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Economic Development

Kerstin Bandsom Team Communications

Acknowledging the complexity of eradicating hunger, Welthungerhilfe includes economic development and education in its multi-sectoral approach to tackle the causes of hunger and malnutrition sustainably. We led close to 30 economic development projects in 2018.


Hunger is, above all, a consequence of poverty. Those families with insufficient money for food are not able to look after their own health nor invest in education for their children.

In the countries Welthungerhilfe works in, youth unemployment is a big issue, interrelated with strong demographic growth and volatile economic development. However, according to estimates from the World Economic Forum, economic growth in the agricultural sector reduces poverty eleven times more than growth in other areas. Investments in sustainable small-scale agriculture offer great potential. 

Titles page of the Position Paper Rural Development – Rural Economy Position Paper Rural Development

The Position Paper on Rural Development sums up Welthungerhilfe’s programmatic and political approaches to improve the conditions which people in poor rural regions of the Global South live in.

Our Approach

Welthungerhilfe focuses on empowering communities to fulfil their right to adequate food and nutrition security. In using market-based approaches, we view community members as consumers, producers, entrepreneurs and pursue solutions that make markets more efficient, competitive and inclusive.

We believe that training young people and creating job opportunities in poor regions is key to development, economic growth and the way out of hunger and poverty. This is where Welthungerhilfe’s cross-border 'SkillUp!' programme comes in. In Kenya, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Tajikistan it offers a range of locally adapted vocational training modules and teaches young people the technical, business and life skills to pursue their own professional goals.

Our Impact

In 2011 Welthungerhilfe launched the Green Colleges Initiative in India. The Green Colleges train rural youth in 'green trades', combining traditional wisdom with scientific techniques to help them become 'ecopreneurs' and to enable them to have better access to technology, finances, and market. Of the 32,000 trainees to date, over 19,000 have successfully established their own small farms or enterprises, while more than 200 of them have become trainers themselves.

Welthungerhilfe established its flagship SkillUp! programme based on this success. To date, more than 5,000 young people have taken part in training. Welthungerhilfe envisions the lives of 15,000 people will be improved by the end of the programme. 

In the Nangarhar region of Afghanistan, Welthungerhilfe has been supporting rose oil production since 2004. The result: high-quality, organic rose oil sold on the world market. Today, the product secures incomes for around 800 families and is managed by a former project employee as an independent entrepreneur.