A Chronicle of Progress: The History of Freedom from Hunger

Established in 1946, Freedom from Hunger is recognized for fighting hunger with innovative self-help programs. Throughout our history, we have been guided by evidence of impact, scientific rigor and our commitment to helping families achieve food security for the long term.

We began as Meals for Millions, the organization that developed and introduced Multi-Purpose Food, a high-protein powdered food supplement still used today in relief efforts around the world. In the 1970s, we began implementing Applied Nutrition Programs, focusing almost exclusively on the health and nutrition of mothers and children. In 1989, Freedom from Hunger developed the world's first integrated microcredit/health and nutrition education program. Today, our value-added microfinance programs are serving over 21 million people in some of the poorest countries on earth.

Microfinance is a powerful self-help support service, providing credit and saving services that are affordable, flexible and reliable. It assists the poor in reducing the uncertainties of cash management and allows them to borrow for needs and opportunities such as starting or growing small businesses. Microfinance alone, however, is not enough.

From the start of our commitment to microfinance, Freedom from Hunger designed practical education that prepares women in their community microfinance meetings to implement better health, nutrition, business and money management in their daily lives. To add further value to microfinance, we are developing innovative approaches to offer women access to healthcare services and medicines where they are locally available and of good quality. 

We have been a leader among non-profit organizations in using scientific research to document program impact and have developed tools and systems for implementing partners to monitor their own progress as part of what is called Social Performance Management. Our standards of success include healthier families, improved household food security, and groups of women who are empowered with knowledge, motivation and support to make positive and lasting change in their communities. All of these impacts have been documented in scientific studies.

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