Dear colleagues, partners, allies and friends,
The Hunger Project has been an incredible organization home for me and has given me the opportunity to learn and grow with so many of you. After 20 years of serving in various roles, that have included building a strong network of relationships with partners like you, I have decided to leave The Hunger Project Mexico.
I have had the great privilege of contributing to consolidate the work of The Hunger Project in Mexico from many different perspectives over the years. I began as an individual investor inspired by the vision and approach of the organization; then as a volunteer where I was able to meet and serve for the first time to our community partners from many states of Mexico.
After that, I made a 180º career change and joined The Hunger Project Mexico as a full-time member of the staff. I served as the Fundraising Director, working in creating the foundation for local funding. Then as the Executive Director, working with an incredible set of local leaders who helped me learn what it takes to mobilize people in rural villages, work at the human level of hunger and poverty, innovate new approaches, lead our team to develop and implement our national strategic plans, our community and advocacy programs, our local fundraising efforts and to engage new partnerships and coalitions. And finally, for the last 15 years, I have served as the Country Director for Mexico, advocating for the transformation of the current development paradigm into one that is bottom-up, integral, sustainable, led by the communities and with a gender perspective, promoting participatory local democracy, advocating on public policy, building enabling environments for the participation of civil society in Mexico, and building lasting relationships rooted in our values. Along all these years, I was blessed with wonderful, committed, and talented people who joined The Hunger Project Mexico as staff and contributed to build the organization we have today and to whom I will be forever grateful.
I am proud of what we’ve accomplished as organization over the last two decades through our relentless commitment to empowering people, strengthening their leadership and citizenship capacities towards achieving self-reliance and the right to live a dignified life in rural communities in Mexico.
At a time of great global commitment to reach zero hunger by 2030, The Hunger Project is becoming a strategic movement to leverage the many relationships we have built over the years to unite and collaborate on new levels of coordinated action to accelerate an enabling environment so that people in rural communities have the skills, voice, leadership and financial resources to achieve the changes they aspire and deserve in their lives and their communities.
Montserrat Salazar Gamboa, our current Deputy Director, will become the Country Director as of May 1. Montserrat has been with The Hunger Project Mexico since September 2018 and comes with an extensive experience of 20 years in strategic planning, sustainability practices, social enterprises, social investment, corporate social responsibility initiatives, and volunteer programs in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Previously, she was the Executive Director and founding partner of Telar Social México, worked in Reforestamos México, Pro Niños de la Calle, IMASE, Fundación Porvenir, among others, and has contributed to the work of UNESCO, UNDP, America Solidaria México and the School of Design of the National Institute of Fine Arts.
Global THP leadership, national board members and I are confident and inspired by the vision and leadership that Montserrat brings to The Hunger Project Mexico as she leads the organization moving forward into its new phase and strategy.
The Hunger Project has always been about people, and our board of directors and staff are a dynamic, powerful collective determined to evolve and strengthen the organization towards achieving social and economic justice, broaden and deepen our partnerships, and to support our work across the country.
Personally, I am looking forward to taking some much-needed time off to spend with my life partner and family. And, I plan to be available as a Senior Advisor for The Global Hunger Project and in Mexico.
My work up until now has been an amazing, rich experience and I am eager to enter a post graduate studies program to reflect on the lessons I have learned and to assess what my next leadership chapter will be.
Thank you for being an important part of my experience at The Hunger Project. I may be saying goodbye for now, but I am confident our paths will stay connected as I journey into my next leadership chapter towards contributing in having an equal, just, peaceful and democratic world.
Lorena Vázquez Ordaz
The Hunger Project Mexico