In 2021, 193 million people experienced high acute food insecurity, requiring humanitarian assistance for their survival, while more than half a million faced catastrophic conditions – meaning starvation and death. World Food Day 2022 emphasizes that building a sustainable food system is imperative.
In Daveyton, South Africa, a team from Dow Industrial Solutions (DIS) partnered with a major agricultural solution provider, who is our strategic customer, to empower Oliver’s Village’s sustainable agriculture efforts as part of Dow’s Business Impact Fund.
Food insecurity is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. Millions of people worldwide struggle to find stable access to nutritious food. The pandemic, climate change, rising food prices and conflict have heavily impacted our communities’ most vulnerable people, worsening existing inequities.
Oliver’s Village started more than 20 years ago as a soup kitchen – serving meals to community members who were finding it challenging to make ends meet. Since its humble beginnings, it has grown to an organization that supports more than 200,000 beneficiaries per year and is a leader in providing services such as food, potable water, childcare and education.
“We partnered to create a project that would help Oliver’s Village achieve its vision for economic resiliency. Consequently increasing the social impact on the communities they serve,” explained Kevin Pillay, DIS customer manager and Business Impact Fund project lead. “A significant part of the project focused on improving the gardening areas for commercial purposes, so the NGO could assess more revenue for its social programs and have less reliance on donations. We also improved the potable water, provided agriculture training to the local community and supported additional staff to tend the gardens, which included an agriculture coordinator.”
So far, the project has improved and maintained the health of 2,680 community members who now have access to consistent, nutritious food sources and potable water and is projected to impact more than 5,000 people by the end of next year. Because the project included sustainable practices, these health benefits will continue for years to come.
This partnership also sparked Team Dow volunteering at the Village and coming together for a book drive for the daycare center. The project illustrates how companies and charitable organizations can collaborate to address community needs while growing potential markets.
“The Business Impact Fund project significantly impacted our economic independence and the continuity of our organization, which reduced our dependence and risk associated with being solely reliant on external support,” emphasized Lola Wortley, Director of Planning and Development of Oliver´s Village. “There is a new-found pride in working towards the sustainability of Oliver’s Village together. There is a sense of hope, possibilities and entrepreneurship emerging, which is uplifting despite the economic hardships many have faced, especially during the last couple of years. As we reflect on World Food Day, I know solutions to tough challenges like food security will come from collaboration. Working together gives me optimism for a sustainable future where no one is left behind.”