Reflections on three years of Iowa Hunger Directory programming:
Launched in 2012, the Iowa Hunger Directory highlights and promotes the great work that over 500 nonprofit, business and civic organizations are doing to fight hunger and provides Iowans with opportunities to become involved. There is no cost to be part of the Iowa Hunger Directory, which is built using a “relational” model that requires consent for each group to be included.
We are especially grateful to the 68 organizations who participated in an informal project evaluation in June 2015. Conclusions based on the full set of responses include:
- The website and email newsletters have led to increased networking and led to several new collaborations among Iowa hunger fighters.
- People have applied ideas from the newsletters to their own work.
- Those who feel that they are part of the Hunger Directory network credit the newsletters with fostering a (loose) sense of community.
- Several people who do not regularly use the Hunger Directory website said that they value the existence of the Hunger Directory as a resource, even though they aren't using it much now.
- There is a "core" of people who regularly read newsletters and feel they are part of a network.
- There is also a “periphery” of people who occasionally use the directory and are glad to be included, but who don't feel that they are part of a network.
- All organization types are represented in the core (direct service, government, faith, corporate, education); however, corporate organizations are less likely than other types to be part of the core.
- Most of the networking benefits rely on regular investments of World Food Prize staff time to develop newsletters and field requests for introductions.
- In addition to facilitating networking, the newsletters help keep the web directory current, as bouncing emails are a cue that our staff needs to identify new points of contact for a group.
- Many people value the printable, pdf directory as a complement to the online version. A pdf directory lets people see a full snapshot of the Iowa hunger network and is also a helpful story hook to help raise awareness of the hunger directory through the press.
Senator Joni Ernst, smallholder farmer Olga Tumax honor women in agriculture at the Hall of Laureates
On March 29th, over 250 people gathered at the Hall of Laureates in Des Moines for “Women and Agriculture: The Road to Global Security”, organized by the World Food Prize, Oxfam America, and Foods Resource Bank to celebrate Dr. Norman Borlaug’s 102nd birthday and International Women’s Day.
The Honorable Joni Ernst, Iowa’s first female U.S. senator and an agriculture advocate, delivered the keynote address, raising awareness of the leadership of women in providing food for our families, economic development in our communities, and peace in our world.
Olga Tumax, a Guatemalan farmer and community organizer, described the importance of making space for women to participate in agriculture, household decision-making, and local government. The FAO reports that if women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
Drawing on their experiences in Guatemala and Ghana, panelists Hugo Garrido of CIEDEG and Nora Tobin of Self-Help International emphasized the need to protect human rights and support women as they work for freedom and equality on the local, national, and international levels.
With the support of Foods Resource bank and Church World Service, Olga and Hugo are helping Guatemalan women to feed and nourish their families, attain an independent source of income, and challenge prevailing gender norms by opening spaces for women to claim their rights and participate in decision-making.
In addition to the presentations, the event featured ten local organizations that are dedicated to fighting hunger and are included in this 3rd edition of the Iowa Hunger Directory.