UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's

Zero Hunger Challenge

ACWW represents more than 9 million women around the world. Through our women-to-women projects and with the support of our members, we pledge to work to eliminate hunger in our life-times:

Zero stunted children less than 2 years old

  • Encourage healthy mothers to breast-feed their children for longer*
  • Recommend appropriate and nutritious weaning foods
  • Ensure that the children of project beneficiaries are properly vaccinated

* ACWW has already passed a resolution in support of this statement

100% access to adequate food all year round

  • Identify the hungry period and recommend local food crops that are nutritious and can provide food all year round*
  • Support farmers' Rights to Plant Genetic Resources* and ensure that project beneficiaries have access to seed for a wide range of nutritious food crops

World Hunger Map

All food systems are sustainable

  • Recommend and support organic / agroecological methods to maintain soil fertility and conserve moisture
  • Recommend safe, effective, alternatives to toxic pesticides

100% increase in smallholder productivity & income

  • Help smallholders to record their crop yields
  • Help smallholders to record their input costs
  • Help smallholders to calculate and record their income and profit
  • Ensure that this information is collected at the beginning, during and end of each project so that any increases in productivity can be accurately measured

UNICEF Info Sheet:

El Niño’s impact on children

Zero loss or waste of food

  • Encourage the many thousands of ACWW members and societies around the world to prevent food loss and campaign against food waste. Their success stories will be monitored via traditional methods (reporting, email) as well as newer forms of contact such as Facebook and through the use of WhatsApp


5 Questions for Nagaluma Margaret Kasozi;

Maganjo Farmers Association, Uganda

Ruth Shanks AM

World President

Associated Country Women of the World

ACWW's Zero Hunger Challenge Projects

ZHC Project 5

ZHC Project 4

ZHC Project 3

ZHC Project 2

ZHC Project 1

ACWW Zero Hunger Challenge Project No.5


ACWW Project No.991:


Providing dairy cows for 20 landless Dalit women in Madanambedu Village, Andhra Pradesh, India

The Challenge

The women selected for this project were extremely poor, having an average income of INR2,450  (roughly equivalent to US$38 / £29) per month.


Each household contained an average of 3 adults, I child between 10 and 15 years and 1 child less than 10 years of age.  Each of these households needs to consume an average of 79.4 kg of grain per month to provide the minimum number of calories per day that is required for healthy living, (see Table 1).  Only one of the households ate sufficient wheat (in the form of parathas) to satisfy this need, while the other 19 consumed approximately 50% of their calorific requirement.  None of these households had sufficient income to buy the amount of grain that was needed to achieve household food security.

Table 1:  Mean results from 20 households

Monthly calories needed / household

Wheat grain needed / household


Wheat grain consumed per month


Average grain shortfall



Cost of grain shortfall (Rupees)


Monthly income before the project


Volume of milk produced per day



of milk sold per day



income from

milk sales (Rupees)


Profit from

milk sales (Rupees)


79.4 Kg

43.0 Kg

-36.5 Kg



10.45 L

9.45 L



Each household received one lactating dairy cow on 27 November 2015, each cow produced an average of 10.45 litres of milk per day.  On average, one litre of milk was retained for family consumption and 9.45 litres were sold, at INR1,050 per litre. As a result each household obtained an average income of INR9,922.50.  After INR3,000 was subtracted to cover the cost of animal feed, each household gained an average profit of INR6,922.50.  This amount is more than enough to cover the cost of every household’s grain short-fall and guarantee their food security in terms of calories. Their nutrition was further improved by the regular inclusion of fresh milk in the family diet. By the end of the project almost all of the cows had given birth to calves which could be sold to further increase household income.

ACWW Zero Hunger Challenge Project No.4


ACWW Project No.1009:

Ufanisi Women's Group (UWG)

Improving food and nutrition security for young mothers and their children, through dairy goat rearing

The Challenge

Young women in Bungoma, western Kenya have an average income of just KES985 or USD9.50, per month and are unable to grow sufficient maize to feed their families.  These households had an annual maize grain shortfall of between 300 and 2,100 kg (an average short-fall of 932.5 kg).  Maize yields are low because:

• The women use unselected, recycled maize seed.

• Their plots are too small, considering the size of their families.

• The soil is infertile due to continuous monocropping with maize, while they are too poor to buy  fertilisers.

• They do not follow recommended agronomic practices, such as rotation with legumes or proper plant spacing.

As a result, both women and children in the area are suffering from severe malnutrition:  Signs in women include chronic fatigue (indicating iron deficiency) slow healing wounds (indicating vitamin C deficiency) and dry brittle hair (indicating overall vitamin deficiencies).  Signs in children include stunting and the loss of hair pigmentation (indicating chronic under-nutrition) also dry scaly skin (indicating a lack of B vitamins, especially niacin).


Most of the women in the project area breastfeed their children for more than two years, although this protects children from malnutrition during this time, pregnancy and breastfeeding make women even more vulnerable to energy and nutrient deficiencies.



Violet the Goat in her shed; and Project Beneficiary Jenipher Walunywa milking her dairy goat

Can a goat-rearing enterprise improve food & nutrition security?

Farmers can benefit from rearing high yielding, stall-fed, dairy goats in terms of a daily milk supply that can be consumed by family members and sold to neighbours, kids that are produced every sixteen months and can be used either for meat for home consumption or sold in the local market, as well as manure that can be used to increase soil fertility.  Goats’ milk is high in protein, fat, calcium and vitamins A and B and is a high quality food for young and old.


The Ufanisi Women’s Group used their links with the Mabanga Farmers’ Centre to implement a dairy goat rearing project in order to reduce poverty and improve food and nutrition security for young mothers and their children in Bungoma.


Twenty of the most vulnerable women were selected for the project.  Each of these women received training in goat-keeping and help in the construction of a weather-proof, animal shelter, using local materials.  They were then each given a Toggenburg, dairy goat, which began lactating within six months, following the birth of one or two kids.  The women were able to keep one litre of goat’s milk each day to feed their families and sell approximately two litres per day, at KES100 per litre.  The first weaned kids were passed on to other women in the project.  All beneficiaries are responsible for repaying KES34,500 (the cost of the impregnated goat) into the project’s revolving fund to enable more women to benefit from the project in future.

Several financial costs and benefits accrued to each farmer, from this project:

Farmer’s costs

• Daily fodder and supplementary feed

• Occasional Veterinary treatment

• Monthly repayments into project revolving fund, during the first three years

Farmer’s benefits

• Income from daily milk sales

• Income from selling two goat kids, once every 16 months


Were the women able to profit from this goat-rearing enterprise?

Each woman made a profit of KES2,300.00 per month from selling goat’s milk every day and two goat kids every 16 months.


Did they make sufficient profit to pay for their household’s maize short-fall?

The maize short-fall was determined according to the energy needs of each household.  The daily energy requirement for pregnant or breastfeeding women, men, adolescents and children is measured in kilocalories (kcals), see Table 1.   One kilogramme of maize grain provides 3.7 kilocalories.


Table 1. Calculating the minimum annual amount of maize grain needed per household

Person Type

Minimum KCals needed per day


Minimum KCals needed per year

Minimum amount of maize grain needed per year (1kg of maize produces 3.7KCals)

Pregnant / Breastfeeding woman








Adolescent 10 to 18 years




Child under 10 years




Each of the 20 households that participated in the dairy goat project contained an average of two adults (range 1-6) two children under 10 years (range 1-3) and one adolescent, aged 10-18 years (range 0-4).  This means that the average minimum amount of maize grain required by each household is 1,172.5 kg per year.


These households reported that they harvested only 240kg of maize grain, on average.  This left an average short-fall of 932.5kg of maize per household, per year.  The cost of buying sufficient maize to cover this short-fall, @KES80 per kg, is KES74,600.00 per household.  At the beginning of the project, monthly household income ranged from nought to KES2,000 (an average of KES985).  This was insufficient to pay for the additional maize required.


At the end of the project, the difference between the costs and benefits from goat rearing was calculated for each household.  When the profit was added to the previous income it came to an average of KES66,420.00 (range KES54,600.00 to KES78,600.00) per household, per year.


This amount will enable 10 (50%) of the households to buy enough maize grain to be food secure; households lacked an average of KES8,180.00, which is needed to guarantee food security in maize, see Table 2.  This is because the poorest farmers have larger families with little or no income to add to the funds gained from the goat enterprise.

Table 2. Average values from 20 households

Households receiving


Adults per household


<10 years




Min. annual maize needed (kg)

Maize harvested (kg)

Cost of covering


Maize shortfall


Annual income** from selling goat milk/kids (KES/yr)

Remaining after payment for short-fall*











*  KES (Kenyan Shilling) - approximate value as of June 2017 ≈ 0.00965US$ / 0.00762 £GBP

**  Expected income based on prevailing economic conditions

The Ufanisi Women’s Group reported that the women will be able to increase maize yields in future by using goat manure to improve soil fertility. They will also be able to use some of their income from dairy goats to buy improved seed and lease more land to expand their maize crop.


It was reported that the regular consumption of goat’s milk by the children had improved growth and development and caused their skin and hair to return to normal.  Their mothers said that they felt stronger and more energetic as a result drinking goat’s milk every day.  These women have been advised to interplant their maize garden with cowpea (black-eyed bean) to increase soil nitrogen and provide leaves and beans that are rich in iron and vitamin C – two important nutrients that are lacking in goat’s milk.

ACWW Zero Hunger Challenge Project No.3


ACWW Project No.983:

Magango Farmers' Association (MFA) - www.mafauganda.org

Increasing household food security and incomes among 100 rural women-led families in Uganda


A baseline study conducted in 2012 showed that malnutrition, linked with food insecurity is a serious problem for households in Bamunanika Sub-county, Luwero District, Uganda.


This project was implemented by Majango Farmers’ Association (MAFA) and aimed to improve food and nutrition security for 100 women-led households in Bamunanika.  The women grew maize, cooking banana or sweet potato as their main food staple.  Part of this food staple was sold for cash. The amount harvested, energy short-fall and cost-benefit ratio from crop sales was calculated using data collected by the MAFA in order to determine whether the farmers could meet their household energy needs and profit from selling surpluses:

Table 3. Means from 100 subsistence farming households in 2016

Landholding Breastfeeding time for last child
hold size
Annual minimum energy requirement
Crop yield this season
Energy short-fall*
Weight of crop sales**
Input costs (USh)
Cost-Benefit Ratio from crop sales
54 Maize Growers
0.82 ha
(range: 0.02-6.1 ha)
12.1 months
4,308 Kcals
1,478 kg
(range: 0-2,900 kg)
-2,538 Kcals
993 kg
1.7 (range: 0-11.5)
32 Cooking Banana growers
0.91 ha (range: 0.02-2.8 ha)
12.8 months
5 3.798 Kcals
694 kg (range: 200-1,100 kg)
-2,861 Kcals
160 kg
0.7 (range: 0-2.8)
14 Sweet Potato growers
1.17 ha (range: 0.3-2.8 ha)
12.6 months
5 3,884 Kcals
1,698 kg (range: 450-3,600 kg)
-1,846 Kcals
1,050 kg
45,978 6.8 (range: 0-20.3)
* calculated from this season's yield of the staple food crop ** 'distress sales'


Most children got off to a healthy start, as they had been breast-fed for 12 months or more.

On average, each household consisted of 2 adults and 3 children;


The minimum daily energy requirement for adults is 2.5 Kilo calories;


For children over 10 years it is 2.0 Kilo calories;


For children under 10 years it is 1.5 Kilo calories.


Therefore, each household requires between 3,884 and 4,308 K calories for a whole year.  Women farmers from these households produced maize, cooking banana or sweet potato as their food staple:

• 1 Kg of maize grain provides 3,650 calories (3.7 Kilo calories)

• 1 Kg of cooking banana provides 1,350 calories (1.4 Kilo calories)

• 1 Kg of sweet potato provides 1,200 K calories (1.2 Kilo calories)


Considering the size of their households, most farmers were unable to provide sufficient food staple to meet their annual energy needs, from maize, cooking bananas or sweet potatoes.  This means that farmers who sold part of their harvest were making ‘distress sales’ in order to recover input costs.  These farmers will have to buy energy-rich food later in the year in order ensure household food security.


Farmers who made the most profit had the lowest input costs.  This means that it is possible to improve food security and make a profit from sales by reducing input costs as well as by increasing yields.


The Cost-Benefit Ratio is the ‘profit’ divided by the ‘input costs’. This should be at least 2.0 to make the enterprise worthwhile, i.e. the value of the profit should be at least twice the input costs.  A cost-benefit ratio of 1.0 means that the farmer broke even, but there was no profit.  If it is less than 1.0 then the farmer made a loss.  The average cost-benefit ratio for the sales of both maize and cooking banana was less than 2.0.  Only the sale of sweet potato produced an average cost-benefit ratio of more than 2.0, with profits ranging up to 20 times the input costs.


The outcome of this work demonstrates how difficult it is for subsistence farmers, with landholdings of less than 1 ha, to grow sufficient food to guarantee household food security and also obtain a surplus which can be sold to cover the cost of their inputs.


ACWW Zero Hunger Challenge Project No.2


ACWW Project No.995:

Flame Foundation Pakistan

Raising women’s awareness of the importance of hygiene, nutrition and breast-feeding in promoting family health


Les Cercles de Fermières du Québec


150 rural women were trained in food hygiene, how to produce and cook nutritious food and the importance of breast-feeding infants, by the Flame Foundation.


Many Mothers in Punjab are unaware of the importance of breast-feeding, while their families are eating ‘junk food’ (deep fried pakora and samosas from local traders) rather than home-grown fruits and vegetables.  Most families are self-sufficient in wheat, but eat animal protein less than three times per month and consume a diet that is low in protein, iron and essential vitamins. The most common ailments reported by the women were skin, eye and lung infections, bleeding teeth, gastric problems and diarrhoea.


Many of the women had been married at 15 years of age and had each given birth to an average of four children. Complications during pregnancy due to anaemia, including maternal death, is not uncommon.


Flame held five ‘health and nutrition education’ sessions for five groups of 30 women. A range of colourful posters and booklets, in both English and the vernacular were specially printed in order to spread the health, hygiene and nutrition messages for food preparation


Data collected by the Flame team showed that 32% of the mothers had breast-fed their babies for less than 3 months, although the overall average was just 3.5 months.  Some younger women had been persuaded to use infant formula.  Others complained of insufficient breast milk to enable them to feed their infants for the recommended six to twelve months. During the training mothers learned of the importance of a healthy diet so that their next baby could be breast-fed for at least 12 months and thus be protected against diarrhoea and other infections.


The women were encouraged to plant vegetables in kitchen gardens in order to provide nutritious food for the whole family.  They used compost and cow manure to fertilise the soil. They prepared seed beds and planted a range of different squashes, including apple gourd; also brinjal, okra and radish.


Husbands were also invited to attend Flame’s Farmer Field Schools.  Some of them regretted that reliance on chemical inputs and tractors had led to the loss of dairy cattle and said that this had contributed to household food insecurity.


Three months after the training, local shop keepers said there had been a decline in sales of pakora and samosas.  Some health benefits were also reported by the women.

Breast-feeding is not a choice - its a responsibility!

Women attended Farmer Field Schools and learned how to grow a range of vegetables

'Tinda' or apple gourd


Signs and symptoms of food poisoning

Jamshed displays food hygiene rules: cook at the correct temperature; separate cooked and uncooked food; clean hands and surfaces; chill unused food

Rule 1: Always wash hands with soap

Demonstrating safe food preparation

Farmer's seed bed

Husbands join in the Farmer Field Schools

ACWW Zero Hunger Challenge Project No.1

Women tending their crops inside the Poly-Tunnel

Cucumber ready for harvest





ACWW Project No.973:

To construct two large poly-tunnels to enable the production and sale of nutritious vegetables in Khovd Aimag, Western Mongolia

Country Women's Council, USA


Average temperatures over most of Mongolia are below freezing from November through to March and are at about freezing in April and October.  This means that the growing season for vegetables in Western Mongolia, is just three months long, that is, from June to August.  As a result vegetables are both scarce and unaffordable for most people.


With the help of the Sain Tus Center, two groups of 15 women from female-headed households formed co-operatives to produce and market a range of nutritious vegetable crops. Some of these vegetables were transplanted into the field once the temperatures were high enough, while the more tender crops, such as cucumbers and peppers were allowed to mature inside the plastic houses. Animal manure was used to fertilise crops.

Yields were high during the first year (2015) and each farmer profited by as much as 1,124,917 Mongolian Tughriks or US$ 566.87, once the produce had been sold in the local market, see Table 1.

Significant growth in the Poly-Tunnel

Harvested crops ready for market

Farmers & children with their Poly-Tunnel

Table 1: Costs and benefits of vegetable production in two Poly-Tunnels in Khovd Aimag, Western Mongolia

Vegetable Crops
Input costs* (US$)
Yield (kg)
Selling price per kg (US$)
Income (US$)
Profit (US$)
Cabbages 1,034.35 8,691 0.30 2,607.30 1,572.95
Carrots 653.96 5,874 0.40 2,349.60 1,695.64
Cucumbers 836.38 3,983 0.60 2,389.80 1,553.42
Onions 468.34
3,112 0.50 1,556.00 1,087.66
Peppers 260.90 1,246 0.60 747.60 486.70
Potatoes 917.10 9,695 0.33 3,199.35 2,282.25
Tomatoes 2,336.67 6,410 1.51 9,679.10 7,342.43
Turnips 291.96 4,257 0.30 1,277.10 985.14

*Input costs were for seed, manure, pesticides, irrigation, labour and transport

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