-hand the power of India’s grassroots women leaders in transforming the quality of life in their villages.

As a global organization, The Hunger Project is committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, it empowers millions of women and men to end their own hunger, and has pioneered low-cost, gender-focused strategies in each region where hunger exists. Its highest priority is the empowerment of women, who traditionally bear primary responsibility for family health, nutrition and, increasingly, family income.

The Trip

The XL Pioneer Club will travel to India in January on a 12-day transformational journey, from January 25 to February 4, 2008. Participants will not only experience fascinating sightseeing, but will gain a firsthand insight into the work and remarkable achievements of The Hunger Project. To view the itinerary, register or learn more, log into the XL Results Foundation website: www.xlpioneerclub.com

From XL Extra Vol 1 Issue 2 December 2007

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Responses

  1. Message from Roger, 31-01-2008:

    I’m writing this from Agra, where 63 of us on the XL Pioneer Club visited the Taj Mahal today on our way to Satna with the Hunger Project. It’s been an extraordinary trip so far, and here’s two stories from the trip to share with you:

    http://rogerhamilton.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/journey-with-xl-pioneer-club/


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