CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, US — For the first time in three decades, humanitarian food distributions among 20 communities in Tana River County, Kenya, were not needed, thanks to the Lifesaving Education and Assistance to Farmers (LEAF) Project, built upon Concern Worldwide and ADM’s shared goal of advancing nutrition innovation globally.

The project in Tana River focused on agricultural transformation through skills training, financial aid and continuous mentorship. Through initiatives that addressed both the causes and consequences of malnutrition and food insecurity, LEAF directly impacted nearly 50,000 individuals (39,700 in Kenya and 10,200 in Ethiopia) — all in the midst of a global pandemic.

“We’re so proud of our partnership with Concern Worldwide, where we have helped make a difference in the dire nutrition situation for thousands of residents in Ethiopia and Kenya, while being good stewards of the environment,” said Juan Luciano, chairman and chief executive officer of ADM. “We’re hopeful that the success of this project can serve as a model as we work together to end food insecurity globally, unlocking the power of nature to save lives today, to enrich them tomorrow.”

ADM and Concern Worldwide are two of many organizations working to find more sustainable and successful solutions to one of the most critical of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: zero hunger. 

With LEAF, both ADM and Concern Worldwide have demonstrated a model for private sector partnership based on the resources of international corporations, and the expertise of humanitarian and development organizations to develop unique solutions to the world’s most complex issues.

In Tana River County, Kenya, 16,200 of the individuals reached with LEAF were women and children who received lifesaving nutrition services. In just one year of the program, child malnutrition rates dropped from 4% to 1%, a significant change compared to the subcounty average of 4.3%. LEAF also enabled the utilization of 1,484 new acres of land away from the river for farming to reduce the risk of flooding. Previously farmers lost up to 60% of their produce, but now losses have been reduced to under 20%.

Yet, the threat of famine throughout the world remains. The UN estimates there are 88 million people facing acute hunger in countries affected by conflict and instability — 34 million of whom are currently on the precipice of famine. Urgent action from the international community is needed to avoid catastrophe.

“We need to continue to grow and scale these programs with partners like ADM who are committed to global food security,” said Colleen Kelly, CEO of Concern Worldwide US. “Today it’s the Tanya River, but tomorrow it could be anywhere there is a need.”