Food security

“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

It’s an old saying, but a simple way to describe how we work to achieve a world in which everyone has food security: access to healthy, nutritious food.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation for the UN in 2016, there are 815 million undernourished and underweight people. In tackling this challenge, our main goal is to ensure that communities, and especially women and children,  have access to local and renewable food sources.

Our food security programs:

  • help local communities develop their own sustainable, resilient food sources
  • improve farmers’ access to markets so they can derive a fair income from their produce
  • educate communities on the importance of a nutritious diet for better health
  • train people in conservation agriculture, irrigation schemes and community gardens


Case study: Timor Leste

food secuirtyFidelia is a mother of five from the Balibo Municipality, Timor Leste. She struggled to grow healthy crops and her family suffered during the hungry months of the wet season. Fidelia worried her children would not grow up to be strong and healthy.

Timor Leste has one of the highest levels of childhood stunting in the world – over half of children under five have stunted growth. We teamed up with HIAM Health to run a pilot project in Fidelia’s village to grow Moringa trees, which provide key nutrients for a healthy diet.

Fidelia participated in a week-long training course at HIAM Health’s Residential Training Centre in Dili. She learned how to grow the Moringa tree and use different parts for cooking. She also learned how to dry Moringa leaves, which she can use to provide vital nutrients to reduce the risks of malnutrition during the hungry months and improve food security. We then helped her establish a Moringa crop in her garden.

An established Moringa crop requires little maintenance. However, when Fidelia’s Moringa trees were just seedlings, chickens got into her garden and ate all her plants. Distraught, Fidelia contacted the project team and together they built a fence to protect the garden.

Fidelia’s crop is now well established and provides fresh vegetables for her family. Fidelia also dries the leaves to make tea, and sprinkles dried leaf powder on meals, especially rice porridge for her children. With her thriving Moringa crop, Fidelia is confident she can provide nutritious meals for her children, even during the wet season.

Want to help more families like Fidelia’s improve their food security?

Action on Poverty

Action on Poverty