A Short History

"A world one third prosperous and two thirds poverty-stricken is an unhealthy place in which to live"

These are the words of Donald Tweddle, the first general secretary to the United Kingdom Freedom from Hunger Campaign in 1961, when many Commonwealth countries were becoming independent.

The initial aims of the Freedom from Hunger Campaign were:

  • To provide information and education about world hunger
  • Fundraising
  • Research
  • Action and education to improve food production and distribution in developing countries

A Projects List was drawn up and by March 1963, 864 committees were formed. The Devon Committee chose to raise money to set up a Farmers' Training Centre at Urambo in the Tabora Region of Tanzania (site of the failed earlier groundnuts scheme). John Gillett was invited to join the committee, as an interested farmer.

An enthusiastic fund raising campaign raised enough money to provide two Farmers Training Centres. Mwanhala, also in the Tabora Region, was chosen as the second site.

History of FUM

After the Freedom from Hunger Campaign it was decided by the Exeter Committee that it was important to stay in touch with our project and continue to provide assistance.

So FUM was founded and David Walker from Exeter University was elected as Chairman and John Gillett as Secretary.

Help and education in the improvement of farming methods and financial help was the initial aim of the project.

FUM decided to become involved with help for the hospitals and the provision of very much needed Mother and Child Clinics in isolated villages, a practice which still continues. Water and the provision of wells has also been an important work of FUM right from the beginning.

Around £20,000 is raised annually, targeted at projects selected jointly by FUM Officers and the Tabora Regional Government authorities. All our projects have the full support of the local authorities and are delivered by them, thus over 95% of FUM donations are spent directly on the projects themselves.

FUM funds are administered by a committee of officers, all of whom are volunteers elected at our Annual General Meeting. Apart from postage, mailing, bank transfer costs, etc. there are no overheads. We have two volunteer officers in Tanzania, Frank Charles and Janeth John, both based in the Regional Government Offices in Tabora. The Regional Commissioner is our Honorary President in Tanzania.

FUM has a significant interest in the progress of three Rural Crafts Colleges (FDCs) at Urambo, Mwanhala and Sikonge. We also support a number of primary schools, particularly those in the more isolated villages. Over the years we have funded the construction of twelve Mother and Child Health Clinics mostly in very isolated locations and make an annual grant to each in order to ensure that they remain properly equipped. These clinics provide primary health care to their communities particularly ante and post natal care as well as care during delivery. Each is staffed by a paramedic and midwife and is supplied with drugs and consumables by the District Medical Authorities.