Eradicating hunger is a cornerstone of CWS's mission. The problem isn't just getting people more food. CWS promotes food security with programs that provide inputs, protect land rights, support nutrition eduation and food diversification and value local knowledge. CWS seeks to address both the immediate causes of hunger by ensuring proper nutrition to those who need it - especially mothers and children - as well as the underlying causes of hunger, by improving community food systems and ensuring continued access to food.
Already one of the poorest countries in Europe, Serbia was further hit by the 2008 global economic crisis, which has had a devastating effect. Estimates in 2011 indicated that more than 1.3 million citizens were poor or barely making ends meet.
In Smederevo, CWS and the Serbian Red Cross run a multi-year program that supports local food production to help alleviate hunger and poverty in rural areas. The project ensures food security for 1,250 people daily while investing in and supporting local institutions and resources. In previous years, the project successfully met the large and growing needs of its impoverished community, creating greater equity in access to healthy, fresh, nutritious food. The soup kitchen also provides two nutritional meals per day to approximately 60 children who attend CWS's inclusive education program.
Georgia remains a country with significant levels of poverty, a deteriorated social safety net and a high level of unemployment. An estimated 54 percent of Georgia's rural population lives below the poverty line, with about 17 percent in extreme poverty.
In 2010, CWS, the local NGO 'Rural Communities Development Agency,' in cooperation with 'Women in Europe for a Common Future,' started a project in Galavani community where an influx of internally displaced persons in 2008 further strained community resources. The project takes an integrated approach to sustainable community development through improved and diversified agricultural production and increased workforce development and employment opportunities. Along with improvements at the community level, displaced persons were supported in organizing individual kitchen gardens in their homes through the provision of seeds and garden tools.