How we changed lives with curry

Anjali Pathak's curry evening

As you are aware, this October was ‘Curry for Change’ month here at Find Your Feet. The idea behind this campaign was to raise money for our work through curry evenings held by our supporters. From the feedback we’ve heard, the curry evenings that were held were a great success!

The quote below is from one very satisfied supporter:
“It was a great evening – I cooked up a feast of Potato Vindaloo, lentils and rice, naan and homemade mango chutney (I was particularly proud of this!). Six friends came round and made a donation for dinner. Everyone was so pleased to be involved in doing something for such a worthwhile cause and it’s such a fantastic idea.”

We are very appreciative of curry connoisseur Anjali Pathak supported our campaign by hosting two ‘Curry for Change’ nights of her own.

We are very grateful to all who held an evening and got involved this October.

Funny Nkhonjera, Malawi

The money raised will truly be life changing for rural communities with which we work. Take the case of Funny Nkhonjera, a Malawian woman that FYF worked with. She was taught sustainable farming skills, such as using compost from local products on her crops, instead of expensive and environmentally-damaging fertilisers. Her local community were also brought together and taught how to properly irrigate their land, meaning that now Funny’s family “has enough food to eat all year round, even during the hungry season”. With the money raised through ‘Curry for Change’, FYF will be able to continue helping the lives of impoverished people like Funny , working with them to achieve a sustainable and higher quality way of life.

Inspired to help people like Funny to build a better future? Find out how to get involved with our work at our website:

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @FindYourFeet and to like us on Facebook!

World Food Day

As you might have seen on the 10th, the 2011 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report was published. The report shows that global hunger has declined since 1990, but not dramatically. The 2011 GHI fell by 26 percent from the 1990 GHI, from a score of 19.7 to 14.6. However, this score is not the same worldwide. The 2011 GHI scores for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, still remain alarming. This year’s report focuses mainly on the impact of rising and volatile food prices on the lives of the world’s poorest people. The report attributes the rising prices to three main reasons: high oil prices, extreme weather events and a significant increase in the trading of agricultural commodity futures. To find out more about how factors affect rising food prices, check out the full report at:

The 2011 GHI report was released in advance of this year’s World Food Day, which is celebrated each year on the 16th October. The Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN created World Food Day to strengthen international and national action against hunger, malnutrition and poverty and to draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development. This mission is very much at the heart of FYF’s vision, a world in which everyone has the right to build a future free from poverty. FYF works with the rural poor to develop sustainable solutions to poverty and all its aspects, such as hunger.

FYF’s work to reduce hunger

An illustration of how FYF is working to reduce hunger is our current EU-funded project in Rumphi District, Malawi, which started in 2008 and shall last into 2012. The aim of the project is to achieve improved local and district food production and diversified livelihood opportunities for 12,000 resource poor households in four EPAs of Rumphi District, Malawi. By the end of the project, we aim to have increased household food production and nutritionally improved diets; increased household incomes for resource poor families; and more effective and enabling representative development structures responding to community needs.


The Story of Sumitra

As explained in the previous blog posts, FYF trained Sumitra and the women in her village to use sustainable farming techniques, which diversified their harvest and enabled them to sell their surplus as a Vegetable Growers’ Association. This meant that Sumitra’s household income greatly increased, and her children are now able to attend primary school. Because her children have access to education, their live chances have improved and it is more likely that they would be able to enter into a more skilled labour field. Thus FYF’s work with Sumitra’s community has not only changed the short-term situation but provided the foundations for long term change and improvement for the residents of the village.


Inspired to help people like Sumitra to build a better future? Get involved in Curry for Change and you can have fun with food and friends while helping to make real changes to people’s lives.


Find out more about this initiative at our website:



Sign up today!

International Day of Rural Women

Dalit Women from FYF’s project in of Rae Bareli District, India

In the rural economies of both the developed and developing countries of the world, rural women are crucial. They participate in crop production and livelihood care, provide food, water and fuel for their families, and engage in off-farm activities to diversify their families’ livelihood. In order to recognise the contribution of rural women in food production and security, the UN General Assemble established the ‘International Day of Rural Women’ in December 2008,
to be observed every October 15th.

Due to the migration of men to cities to earn money in developing countries, rural women are left in charge of the family’s plot of land. In India for example, women farm half of the land, while in Malawi, women farmers produce 80% of the food grown. Despite this, many of the women still don’t have a voice in their communities and suffer worse
poverty than men, and so at FYF we place a large importance on working with rural women.

Working together to grow and sell

From 2005 to 2010, FYF worked with the women of Rae Bareli District, India. Through the project, 1,520 poor dalit women have been able to access loans, sustainable agriculture training and equipment such as irrigation.  Previously unable to feed their families for more than six to nine months a year, the self-help group members have been able to harvest enough both to feed their families all year round and sell a surplus. Once the women were producing a surplus, they identified the possibility of selling vegetables to bring in a regular income. A Vegetable Growers’ Association was established to buy the produce grown by the women and link them to markets so they could get a better price than they could have achieved as individuals. Through the project, the poor farming families were on average able to increase their income from agriculture by 315% from 8,249 Rupees (£113) in 2005 to 26,024 Rupees (£356) in 2010.

The Story of Sumitra

Sumitra Devi, the woman whose story I am sharing in each blog post, is another example of FYF’s work with rural women. Alongside teaching Sumitra sustainable farming techniques as explained last week, FYF through our local partners also helped the women in Sumitra’s village set up self-help groups (SHG) to discuss economic and social issues that arose in the village. Furthermore, the SHG members each saved a small amount of money in a group fund and were then able
to borrow funds at a fair and fixed rate of interest. As more loans were taken out and repaid, the fund grew and was able to support a growing number of business activities amongst the women, enabling them to develop sustainable
business practices to lift themselves out of poverty. Find out how else FYF helped Sumitra in our next blog.

Inspired to help people like Sumitra to build a better future? Get involved in Curry for Change and you can have fun with food and friends while helping to make real changesto people’s lives.

Find out more about this initiative at our website:

Sign up today!

National Curry Week Recipes

Celebrate National Curry Week by hosting a 'Curry For Change' night!

As I am sure you all know, this week is National Curry Week, from 9th to 15th October! To help you celebrate this week, we have collected some yummy curry recipes.

To start you off, try this delicious Paneer Hariyali Tikka that serves 8 as a starter.

You will need:

  • 500g paneer
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • 3 bunches of basil
  • 2 bunches of coriander
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 2 green chillies
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch pieces of ginger
  • 100g Philadelphia cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Vegetable oil

Cut the paneer into cubes. Apply ginger garlic paste, and salt. Reserve for 30 minutes. Blitz all the greens, along with the ginger, garlic and chilli, adding vegetable oil to aid mixing. Check seasoning and then whisk in the Philadelphia cheese. Apply on the paneer and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours. Thread paneer onto metal skewers and cook in the tandoor for 3 to 4 minutes. Alternatively leave under a hot grill. Serve with onion salad.

For some other scrumptious recipes, check out the Patak website: Anjali Pathak is kindly supporting our Curry for Change campaign and last week provided us with daily top tips and recipes. Check them out on our Facebook page:

Why not celebrate National Curry Week by holding a Curry for Change night? This October we are using curry to help transform the lives of families living in rural poverty in South East Asia. Find out more about this initiative at our website:

Sign up today!

World Day for Decent Work

Brick-kiln Workers

Since 2008, every October 7th has been World Day for Decent Work (WDDW). The main focus of this year’s WDDW is raising awareness about the issues surrounding precarious work, which refers to non-permanent, temporary, casual, insecure and contingent forms of work. In such economically turbulent times, “decent work must be at the centre of governments’ actions” to “build a new global economy that puts people first” in the words of the ITUC.

Some of us may think that a decent day’s work is just a hard day in the office with a lunch break at noon, but for some it means a lot more. For them, it means not having to wonder if they will be able to earn money that day to be able to feed their hungry families. Workers employed in ‘precarious’ jobs are not covered by labour laws and social security protection and encounter difficulties in law.

Here at FYF, we strive to help those employed in ‘precarious work’, working with the marginalised to realise their rights and achieve more job security. For example, we are currently engaged in working with brick-kiln workers in Utter Pradesh, India. A previous project from 2006 to 2010 saw the establishment of a Brick-kiln Association that represented the rights of local workers, resulting in improved labour conditions, timely payment of wages and non-formal education for the workers’ children. The continuation of this project, funded by DFID, aims to empower 9,483 marginalised people from brick-kiln communities in four districts of Utter Pradesh to realise their civil, economic, political and social rights by March 2015.

That is only one example of how FYF promotes decent work among the marginalised. The story of Sumitra Devi is another. Over the next month, I will be sharing Sumitra’s story with you. Through our local partners, FYF trained Sumitra in sustainable farming techniques to ensure that she would be able to grow crops other than just wheat, on which she had previously relied. This meant an improved healthy diet for her and her family, as well as an improved harvest. This improved harvest created a surplus that Sumitra could sell and earn a higher income for her family. Find out how else FYF helped Sumitra in our next blog.

Inspired to help people like Sumitra to build a better future? Get involved in Curry for Change and you can have fun with food and friends while helping to make real changes to people’s lives.

Find out more about this initiative at our website:

Sign up today!

Changing Lives with Curry

Sumitra Devi

As you have probably heard on our website, from our tweets and facebook posts, Find Your Feet is going curry crazy for change over the next few weeks and throughout October. But this may lead you to wonder what ‘change’ we are working towards. Let’s face it, the word gets thrown around a lot, it feels like ‘change’ has lost its real sense of action. But there are still places where ‘change’ retains a strong meaning and represents a real shift and a difference. Here at FYF, we are working towards our own interpretation of ‘change’. Our vision is of a world in which everyone is able to build a future free from poverty. We are talking about real life-changing change!

We work closely with families living in rural areas who are really struggling to break out of the poverty cycle – we believe that to develop long-term solutions to their poverty, the families we work with should be involved in their own change. As a small organisation, and working through local partners, we listen to the needs of the communities and really understand the issues they face so we can provide the right support and enable them to build a future free from hunger and poverty.  So, our ‘Change’ is always focusing on ‘long-term change

It is also surprising the number of simple solutions that can lead to a life-changing impact. With the right training and support we know families can reduce their hungry months and start to feed and support their children, and this can go on to transform a whole community! Over the course of the coming blog entries, we are going to tell the story of Sumitra Devi to show what a difference ‘change’ can make to her family and community. Sumitra is from the Lucknowyanka Purwa Village, India and was so poor that she was unable to grow enough crops to feed her family or afford medicine when her children were sick. The children in her village could not attend school or have access to clean water. Find out next week how FYF was able to help Sumitra.

Inspired to help people like Sumitra to build a better future? Get involved in Curry for Change and you can have fun with food and friends while helping to make real changes to people’s lives.

Find out more about this initiative at our website:

Sign up today!

Motivated by Outrage?

It is time to Stand Up and Take Action against Poverty!

When setting up Find Your Feet, Carol Martin declared: “I am motivated by outrage – that we, who live in plenty, do so little.” 

Ten years have passed since world leaders agreed on the Millennium Development Goals. Ten years with some successes, but also several setbacks. If we are to reach the goals – eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education & ensure environmental sustainability within five years – we, who live in plenty, need to speed things up!

On September 20-22, world leaders will meet in New York to review the progress on the MDGs. This is probably the last realistic chance of delivering a plan to make good on the promises made ten years ago.

Therefore – Stand Up and Take Action

Our world leaders’ willingness to pledge money and efforts are dependent on us, the public and tax payers showing that this is something we’d like to prioritize.

To make our voices heard before the MDG summit, there are a number of events you can take part in. One of them is stand up and make a noise in Westminster.

On 18 September, millions of people across the world will ‘Make a Noise for the Millennium Development Goals’.  This mobilization takes place just two days before world leaders meet at the UN MDG Review Summit

At 1 pm in the Old Palace Yard, outside the Palace of Westminster  we will record a message for the delegates at the UN: Keep your promises – deliver a funded, timetabled breakthrough plan to meet the MDGs!

Join with drums, bells, whistles, pots and pans and show your solidarity, whether you are motivated by outrage, compassion or a desire for fairness.

Stand Up and Make a Noise in Westminster is organised by UK campaign groups, as part of Stand Up and Take Action, a global mobilisation from 17-19 September, facilitated by the Global Call to Action against Poverty (of which Make Poverty History was the UK platform in 2005) and the UN Millennium Campaign. 

Find more information here:

Join the event on Facebook –

This post was written by Communications Intern Hilde Faugli

CSR – mere window dressing or worth the effort?

This entry was posted by Communications Intern Hilde Faugli

Support from companies like Innocent have helped Find Your Feet develop new projects and expand on existing work in India.

If you, like me, enjoy a good smoothie, you probably know about Innocent Drinks. My weakness for Innocent smoothies is of course boosted by the fact that their drinks are made from all natural ingredients. But, there is also more.  Did you watch BBC News’ On the Road With… An Entrepreneur last weekend? It was featuring a day in the life of Richard Reed, one of the founders of Innocent, and that brought them to Find Your Feet’s offices. This is because not only are they making delicious drinks and other stuff, the company has been supporting Find Your Feet’s work in India since 2004.   

There’s a lot of debate about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and sometimes it is not easy to know whether a company uses CSR for pure branding reasons, or if they really want their support to matter. In the Innocent case, 10% of their profit goes to charity, most of it through an independent foundation called the Innocent Foundation.  

Innocent drinks set up the Innocent Foundation to offer long-term support to the places where they source their ingredients. India is one of these places, and also one of the countries Find Your Feet works in. Amongst other things, Innocent Foundation has supported our work with the organization Pepus, in rural Allahabad that works with improving livelihoods for Dalits through sustainable agriculture. For every £1 the foundation has donated, it has unlocked £3 from the EU. This way the project has grown from working in 10 to 63 villages, benefiting a total of 26,800 people.  Over the years the foundation’s funding of our start-up projects has enabled us to successfully apply for almost £1million in grants from the Big Lottery Fund and DFID.

What is more important is what these figures mean on the ground. The support from Innocent Foundation has been vital in enabling FYF to develop innovative new projects, expand on existing work and improve the long-term impact of our work so thousands more families have the opportunity to build the skills and confidence to lift themselves out of poverty.

One of the reasons why the partnership with Innocent foundation has such an impact, is that we share some important principles and values. Both Find Your Feet and Innocent Foundation believe that sustainability and working with local communities is imperative to both fight poverty and conserve our natural resources. Moreover, getting funding for three years at a time means that we are able to plan ahead, and focus more long-term than we would be able to if the funding was for shorter periods.

Also important is the flexibility the foundation has shown. Initially the support from Innocent went to a project called Sabla in Uttar Pradesh. However, when this project was on its feet and we secured alternative long term funding for it, we suggested to move the funding to another project where it was needed more strongly. Being able to discuss different options and having a dialogue on where the money can best be used, is beneficial for the local communities we work with. 

Clearly, CSR does not always have the same outcomes as in this case, but this goes to show that with the right intentions, and good collaboration, it can really go a long way. 

Read more about Innocent foundation here.
Read more about our work in India here.

Watch On the Road With… An Entrepreneur here (only available a few more days, so hurry!)

A better way of counting the poor?

The MPI might help the international community target its aid efforts more effectively.

This blog piece was posted by Communications Intern Hilde Faugli.

The UNDP has just released a new indicator for measuring poverty – will it make any difference?

The Multidimensional Poverty Indicator, or MPI for short, was launched earlier this month, and promises to be better suited as a tool for allocating funding for development programs etc. The MPI assesses a range of deprivations at the household level, from sanitation and nutrition, child mortality and schooling, to cooking fuel and drinking water.

“The MPI provides a fuller measure of poverty than the traditional dollar-a-day formulas. It is a valuable addition to the family of instruments we use to examine broader aspects of well-being, including UNDP’s Human Development Index and other measures of inequality across the population and between genders,” Jeni Klugman, Director of the UNDP Human Development Report Office and the principal author of this year’s report, said.

The MPI can be broken down into different population subgroups and by dimension to see what type of deprivation is affecting different regions or groups.

So what?

Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), which has developed the indicator with UNDP support, has analyzed poverty levels in 104 countries using the new indicator. The result is a pretty staggering number of 1.7 billion people living in poverty. Using the more common extreme poverty measure, “1$/day“ (which has actually now been put up to 1.25$/day), the figure would be ‘only’ 1.3 billion.

Looking at India, one of the countries we are working in, the MPI poverty rate is 55%, compared with 42% counted as poor according to the 1.25$/day measure. The MPI also reveals that the rural areas are more affected than the urban, and that nutrition, child enrollment, child mortality and schooling are the prime contributors to deprivation in the country.

Whilst the findings are depressing, I don’t think that anybody working in international development would be surprised that taking on a more multidimensional view of poverty gives higher figures. People are deprived in a multitude of ways, and one single indicator will never be able to cover everything. This measure, as the HDI before it, sheds light on the fact that poverty is not just about income. Whether or not this will translate into a more targeted approach to tackling poverty remains to be seen.

The HDI has been criticized for being redundant, that it actually does not reveal much more than an income measure and that it ranks countries in a pretty similar order. Nevertheless there are interesting exceptions. Sri Lanka, for example, is ranked low in terms of its GDP, but moves up the ranks for HDI because of its good results in education and health.

Ms. Alkire stresses that the MPI “identifies the most vulnerable households and groups and enables us to understand exactly which deprivations afflict their lives.”

It will be interesting to see if the MPI will have an impact on the way countries, aid agencies and organizations allocate their money.

Explore the new index through an interactive world map on OPHI’s website.

More than just football?

Time will tell if the World Cup will bring lasting changes for this boy and his fellow Africans. Photo: © Jason Wojciechowski (

This piece was posted by Communications Intern Hilde Faugli.

The first World Cup to be hosted on the African continent ended with no African teams reaching the final stages. But does that leave Africa with nothing? Former South African President Thabo Mbeki’s aspirations for the event were by no means small.  In a letter to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, released in 2003, Mbeki said South Africa wanted to stage an event that will send ripples of confidence from the Cape to Cairo, an event that will create social and economic opportunities throughout Africa.

Whether the World Cup will leave a lasting, and positive legacy for Africa is a question not easily answered, and may be one more for the future to respond to rather than the present. South Africa has proved that it certainly has the infrastructure to host such a huge tournament. However, for development to take place, most African countries are in need of investment in many areas; education, health, infrastructure, agriculture to mention a few. Sports cannot go it all alone. Maybe the momentum that the world cup has brought with it will encourage governments, private actors and organizations to foster development in the continent.

Nevertheless, what I think might be the biggest benefit of the World Cup is the chance to see a bit of a different image of Africa than the one we are usually presented with. It has shown that South Africa, and Africa in general much more than just violence, instability, famine and safaris – although that rarely comes across in day-to-day media coverage of the region.

The World Cup has highlighted the fact that Africa is full of talented, creative and truly capable people. Over the past 50 years Find Your Feet’s experience in Southern Africa has proved this only too clearly. Indeed Find Your Feet’s approach to agriculture is based on the understanding that small holder farmers themselves have all the knowledge and the creativity necessary to farm successfully, as demonstrated by our successful lead farmer programme in Malawi.  We are soon going to return to Zimbabwe, a country in dire need of reconstruction. We’ll be replicating our lead farmer approach here because we believe that Zimbabwe’s reconstruction can be best achieved through an agriculture that is underpinned by the experience of Zimbabwe’s farmers themselves.  We are certain that more co-operation with people and organizations on the ground in Africa can lead to important changes for individuals and communities.