Miriam (last name not given), a mother of four in Malawi, upgraded her kitchen with support from ELCA World Hunger. A fuel efficiency stove has been installed in her home, which allows Miriam to fuel her cooking fire with less than half the wood she was previously burning. The change may seem small to visitors, but for Miriam and her community it represents a great shift—both in their present lives and the future they are building.

Several years ago, Miriam and her neighbors didn’t have the time or resources to plan ahead, which made them especially vulnerable to disasters. In 2019, Cyclone Idai damaged homes and destroyed crops and other food sources in the region. Lutheran Disaster Response, the ELCA’s disaster ministry, helped provide the food, shelter and other resources that community members needed in the immediate aftermath.

The Evangelical Lutheran Development Service (ELDS), a partner of ELCA World Hunger and Lutheran Disaster Response, has helped the community grow climate-resilient crops such as hybrid maize and sweet potato vines. ELDS also helped women in Miriam’s village and two neighboring ones create a self-sustaining loan group. Participants pool their money and resources, and then individuals can take out loans to grow their enterprises. Group members celebrate successes together and rely on one another for support, rather than relying on the village bank that is controlled by men. The funds have helped members purchase pigs and goats, rebuild homes, open shops and more.

Miriam’s participation in the group gave her access to the funds she needed to start a business selling grains and seeds. Now she is making enough of a profit that she doesn’t need to spend all her money on her family’s immediate needs. “Through savings,” she said, “I am able to save a little something and then borrow some money and pay back with interest.”

The ELDS program also provided Miriam and many of her neighbors with high-efficiency stoves that allow individuals to spend less money on fuel and help the community preserve the surrounding forests.

In addition to using less wood for cooking, Miriam has also begun planting new trees. They are small now, but they will grow to provide shade and sustenance for generations to come.

Generation Zero-Hunger

This year to mark the 50th anniversary of ELCA World Hunger, ELCA Youth Gathering participants have been invited to join ELCA World Hunger and commit to being part of Generation Zero-Hunger: the generation taking action to usher in a world without hunger and futures filled with hope.

Find resources and learn more about how you and your community can get involved in Generation Zero-Hunger at ELCA.org/GenZeroHunger.

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