We are super excited to begin a 6-month pilot project in Okinawa City this month. The goal of this project is counterintuitive, but reflects our core values. We are going to demonstrate that our current level of food assistance does not have meaningful impact on households or communities we serve in Okinawa Prefecture. While data exists concerning relative poverty in Japan, there is no comprehensive data on who is food insecure or even the impact food assistance, which means the extent of the problem and current responses are not clear to stakeholders. We are focused on food insecurity in Okinawa Prefecture because the relative poverty rate of 30% is nearly twice the national average.
This counter-intuitive approach represents a core value we have of critically assessing our work and its impact. While it is true we are able to reach 10,000 households in six days as we did in December 2021, we cannot say this support had meaningful impact. Yes, we have loads of letters and messages from recipient households thanking us for our support. However, this is not the same as having meaningful impact. This is what we are committed to determining: “What level of assistance is necessary for it to be truly meaningful?”
This is a challenging project because it means finding households willing to participate but also collecting useful data. This is just the first phase of an 18-month project that will eventually reach 3,000 households.
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