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FOOD FOR LIFE

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ZERO HUNGER

"If at the end of my term every Brazilian person has three meals per day, I will have fulfilled my life's mission…" —President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 2003

Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva grew up in a working-class family that could not always afford enough food. At his inauguration, he launched a major new initiative to tackle the problem, known as Fome Zero (Zero Hunger). The program has many different elements to raise the standard of living for poor Brazilians, and to increase their access to affordable, nutritious food, whether they live in rural communities or cities.

Members of a Zero Hunger health team A Zero Hunger health team, Teresina, Brazil, 2004
Courtesy Aaron Ansell
Community members eat at a Popular Restaurant Popular Restaurant, Brazil, 2006
Courtesy Bruno Spada, Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Brazil
Popular restaurants, partly inspired by the Popular Restaurant that began in Belo Horizonte in the early 1990s, serve low-income workers who eat lunch away from home while working in the city. They are subsidized by local and state government and sell affordable, nutritious meals.
Community members gather and grind corn with grinding machine Collective corn grinding in Acauã, Piauí, Brazil, 2004
Courtesy Aaron Ansell
Zero Hunger promotes local collective labor practices—known as mutirão— in communities. Farmers in Acauã engage in collective corn—grinding and storage, sharing resources to cut costs.
Food bank staff remove crate of lettuce from truck Food bank in the city of Guarulhous, Brazil, 2006
Courtesy Bruno Spada, Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Brazil
Zero Hunger team member measures height of young girl A member of a Zero Hunger team measures the height of a young girl, Acauã, Brazil, 2004
Courtesy Aaron Ansell
A pilot program for Zero Hunger was first tested in Acauã and Guaribas, small rural areas within the northeastern state of Piauí. Health teams made up of local young people and workers from the capital city of Teresina took "before" and "after" biometric measurements—such as height and weight—of participants to evaluate the impact of the program.
Water tower near small group of buildings Water tower built by Zero Hunger in Guaribas, Brazil, 2004
Courtesy Aaron Ansell
The program tackles poverty by promoting agricultural development. Before Zero Hunger built this water tower in Guaribas in 2004 the town had no running water. Residents had to travel to a water hole a mile away.
Man applies morter to brick wall Acauã man builds a house for himself, funded by Zero Hunger, Piauí, Brazil, 2004
Courtesy Aaron Ansell
Housing for the homeless is an important component of the program. Local people are hired as carpenters and masons. The completed houses have electricity, septic tanks, toilets, and solid roofs.
Fome Zero member gives container of milk to city resident Zero Hunger distributes milk, Parnaíba, Brazil, 2006
Courtesy Bruno Spada, Ministry of Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Brazil
Zero Hunger has been praised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank and has inspired similar efforts elsewhere. In October 2005, the FAO announced a partnership with Brazil to bring the National School Nutrition Program to poor countries, beginning with Haiti, and then collaborating on larger food security programs in Angola, Cape Verde, and Mozambique.