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Inspired by the Garifuna, Honduran Activists Offer Community Meals in the Capital

This article is part of a series featuring inspiring stories of local action #fromthefrontlines of COVID-19 in the Global South. For more, visit our COVID-19 page and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Across the globe COVID-19 has had serious ramifications on supply chains, particularly the global food supply – disproportionately impacting already vulnerable communities. A recent report from the World Food Program and more than a dozen other organizations underscored the alarming outlook for global hunger: an estimated 265 million people could be on the brink of starvation by the end of 2020.

In Honduras, where the United States Agency for International Development estimates that 1.5 million people face hunger at some point every year, the pandemic has limited many Hondurans’ abilities to reliably access sufficient amounts of nutritious food.

With the government’s capacity stretched thin, local leaders and grassroots groups have stepped up to feed their hungry neighbors.

We recently wrote about how OFRANEH, a social movement of the Afro-Indigenous Garifuna people supported by the Fund, drew on their long-standing traditions of communal eating to alleviate hunger. Within days of the pandemic hitting Honduras, they had established ollas comunitarias, or community pots, in nearly 20 Garifuna communities.

Now, inspired by the work of OFRANEH, Fund-backed Red de Defensoras de Honduras has organized community pots in communities throughout Tegucigalpa.

The group is using WhatsApp to circulate important news about COVID-19 and combat disinformation, as well as to spread the word about the availability of community pots. Using the slogan “Es tiempo de echarle mas agua a la sopa” (“It’s time to add more water to the soup”), Red de Defensoras is able to notify community members about when and where community pots of food are available for them to access.

Their efforts, inspired by OFRANEH, underscore the importance of sharing successful solutions and building on each other’s work. At the Fund, we believe that sharing learning and facilitating collaboration are cornerstones of effective activism.

The Fund is proud to support both Red de Defensoras and OFRANEH with the long-term and flexible funding they need to provide critical relief to their communities, while continuing to tackle the systemic inequalities that impact their communities.