Gujarat to pioneer state-CSO hunger helpline

A Hunger Helpline in Gujarat, initiated by the state government in collaboration with CSOs, aims to provide poor people in need of a meal with food donors through the telephone. The scheme is to be piloted in Surat, then extended through the rest of Gujarat. Those in need of a meal call a number and are then connected to the Hunger Helpline, where an operator directs them to the nearest food charity organization in the area. CSOs will be responsible for serving the food.

S K Nanda, Gujarat’s civil supplies secretary whose brainchild the project is, hopes that as many as 328 CSOs all over Gujarat will eventually join the project. In order to facilitate the scheme, government officials have initiated talks with a leading telecom service-provider to install telephones at fair price shops across the state.

OneWorld South Asia, 23 October 2006

Muhammad Yunus first Bangladeshi Nobel Peace laureate

Founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month, the first Bangladeshi to win the award. In awarding the prize, the Nobel committee spoke of the Bank’s work in helping people break out of poverty and the importance of that for advancing the cause of democracy and human rights. Since its foundation in 1983, Grameen Bank has lent $5.7 billion. It currently has 6.5 million borrowers in Bangladesh, 97 per cent of whom are women. Yunus has said he will use part of his share of the $1.4 million prize to create a company to make low-cost, high-nutrition food. The rest will be used to set up an eye hospital for the poor in Bangladesh.

The Guardian, 14 October 2006

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