FAO and TeleFood Special Fund Projects for the Hungry

Event objective

This side event is intended to provide an informal forum for presentation and discussion of the TeleFood Special Fund Projects.


TeleFood is FAO's annual campaign dedicated to help reduce the number of hungry people in the world by mobilising resources for hunger-fighting projects and to raise awareness about world hunger by organising broadcasts, concerts and other events. TeleFood was launched in 1997, following the World Food Summit. The TeleFood Special Fund (TSF) funds small grass-root level projects in developing countries and countries in transition.

Donations to the TSF go directly to grassroots development projects for poor farmers, especially women, young people (in schools and orphanages) and disabled persons, to pay for tools, seeds and other essential supplies required to grow food for their families and communities. Many of the projects are also income generating, providing farmers and fishers with much needed cash to pay for health care, housing, education and other necessities. The budgets of individual projects are limited to US $10,000 and all investment must be completed within12 months.

To be eligible for TSF assistance, the beneficiaries should organise themselves into an association and should agree to contribute, besides the provision of their own labour and inputs, a small amount of money to a community fund on a regular basis (e.g. monthly).

Types of TeleFood Projects

To date, over 1060 micro projects have been financed by TSF, in 114 countries. Average project size is US $7,000. Types of projects and inputs, which are covered by TeleFood Special Fund, include the following:

(i) Crop Production (cereals, roots and tubers, vegetables, fruits and others, e.g. agroforestry, small irrigation, apiculture, agroprocessing): inputs include seeds and planting materials, fertiliser required for one or maximum two seasons, and hand tools. Heavy equipment is not provided by TSF. Some 55% of TeleFood projects funded to date have been of this category.

(ii) Small Animal Production (chicken, geese, ducks, guinea fowls, rabbits, small ruminants, pigs): inputs include start-up stock (day-old chicks, sheep, piglets, etc.), animal health supplies, feed resources in quantities sufficient to cover the first rearing period, and hand tools. Small animal production projects have comprised 33% of TeleFood projects.

(iii) Fish Production (Small-scale fish culture and improved artisanal fisheries): inputs include fry for water stocking, fishing gear (but no boats), products for fish feeding, and hand tools. This category has accounted for 12% of all TeleFood Projects.

Formulating a TeleFood Special Fund Project

The FAO Representative, with the assistance of Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) national staff, if available, or other FAO field staff, will initiate contacts with local authorities and NGOs in order to inform them of the programme. Projects are put forward by local groups, with oversight from a qualified person, for instance a technician from the Ministry of Agriculture, who is designated to be responsible for the entire cycle of the project. Each project is adapted to the local needs in close consultation with the community concerned. While TeleFood projects should be self-contained, they may be linked to ongoing FAO projects, i.e., either to a project funded by the SPFS appropriation or to an appropriate TCP project.

Helping a Wide Range of People in the Fight against Hunger

Farm families in Cambodia, beginner beekeepers in Samoa, small-scale farmers in Honduras, watermelon growers in China and fish sellers in Burkina Faso are just some of the world's farmers, herders and fisherfolk who are benefiting from the fruits of TeleFood. Nearly half of the micro-projects are designed mainly or specifically for women. In these projects, seeds, tools and other inputs are selected to meet women's needs and channelled directly to village women's associations or co-operatives. TeleFood projects that help women earn money by selling vegetables, fish or poultry, translate directly into better nutrition for their families.



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FAO, 2002