'Political will and concerted efforts can lead to tangible progress towards zero hunger'

Published On: March 16, 2024 04:31 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Bettina Iseli serves as the Chief Program Officer at Welthungerhilfe, a German organization dedicated to advancing food security globally, with a particular focus on countries such as Nepal. During her recent visit to Nepal, she personally explored the WHH-funded projects spanning diverse regions of the country. Republica engaged in a conversation with Iseli to delve into insights about her organization, its impactful interventions, and the envisioned future plans. Key excerpts from the discussion:

What brings you to Nepal this time?

We were visiting the program areas of WHH and its implementing partners to learn about its progress and achievements

Can you tell us something about your organization?

WHH, or the German name Welthungerhilfe, stands for a world free from hunger. It was established in 1962 during a Freedom from Hunger campaign initiated by a former German Head of State.. The organization aims to contribute to a world free from hunger. WHH operates globally in 37 countries with the primary goal of achieving zero hunger wherever possible and in the areas where we work.

What makes you so passionate about your work?

My passion stems from the belief that by working together, we can make a difference. Witnessing the possibilities at a community level during project visits and recognizing the potential impact on a global scale when translated into policy fuels my dedication to our common goal of zero hunger.

How does this organization contribute to the lives of people in Nepal?

WHH focuses on sustainable food and nutrition security, considering not only the quantity of food but also the overall food system. This includes examining food variety, the presence of essential vitamins, access to clean water, and individuals' ability to earn and purchase food. The organization operates holistically across different sectors, engaging in both emergency aid and long-term development to achieve sustainable progress towards zero hunger.

Is there any specific strategy that you have adopted to address food and nutrition security?

WHH employs various approaches tailored to different countries. One example is the integration of agriculture, nutrition, and natural resource management, along with water-related initiatives. By identifying available resources and connecting them to current consumption patterns, we strive to address nutritional needs effectively.

So, this organization has been in Nepal for many years. What does this currently signify? Despite witnessing progress in combating hunger, there are still pockets of hunger, particularly in remote areas. WHH, in collaboration with local and community-based organizations in Nepal, seeks to contribute its experience to address these challenges and achieve positive outcomes.

You have worked in different countries worldwide. What challenges have you observed in tackling these issues?

The main challenges globally include climate change, with its impact on droughts and floods, and violent conflicts disrupting progress. Additionally, there is a lack of political will to prioritize zero hunger, leading to insufficient funding in crucial areas. Emphasizing localization, collaborating with local organizations, and adapting strategies to specific contexts are essential for sustainable results.

Do you have any recommendations to ease the process of addressing hunger and malnutrition issues?

The key recommendation is for everyone involved, from organizations and communities to local and national governments, to prioritize zero hunger. Political will and concerted efforts can lead to tangible progress. It is crucial to work closely with local communities and adapt strategies to each context, reflecting on our role in facilitating positive change.

Can you share your preliminary observations about the works WHH is doing in Nepal?

In my short stay here, I appreciate the commitment to reaching remote areas where hunger and malnutrition persist. Additionally, examining local food systems for resilience and inclusivity is crucial to ensuring access to nutritious food, especially for women and children. These initial impressions highlight the challenges and potential solutions in Nepal.


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