Updates from The Global Movements Program at WhyHunger

Greetings comrades and partners. We are excited to share with you our first quarterly update of the year. The Programs team at WhyHunger looks forward to sharing more with you throughout the year: from important programmatic information to resources being offered in the philanthropic sector to communications and actions we are elevating from and within the movements. Please be in touch if there is a way, we can improve the work we do. 

The Global Movements Program team consists of: Betty Fermin and Kristen Wyman as the Co-Directors of the Program and -Director of Global Movements Program and João Fonseca as Grants Coordinator. 

We’ve been going through a lot of change in the past 3 years at WhyHunger and amid that managed to reconnect and strengthen relationships with the 4 international movements we accompany: the World Forum of Fisher People, the World March of Women, La Via Campesina and the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous People and 67 social movements, grassroots organizations, collectives and tribal nations working towards food, water, land and seed sovereignty in 25 countries.  


Big Transition, Big Opportunity - The Transition of WhyHunger’s Executive Director  

After 30 years of service to WhyHunger and the global movement for food sovereignty, Noreen Springstead is moving onto a new leadership opportunity. As WhyHunger is in transition, we are in good hands with the circle of leadership, known as the Director's Circle, and our talented staff and Board.  

 The biggest change that WhyHunger has undergone in its almost 50 years is going from a founder-led organization to Noreen’s leadership of 8 years and then during that time, a transition to a shared leadership model, with a department of directors. It’s been a welcome shift to build a shared power structure and to be more aligned with our movement partners and allies as a grassroots support organization wanting to shift the way philanthropy works.  We continue to strive to be a just and equitable organization and as we are in a time of transition and change, we ask for your patience during this time. 


Timely news from partners 

Block Corporate Salmon Campaign  

  • The Block Corporate Salmon Campaign comes from Uprooted and Rising (UNR), a movement fighting for a future that will sustain and nourish generations to come, in the United States and abroad. They are led by people who have been historically marginalized in our food system, which includes university students, workers, faculty, food producers. The community at UNR is made up of people who share a stake in building a food system rooted in food sovereignty.  
  • In a recent statement, WhyHunger joined The Block Corporate Salmon Campaign in urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fully assess and make transparent the environmental, social, health and cultural impacts of genetically engineered salmon. Our statement continues: 

“Biodiversity loss is certainly a contributing factor of hunger, but issues of hunger are really an issue of poverty and wealth inequity. Issues of biodiversity loss and pollution are really an issue of overdevelopment, overconsumption and the privatization and commodification of nature’s foods and medicines. Genetically engineered salmon does not create a solution to either hunger or biodiversity loss. It is simply an opportunity for business to avoid any accountability to people or the planet and offer any real solution to poverty and the decline of natural foods. GE salmon only exacerbates the issue of habitat loss by damaging natural systems. We urge the FDA to enact meaningful measures to protect our natural foodways and hold accountable business ventures that continue to exploit them."   

Take action! 


Approach to Crisis Intervention 

WhyHunger’s Crisis Intervention Strategy states: ‘Our role in crisis intervention stems from our function of providing grassroots support, which is rooted in building and sustaining deep relationships with partners. We are committed to sustaining relationships with partners over the long-term so that we can show up instantly with flexibility and nimbleness as a grassroots support organization when there is a crisis. We are committed to ongoing support in multiple ways over a long period of time, enabling us to have an intimate understanding of the work they’re doing. Our support during an emergent crisis allows our allied social movements and partner organizations to respond to the crisis and to continue to address the bigger issues that are keeping people hungry or oppressed.’ 

We are committed to being there through all the bumps in the road. Natural disasters and pandemics can escalate chronic states of crisis, and building a long-term vision is dependent upon surviving emergencies. Our partners know best how to get their communities through crises, and we know that tackling hunger at its roots must also include partnering with them on day-to-day challenges and solutions.  

In 2022, we mobilized $120,500 to 9 partner organizations to assist in recovery in the aftermath of earthquakes, typhoons, dam raptures after heavy rain, and crippling price increases due to inflation. Some examples of support include:  

  • After extreme drought in Somalia, WhyHunger supported our partners to meet water and food needs in the midst of a large-scale famine. 
  • Mobilized funds for food, medicine and shelter for Indigenous communities in Guatemala who were forcibly evicted from their homes. 
  • After the water crisis in Mississippi, WhyHunger resourced partners on the ground to provide water, food and other basic necessities for farmers and producers in the region.  
  • As land grabs and corporate interests encroached on coastal communities in Ecuador, WhyHunger supported partners to hold an urgent national assembly with other affected Latin America communities to organize, mobilize, and resist. 

This strategy is crucial to our work as unfortunately we can never expect where the next humanitarian crisis or emergency will occur. The devastating earthquake that has hit Turkey and Syria on February 6th is an example of the importance of this resource as we have entered communication with our partners in the area to assess how we can support. To learn more about our rapid response work, please check our Rapid Response Fund page on our website and let us know any questions you have.  


Special Feature: WhyHunger on the ground  

We were so glad to be invited to share space with our partners in 2022 to reconnect and strengthen relationships with each other as humans in Washington, D.C. for the Poor People’s Campaign March, Vermont for an Agroecology Encounter, Nicaragua for a Friends of the ATC Food Sovereignty & Agroecology Delegation, Colombia for the National Congress of FENSUAGRO and Cuba for an Agroecology Encounter and CLOC’s (The Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations) 3rd Continental Assembly. 

Betty, Kristen, her daughter Calista and Sharon, our Senior Director of Development, traveled to Colombia at the end of August to attend the 12th National Congress of FENSUAGRO, The National Federation of Agricultural Trade Unions, which is a member of La Via Campesina and a union-member  organization made up of peasants, farmers, agricultural workers and members of indigenous  and Afro-descendant communities throughout Colombia. FENSUAGRO has been an ally of ours  for 8 years now. The Congress took place from August 25-29th & we were invited to participate  in their youth assembly, women's assembly and spend time learning about their work and  strategies for the future with all members as well as visit the IALA (Latin American Institute of  Agroecology) Maria Cano. 

 The Friends of the ATC (Rural Workers Association) hosted the Food Sovereignty and Agroecology Delegation from July 12th to 22nd, Betty, Joao and Iracema, our Development Writing Coordinator, traveled to Managua to learn and participate in this incredible experience.  

 Here are some of Joao’s reflections: “Being there showed us the reality of a country currently misrepresented in our Western media. By meeting workers, farmers, youth, women, and even political figures we saw the reality of a unified country, working together for a better and brighter future. A country of farmers where the land is given to the people to work. It is still a country struggling for a more stable and capable economy but the sense you get from people is that there is hope because the population sees themselves as not only on the proper track but also supported by their government. Through meeting folks in the ATC, I understood how the work of agroecology, that WhyHunger supports, is so important to achieving food sovereignty as well as strong political education that allows them to be firm and demanding of the country they want to see. Folks in Nicaragua respect and understand their history; this is crucial because they feel they have been taken advantage of in the past, both by foreign influence as well as a debilitating dictatorship, so they educate everyone about that history, so those acts won’t happen again. This was an incredibly enriching opportunity that not only showed me the work we support firsthand but also how that work takes center stage in the long-term goals and dreams we all aspire to achieve.” 


Topics we’re deepening our knowledge on  

The increase in partners' visits and ability to be on the ground having discussions in community with folks has helped us shift and focus our strategies to better respond to emerging needs, conditions and opportunities facing our partners. We want to thank you for your willingness to share with us your struggle so we can in turn do our jobs better and be a touchpoint for the philanthropic sector.  

A few of the most relevant themes are: 

  • knowledge building and sharing - Primarily through supporting the development and expansion of agroecological schools, or IALA’s around the globe, engaging youth, pushing for formal accreditation and supporting the process of forming an agroecology school in North America.  
  • popular feminisms and gender justice - Many partners are building “formacion” around popular feminism and what it means for women and femmes of the different territories; and wanting to build solidarity around this. 
  • mutual sharing and exchange - As COVID restrictions are lifting, more partners are gathering together in person to exchange, learn, organize and build power and capacity. We provide travel grants as a critical mechanism for creating opportunities for partners to be present and represent their movements at important convenings like COP27, UN spaces, and conferences you find important and learning exchanges, 
  • Pastoralism 
  • Different models of Governance & Leadership 

The Global Movements Program is focusing heavily on opportunities for Black, Indigenous, women, youth, LGBTQIA+ and marginalized folks to represent, gather and exchange in critical places and processes, acknowledging that very often these voices and formations led by them are under-resourced and lack the capacity to spend operating funds on such gatherings. 



Technical support for partners 

Our goal this year is to let partners know of additional resourcing opportunities as we have been informed. We started with the grant opportunity with CS Fund for work focused on just transition in several regions around the world.  

There is another opportunity in the United States:  

The Braiding Seeds Fellowship, a project of Soul Fire Farm Institute in collaboration with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, carries on the legacy of the braided seeds by providing beginning farmers with resources, professional development, and mentorship to support their livelihood on land. Read more and apply here

Let any of us at Global Movements Program (GMP) know if there is any support you need in planning or submitting a proposal for this and any other funding you are looking to apply for, and we will do our best to assist you. 


What’s On Our Radar 

SAGE Fund’s Report: Building Power in Crisis: Women’s Responses to Extractivism” 

Based on nearly 100 interviews with women leaders and their allies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Sage Fund has published a report on women-led strategies to combat extractivism with examples of how women are confronting and overcoming threats posed by mining, agribusiness, and renewable energy projects.  We’ll be digging in and invite you all to read the report here.  

CLIMA Fund ReportSoil to Sky: Climate Solutions That Transform“ 

The Climate Leaders in Movement Action (CLIMA) Fund released a report, which demonstrates the efficacy of grassroots climate justice movements in transforming the two largest polluting sectors globally: food and energy. Read the report here. 

2021 WhyHunger Impact Report 

We’ve just finished working on our 2022 Impact Report and will have that out soon and in the meantime, we’d like to share with you the 2021 Impact Report. From activating our Rapid Response Fund to meet the moment and support our partners globally to leveraging critical funds and BIPOC-led community organizing, our impact reports provide a deep dive into the nuance of WhyHunger's work. You can find the full report here



Contact our team if you have any questions on any of the information shared here and we’re looking forward to continuing to share information with you all via this venue. 

Betty Fermin, Co-Director  [email protected] 

Kristen Wyman, Co-Director [email protected] 

Joao Fonseca- Grants Coordinator [email protected]