Google and Action Against Hunger: Google Food Fuels Lifesaving Programs
"I was amazed to see how comprehensive Action Against Hunger’s programs are, targeting the underlying causes of hunger. I was particularly pleased to see such powerful evidence that the funds Googlers have provided as stakeholders in Action Against Hunger’s work are delivering responsible, sustainable solutions and services to reduce hunger and improve lives."
—Linda Femling-Nielsen, Director, Google Food Services, The Americas
We are extremely grateful to Googlers for your support on numerous campaigns over the past three years. As our largest corporate partner, you’ve set the bar high in terms of championing our work, commitment to our mission, and aligning visions to save lives. What started out as a one-time campaign in 2013 has grown into a powerhouse of a partnership today that is changing the lives of thousands of women, children, and families. From our first Kenya focused campaign to a hybrid donation structure of cash and in-kind support for Cambodia, Googlers are harnessing their resources to save lives.
To date, Googlers have raised over 3 million dollars, saved thousands of lives, and provided in-kind services with the design and development of interactive games that encourage healthy behavior change. The partnership with Googlers grows each and every year, and is making our vision, a world free from hunger, a reality. Thank you.
By the end of 2015, Googlers raised over $1.2 million to help Action Against Hunger improve the lives of children suffering from chronic undernutrition in Cambodia as well as helped to support additional programs across the world.
Due to unprecedented support from Googlers, we were not only able to launch our new program in Cambodia, but also able to support additional program activities all over the world. The goal for funding in Cambodia was to secure enough financial support to start laying the groundwork for program implementation. Funds that were allocated to Cambodia allowed us to analyze and address the root causes of hunger by conducting a nutrition and resilience survey (for further technical details scroll below). The remaining funds helped us support our lifesaving work in many areas of the organization. For example, in 2016 we increased our operations in logistics, IT infrastructure, training, and recruitment of technical staff across our 7 country programs. Also, due to the Nigerian government’s success in reclaiming areas previously controlled by Boko Haram, we recently deployed frontline workers to respond to a massive food and nutrition emergency in north eastern Nigeria. The power of Google’s funds, of which a portion was used toward general operating support, enables strong organizational infrastructure that is absolutely vital to the on-the-ground work of a nonprofit’s mission. Without this funding, the real lifesaving work would not be possible.
In addition to providing funds to save lives, Googlers are contributing in-kind support by bringing their innovative technical expertise to this partnership. Using outcomes uncovered by Action Against Hunger’s Cambodian nutrition analysis, called LINK Nutrition Causal Analysis, Google engineers developed two interactive digital games that are designed to change behaviors for our targeted communities in Cambodia. Both games will be piloted in November when Google engineers visit Cambodia to see the digital games in action, as well as capture lessons learned. Stay tuned for more exciting developments on this innovative project.
Historically Action Against Hunger had programs in Cambodia until 2007 when we decided to close our operations due to the successful efforts of local government, civil society partners, and local communities in addressing hunger. However, in 2015 a demographic health survey noted that 44.3 percent of children were reportedly suffering from stunted growth (commonly known as being too short for one’s age) due to chronic undernutrition in Preah Vihear Province. In response to this alarming nutrition situation, Action Against Hunger returned to Preah Vihear in 2015, working closely with local government authorities and other non-governmental organizations to deliver solutions. Despite improvements in economic growth, more than one third of Cambodians live below the poverty line, struggling to survive on less than $1 a day. More than 90 percent of Cambodians live in the countryside where poverty is widespread, which has a particular impact on children, who constitute more than half of the country’s population.
Choam Ksant is a rural district with a population of around 60,000, situated in the North-East Province of Preah Vihear, which borders Thailand and Laos. Due to its location on the border of Thailand, and also in relation to disputed ownership between Cambodia and Thailand regarding a temple, Choam Ksant has experienced some unrest. This has contributed to a history of migration and relocation into these areas and yet are not properly resourced. The Cambodian government has encouraged people and companies to settle in the district to try to repopulate the area.
Action Against Hunger launched programs in Choam Ksant district because of its high prevalence of undernutrition among children as well as the areas lack of adequate nutrition or health services to meet the needs of communities.
To learn more about Action Against Hunger Cambodia visit us on http://www.actionagainsthunger.org/countries/asia/cambodia
This section provides a more detailed explanation of how Action Action Against Hunger deployed Googlers 2015 contribution towards Cambodia's nutrition and resilience pilot programs. This would not have been possible without the support of Googlers.
Uncovering the Root Causes of Hunger in Cambodia-Findings from LINK Nutritional Casual Analysis
One of the programs -- a participatory qualitative and quantitative survey, known as a LINK Nutrition Casual Analysis (LINK NCA) -- was launched in Preah Vihear, a province that is known as one of the most vulnerable areas in Cambodia. This survey was designed to help us better understand causes of under nutrition in children aged 0-59 months in Choam Ksant District of Preah Vihear Province. The analysis provides vital data on the most significant local factors that put children at risk of undernutrition, and guide us to design the most effective programs possible. Our goal is to improve nutrition among women and children under age five.
Initial project activities included in-depth surveys on local nutrition status and levels of vulnerability within children and their families. The data collected helped the LINK NCA Analyst identify the most pressing risk factors among undernourished children under five years of age.
A key factor in improving nutrition is changing behavior around hygiene, sanitation, and feeding practices. With expertise from Google engineers and designers, two games centered around hygiene and better feeding practices will be piloted later in the year and aims to change the behavior of these communities as a result of the risk factors identified through this survey.
The primary goal of the project was to conduct a rigorous qualitative and quantitative survey known as LINK NUTRITION CASUAL ANALYSIS (LINK NCA). The LINK NCA method is a tool created by Action Against Hunger and defines the most effective interventions for tackling undernutrition.
The LINK NCA is a structured, participatory, holistic survey, intended to build evidence-based consensus around plausible causes of undernutrition in a specific context. The purpose of this method is to go beyond generic interventions by identifying context specific problems in order to propose adequate solutions.
Action Against Hunger has historically observed that a frequent shortcoming of nutrition programs is their lack of deep assessments and situational analysis. In contrast, the LINK NCA presents a detailed, contextualized, and local model of the causes of undernutrition and as such the results cannot be applied to other areas of Cambodia.
As part of the LINK NCA guidelines, Action Against Hunger held an initial stakeholder technical workshop in January 2016 with various implementing partners and local authorities to validate and identify a preliminary, hypothesized set of risk factors that might explain undernutrition in Choam Ksant district. This was done through a systematic literature review (through locally available secondary data) and initial key informant interviews. The survey questionnaires were reviewed, discussed, and defined during technical workshops.
Field Team Composition, Recruitment, and Training: The survey team was composed of 4 team leaders and 16 surveyors, working as 8 pairs with one person in each pair assigned to conducting the questionnaire and measurements. Where possible, pairs consisted of one male and one female surveyors. The teams were trained for 5 days.
Sample size and data collection: A total of 728 households were surveyed across 12 villages. For this survey, the definition of a household was determined to be “all members who eat from the same pot and sleep under one roof at night”. This type of definition can include a nuclear family (mother, father, children) plus extended family.
Data collection through Open Data Kit Collect began in February 2016 and was conducted for 5 weeks in total. Following data analysis, results were consolidated and presented during a final technical workshop to all stakeholders in March 2016.
Ethical approvals: Approval was sought at Provincial and District level from the District Governors. Verbal consent was obtained from all participants in the LINK NCA. Children identified as severely malnourished were successfully referred to the nearest health center.
Quantitative Data Information Management and Analysis: Data was collected (on tablets) using Open Data Kit Collect and uploaded to a central, internet-based aggregate. The Open Data Kit system is an open source tool and provides a framework for data gathering. It enhances the information management capabilities using tablet devices (Android O.S.) for data collection and monitoring purposes. One of the main advantages of the system is that it allows data gathering and analysis with or without internet connectivity. The data gathered was exported and transferred to a database designed in Microsoft Excel. For analysis Excel and Epi Info were used.
The expected outcome was the ability to successfully utilize the LINK NCA to prioritize risk factors plausibly associated to undernutrition in Choam Ksant district. This outcome was successfully achieved.
The recommendation from these study findings is to design a holistic, integrated nutrition sensitive program with a strong sanitation and hygiene component. The nutrition component should focus on infant, young child feeding practices and maternal diets, with promotion of age-appropriate feeding for children, including the amount of food given, and increased food intake during pregnancy. The water, sanitation, and hygiene components should focus on reducing open defecation, safe disposal of feces, cleaning up environments, and improved hand washing practices.
Since the release of the study findings, Action Against Hunger began implementing Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, and Nutrition programs at community and national levels. In three communities in Chaom Khsant, Action Against Hunger is working to increase access to safe water through the building of water wells and using social marketing to promote the use of latrines. To increase knowledge of nutritional needs, Action Against Hunger continues to identify, treat, and follow-up with children that are diagnosed with acute malnutrition, while offering healthy cooking and sanitation demonstrations. With regards to advocacy, Action Against Hunger is implementing the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) movement in Cambodia, which allows us to advocate for increasing the government’s accountability towards undernutrition. Specifically, we are advocating to include therapeutic foods (designed to treat undernutrition) on the national list of essential drugs.
Google engineers have also been lending their innovative expertise and working hard alongside Action Against Hunger in Cambodia through the development and design of two digital games. These games designed by Googlers are aimed at changing the behavior of mothers and caregivers in relation to healthy feeding practices for children, as well as hygiene and sanitation activities.