Nathalie Brindeau is Stop Hunger’s Europe director and also heads up the organization’s women empowerment projects.
Nathalie is French American and has always worked with international teams: first in operations and training for Disney (Florida and Paris), and later at Sodexo as Human Resources manager for teams in Africa, Talent Director for Remote Sites, and HR leader in Europe and North America. She also took a year off in 2000 to backpack around the world. She has always been a keen supporter in the fight against hunger. Having spent many years volunteering before joining Stop Hunger, she believes strongly in the power of education and training to transform lives.
Tell us more about your role at Stop Hunger.
Stop Hunger was created by employees of Sodexo 26 years ago and is now the company’s unique philanthropic cause. It remains a truly employee-led movement.
As zone leader for Europe, my role is to encourage teams from our founding partner, Sodexo, to participate in Stop Hunger actions. By that, I mean making sure they organize fundraising activities and food collection with NGO partners and attract as many volunteers as possible to support communities in need. It’s also my role to share best practices, encourage senior managers to lead by example, and of course track and drive our impact.
As part of my work, I also lead our focus on Women Empowerment, one of our key priorities at Stop Hunger.
Why does Stop Hunger put a strong focus on women empowerment?
It has been proven that empowering women is one of the most effective ways of eradicating hunger.
For example, almost 70% of employed women in South Asia work in agriculture, as do more than 60% of employed women in sub-Saharan Africa. But less than 20% of the world's landholders are women and women have a 27% higher chance than men of being severely food insecure.
Conversely, they are the first to lift their families and communities out of food insecurity and extreme vulnerability.
We know that providing them with training and supporting their employability can really transform their lives and that of their families.
What does Stop Hunger do to support women empowerment?
Stop Hunger has been leading women empowerment projects since 2016, and launched its global women empowerment fund in 2019. Since then, we have helped change the lives of well over 30,000 women in 32 countries. We always work in partnership with NGOs, whether this be global partners such as the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and CARE, or local charities. We provide financial support – a total of US$6.5 million in the past six years.
Crucially, we also collaborate and provide technical expertise, drawing upon the ecosystem of our founding partner, Sodexo. For example, we facilitate skills-based volunteering, sending Sodexo experts to contribute their know-how through missions which last between three days and two weeks. For example, we have had experts collaborating on the WFP School Feeding programme in Latin America, Asia and Africa, and on CARE’s nutritional monitoring work in Haiti.
Fleurette Alexis, laureate, Stop Hunger Award 2022; Nathalie Brindeau, Stop Hunger; Magali Benjamin, CARE. © Michel Richard
What do you love most about your job?
Making a difference. Supporting a family somewhere exit severe food insecurity, or helping a woman get a decent job to live a better life.
Generosity. I run into it on a daily basis in my work and this gives me hope.
I love meeting great people engaged in helping others. And I love the sense of purpose it brings to my own life. I feel my heart and brain are engaged in making our planet a better place.
What do you find most challenging?
The fight against hunger is never over. Our planet provides enough to feed everyone, but 800 million people go hungry... while at the same time we waste one third of food produced. How do we change that? Change in mentalities is a big challenge and education is key…
And then we see progress being reversed due to conflict – take what is happening in Ukraine as an example – this can be very frustrating.
What is your hope for the future?
A more sustainable future with equal treatment for all, better management of resources, and enough for everyone to eat and go to school.
What message do you have for Stop Hunger supporters?
We can help save lives, but we cannot do it alone. Every time you help us, we take a step in the right direction.
Thank you for your helping hand as a volunteer. Your energy and skills positively impact our beneficiaries. And thank you to our donors for helping us raise funds. Every Euro raised is a meal we can give someone who is hungry, or a contribution towards a training program to help them make a decent living.
So, to every Stop Hunger supporter, I would like to say thank you and let’s never give up!