A message from the CEO

Communities tackling hunger in Africa and beyond

Dear Partners and Friends, Thank you for your support for The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN).  I wanted to update you on an exciting new venture for GFN’s work – supporting food banking in Sub-Saharan Africa. As you well know, GFN has partnered with food banking organizations in Central and South America and increasingly in the Asia-Pacific region. We’ve enjoyed a strong partnership with an amazing food banking organization in South Africa – FoodForwardSA – for more than a decade. But due to a variety of factors, our work on the African continent has been limited. Things are changing. At our annual meeting last March in Londonmany in our network felt that now was the time to explore the potential for food banking in Sub-Saharan Africa. One entrepreneur – Elijah Amoo Addo from Accra, Ghana – was one of the strongest advocates. Elijah has an amazing story. He grew up in Ghana and Nigeria and worked his way up to become a cook and then a chef in restaurants, eventually becoming head chef at several restaurants in Ghana. But in 2011 he encountered a mentally challenged man who was picking leftover food out of trash bins to give to those living on the streets. This inspired him to start Chefs for Change Ghana Foundation where he mobilized other Ghanaian chefs to provide food to vulnerable people. In 2015, Elijah left his job as a head chef for a major Ghanaian restaurant chain and started Food for All Africa, a food bank in Accra that today is providing meals to nearly 6000 beneficiaries. There are several amazing leaders like Elijah that are working to start food banks in Africa, especially in major urban areas on the continent. Over the past two years, GFN has received requests for partnership and assistance from founders in Lagos, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Madagascar. GFN’s long-time contact in Botswana also began to make headway in expanding operations. This surge in local interest has coincided with the approval of a new GFN strategic plan.  Earlier this summer, GFN’s Board of Directors committed to more significantly supporting food bank development, with a focus on Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. This commitment will allow GFN to work with new food banks in as many as a dozen countries. Two long-time GFN partners have already generously made investments to underwrite the beginning stages of this work. Global trends suggest that there should be no delay in getting this work underway. The UN reported two months ago that rates of chronic hunger are on the rise, with 1 in 9 people still struggling daily to access enough food to live a productive life. Although those facing the most severe forms of poverty are still predominately located in rural areas, as more people migrate to cities, rates of urban poverty and hunger are climbing. By 2050, it is expected that 20 percent of city dwellers in the world will reside in metropolitan areas in Sub-Saharan AfricaIt is in urban areas – because of their more advanced development of retail and agri-food supply chains – that the food banking model may hold the most promise.  It is because of this potential and the urgent need for hunger relief that last month GFN – in partnership with its member FoodForwardSA – convened a discovery session with food bank leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa.  Elijah attended, as did other founders and Board Members from organizations based in the cities listed above. The session included three days of intensive training and peer-to-peer learning on the steps needed to launch a food bank. Discussions covered important topics like building strong business plans, assessing hunger needs, effectively sourcing safe surplus food, partnering with local charities to address food security needs and fundraising. FoodForwardSA arranged for site visits to its Cape Town warehouse, its national office, and a farm and major retailer’s distribution center where the food bank is sourcing food. All participants in the discovery session selected “strongly agree” when asked whether their knowledge and skills have increased as a result of attending this event. This session is just the beginning of a long-term engagement to support community-solutions for hunger on the continent. As I write this update, our field team is doing site visits with potential partners in Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. In the coming weeks, they will spend concentrated time in the field doing training and talking with stakeholders involved in all the food banks that attended the August Discovery Session. It is inspiring to see leaders like Elijah transforming their communities. One of the great privileges GFN has is coming alongside local leaders like him. GFN’s ability to do this work is only made possible with the support of partners like you. Thank you for your commitment to fighting hunger.  We are excited to keep you posted on the difference your partnership is making. If you are interested in learning more about this work, or have specific questions, please do not hesitate to let me know. My best, Lisa Moon President & CEO The Global FoodBanking Network