Combating Food WasteThe British Government has led successful campaigns to get citizens to rethink the food they throw away. The British charity, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), works with larger businesses and local communities to use resources efficiently and sustainably. Charities like FareShare are combating food waste by redistributing food to hungry people in the U.K. For about 25 years, the organization has been keeping communities fed by providing millions of meals to those in need.

The Facts on Food Waste

Since World War I, the U.K. has struggled with food waste. The country implemented rationing methods in both World Wars to combat excess waste in times of crisis. These methods have undergone adaptation to address modern food waste issues.

Several campaigns target the impact of domestic food waste in the U.K. There has been a great success, with household waste falling 6% in a three-year span. Still, an estimated 4.5 million tons of food goes to waste. Meal planning and using food within the home reduce domestic food waste. Small and simple actions on the individual level lead to large change across the nation.

The exact amounts of waste in the food industry are not clear, however, estimates are concerning. Food services waste roughly one million tons, “equivalent to throwing away one in six meals served.” Surplus food is responsible for much of this waste. Food producers produce food in quantities too large to match consumption. Additionally, while some of the food remains edible, it may be undesirable due to its appearance. In 2018, 20-40% of supermarket produce underwent disposal for failing to meet cosmetic standards.

Food waste comes with a price tag for individual households and the food services sector. Industries lose £2 billion due to excess food. Meanwhile households, manufacturing, retail and food services waste an estimated £19 billion worth of food annually. Solving the matter of food waste is not only of humanitarian interest but of economic value too.

The Role of WRAP

WRAP came about in 2000. It has successfully brokered agreements with several industries to reduce waste, including food retail. With the United Kingdom’s population expected to grow in coming years, there will be an increased need for food, resulting in possible excess waste. WRAP’s 2025 Food Vision tackles seven aspects of food waste:

  • Food production
  • Food packaging
  • Supply chain wastage
  • Role of consumers
  • Food waste collections
  • Waste management infrastructure
  • Energy conversion

Each focus point works in tandem. Improving efforts in one sector will benefit the others. Therefore, food waste reduction initiatives must address each aspect to ensure optimal success.

WRAP works with businesses and provides a roadmap and toolkit to guide parties interested in reducing food waste. The organization encourages businesses to set a target goal for reduction, to measure appropriately and to effectively act. The initiative aims to ensure the U.K. meets its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

WRAP began the Love Food Hate Waste campaign in 2007. The campaign raises awareness and teaches simple steps to reduce waste on an individual level. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign also offers recipes to ensure that each food item goes to use.

FareShare: Combating Food Waste

The longest-running food redistribution charity in the United Kingdom, FareShare, has been giving back to communities since 1994 by ensuring that no food goes to waste. The organization solves two problems with one solution: reduce waste and solve hunger by putting surplus food to good use. Powered by volunteers and fueled by charities, FareShare has provided millions of meals to vulnerable populations.

The process is simple: retailers supply FareShare with their surplus food and FareShare redistributes the goods to local charities. FareShare supports almost a million people every week. The U.K. economy also benefits by saving £51 million each year.

FareShare does not tackle its grand mission alone. The Borgen Project spoke with James Persad of FareShare who says, “There are still tons of food going to waste, enough for millions of meals. Our mission is not possible without our partners.” Businesses both big and small have committed to the cause. Nestlé is one of FareShare’s longest ongoing partnerships. From 2005 to 2016, they redistributed “roughly six million meals worth of food” to those in need.

Efforts have led to creative innovations. One such success is FareShare Go, a service that allows local supermarkets to donate surplus food to charities through text messages. The initiative received recognition from the World Food Innovation Awards in 2018.

Addressing Dual Issues

Food redistribution efforts are successfully combating food waste. Hunger and food waste are two dire problems society faces, but thankfully, solutions have emerged that address both. These food rescue solutions combat hunger by ensuring that no food goes to waste.

Kelli Hughes
Photo: Flickr

Silk InvestSilk Invest is a private equity firm founded in 2008 that invests in emerging markets that demonstrate the potential for long-term economic growth. The largest private equity fund managed by the firm is called The Silk Africa Food Fund. Investments made from this fund target companies involved in food processing and distribution throughout Africa.

The Silk Africa Food Fund

The fund was started in June 2012 and focuses primarily on businesses that distribute food to African consumers. Countries that attract investment the most are those which are institutionally and politically stable enough to support long-term economic growth. Silk Invest is distinct from many other foreign investment funds that support the effort to reduce hunger in Africa in that it does not target agriculture but rather the distribution of food to consumers.

The three largest investments the fund is involved with are Nigeria’s Sundry Foods Limited, Ethiopia’s Nas Foods Plc and Egypt’s El Rashidy El Asly. Of these three, Nigeria’s Sundry has seen the most significant success and expansion following its partnership with Silk Invest.

The Success of Sundry Foods Limited

The company runs the popular restaurant chain, Kilimanjaro, as well as bakery and food catering services throughout the country. When Silk Invest first gave funds to Sundry in 2012, the company had seven restaurants open and a revenue base of around $3.4 million. In 2020, just eight years later, Sundry has 40 restaurants and a revenue base of around $34 million. The entrepreneurial effort of the company’s founder, Ebele Enunwa, has been instrumental in this progress.

Sundry is a company firmly rooted in supporting its fellow local businesses. Instead of setting up in the more commercial capital of Lagos, Enunwa established headquarters in Port Harcourt where he is a local entrepreneur. Its management team consists of local hires and its supply chain uses locally sourced raw materials, including chicken and rice from rural areas.

Sundry’s Impact and Potential

Sundry Foods Limited represents an example of the enormous potential which exists for businesses in developing nations when the proper investment is made. By providing capital to Sundry, Silk Invest gave the company the tools it needed to expand its operation. By doing so, Sundry has not only offered an improved service to consumers throughout Nigeria but has also stimulated its broader community’s own economy by maintaining a steady and even increasing demand for local products.

The impact made by Sundry’s growth is palpable. Over the last 10 years, the company has created over 2,000 jobs. Silk Invest’s Africa Food Fund is hugely impactful in the effort to reduce poverty in developing nations not only because of the direct benefit the invested capital provides to individual businesses but also because of the economic growth created in broader communities as an indirect result.

The Importance of Investing in Africa

This impressive progress was all stimulated by a $2.4 million investment. The high return for Silk Invest demonstrates that funding businesses in developing countries is not only beneficial to the growth and development of those businesses but is also a practical and sound investment for the firms offering the capital.

Investing in the effort to reduce world hunger presents impactful and beneficial opportunities for all parties involved. By establishing the Africa Food Fund, Silk Invest has committed itself to this effort while simultaneously supporting developing economies.

– Haroun Siddiqui
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in Kenya
Charitable organizations and the Kenyan government have long recognized child poverty as a dire issue. Due to this recognition, Kenyan child poverty rates have steadily reduced since 2008. Meanwhile, governmental policies and constitutional highlights, along with funding and research headed by establishments like UNICEF, have improved the lives of countless children within Kenyan communities. UNICEF has conducted extensive research on the main causes of child poverty in Kenya. Its hope is that this research will be a basis for a change in child poverty reduction. Here are some of the main contributors that UNICEF has identified as factors relating to child poverty rates in Kenya.

4 Major Definers of Child Poverty in Kenya

  1. Poor Sanitation: Children living in Kenya often do not have access to proper plumbing facilities. Over half of individuals under 18 still lack this basic resource.
  2. Lack of Clean Water: Children, especially those living in rural areas, have a lack of access to water that is clean enough to drink. There are also many schools throughout Kenya that do not have drinking water for their students, which creates a high health risk.
  3. Lack of Education: Around 25% of the children living in Kenya have not been able to gain a decent education as of 2014. Along with this, many children who were attending school were in a class at the wrong learning level.
  4. Insufficient Housing: Many children in Kenya live in housing that has no insulation or ventilation. Lack of ventilation, in particular, can cause harmful air pollution sourced from cooking appliances.

The Basic Education Act

The government of Kenya has fulfilled many efforts to help with the eradication of child poverty over the years. The 2010 Kenyan Constitution made a point to emphasize that children have the right to basic needs including shelter, health care and food. It further stated that children should have access to free education at the basic level. Since 2010, the Kenyan government endorsed programs along with the passing of the Basic Education Act in 2013, ensuring that educational equality will truly occur within the country. Due to this emphasis, the number of educated children rose 11% by the year 2014.

The Food and Nutrition Policy

In 2011, the Food and Nutrition Policy emerged in Kenya with the objective of creating food equity for all citizens. This policy has helped improve food access within the country by making it more abundant and making sure that Kenyan citizens received education about proper food consumption. For infants, the nutrition policy targeted the reduction of women’s workload so that they could be more available to breastfeed their children. Breast milk substitutes also experienced more marketing because of this policy. For children in school, the 2011 policy ensured that government-run educational facilities provided meals and integrated them into school days. This policy also established programs for young women in need of nutrient supplementation before pregnancy.

Kenya’s National Nutrition Action Plan

Kenya’s National Nutrition Action Plan occurred from 2012 to 2017. This plan focused on the education of governmental policymakers by emphasizing the correlation between food security and the many factors that contribute to child poverty in Kenya. It also highlighted nutrition as a fundamental and constitutional human right.

One key initiative that the National Nutrition Plan promoted was the increased awareness of the benefits of lobbying for greater nutritional funding. This plan included 11 key elements, all of which highlighted the improvement of nutritional status and education on proper nutrition for women and children in Kenya. This plan further ensured that each of its key elements received implementation and support through various agencies, with government planning and budgeting processes accounting for each agency. A result of these implemented strategies included a raise from 39% to 67% of children eating three or more food groups in a day.

Save the Children’s Efforts

Save the Children is a program that has worked toward the direct relief of child poverty in Kenya since around 1950. Along with a variety of resources providing services, this organization has worked to establish and grow women and youth programs in Kenya. These programs directly improve income within households, job prospects for children’s futures and overall nutrition in children. Save the Children has also worked to help improve livestock conditions. The prosperity of livestock has a large correlation with sustainable incomes for many households in Kenya. These households have thus been able to provide stability for their developing children.

Sustainable Development Objectives

While a lot of work has already occurred to help solve child poverty in Kenya, organizations like the UN are working to support 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to help eradicate almost all child resource injustices by 2030. Most of the UN’s funding is going towards a movement towards ending hunger/poverty while providing a decent health care system for all citizens. Through the utilization of the strengths of many countries and their leaders, the UN is hopeful that it will be able to tackle its goal of making Kenya a more holistic country in which to grow.

– Olivia Bay
Photo: Flickr

Use of Chemical Pesticides
Despite their effectiveness in killing specific pests, historic incidents and unknowns related to chemical pesticides have led to public health concerns. Fears that people could be at risk if they consume food treated with chemical pesticides do have a foundation. Pesticides have been found to partially cause neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s Disease, among other maladies. Chemical pesticides cannot choose which organisms they kill, which can lead to raised ecosystem contamination and toxicity. Not all chemical pesticides directly harm humans. However, evidence of those that do, along with evidence for unintended ecological damage, led to efforts to reduce the use of chemical pesticides.

Neem as an Alternative

One of the most concerning side-effects of the use of chemical pesticides is their effect on bee populations. Bees are vital to crop pollination and indirectly help create much of the food that humans eat. Pesticide use is a primary cause of the current decline in beehive populations. American and European beekeepers report this is at around 30% per year.  Bee population decline contributes to food scarcity and poverty. When food becomes more scarce, prices rise and more people go hungry. Current conditions necessitate implementing an alternative to chemical pesticides that is safe for humans, certain insects and plants.

New research points to naturally derived pesticides as possibly safer and less damaging to the environment. Currently, the most promising natural solution is neem oil. Neem oil is an organic, naturally-derived substance from the Neem tree. The tree grows primarily in tropical regions. These areas tend to be most affected by insect infestations and represent some of the poorest areas in the world.

Neem oil use is not a new phenomenon. Traditional Indian farming methods practiced for thousands of years, and even folk medicines incorporate neem usage. It is effective at reducing specific insect populations while having minimal noted negative effects on beneficial insects like bees and worms. A number of agricultural companies have begun using neem in their products, and its use is only expected to grow as its efficacy is increasingly verified.

Outbreak and Application in Africa

In early 2020, East Africa faced its worst locust outbreak in decades. Swarms devoured hundreds of thousands of acres, fostering hunger and fear in local communities. Millions of people became more food insecure and the use of chemical pesticides became less viable. The COVID-19 pandemic upset the global chemical supply chain, which seems to have inhibited governments from receiving the large quantities of pesticides needed to make an impact against the locust invasion.

In response, some farmers in Kenya began making their own neem oil to push back against locust invasions. Neem oil can weaken locusts’ reproductive ability and potentially kill them, which reduces the current and future populations. While it was too late to make a big impact against the swarms, individual farmers protected their crops. If enough farmers learn to make their own oil in the future, or if it is produced cheaply on a large scale, Kenya could have an effective, safe defense against locust invasions. Other countries in the region also afflicted by locust swarms stand to benefit from looking to Kenya as an example.

Potential for Future Practices

Chemical pesticide use is harmful to the environment and can create bad health outcomes for some people. Industrial use of neem oil instead of chemical pesticides could improve health conditions worldwide and protect ecosystems. On a smaller scale, it could protect the economic interests of poor farmers and people at risk of starvation. People may also be more accepting of the use of growable, natural pesticides over the use of chemical ones. Locally-made neem oil also mitigates environmental pollution. This puts more power into the hands of individual farmers. Though natural pesticide solutions require more research, they represent critical development in the future of agricultural pesticides.

Jeff Keare
Photo: Unsplash

Snack Against Hunger and PovertyPeople can often feel hopeless nowadays when addressing global poverty and hunger on a personal level. One can only donate so many times before it feels pointless. For decades there was a decrease in poverty and hunger all around the world. However, with the pandemic in full force, the numbers are once again increasing.

So what should can each individual consumer do to help those in need and bring these statistics down? They must change daily patterns, so nearly all of their “normal” actions start benefitting someone else. One way is to switch up the food consumers eat. Many brands in a variety of food categories use their profits to fight global poverty and hunger. Switching to one of these brands allows people to effectively snack against hunger and poverty. Below are just a few of the brands aiding in poverty and hunger-reduction.

1. Bobo’s

Bobo’s donates their profits from selling oat-based products to eight organizations. Two of the organizations focus on food security in the U.S. (Community Food Share and Conscious Alliance), and one nonprofit provides housing for low-income families (Habitat for Humanity). Get in a dose of nutritious oats to snack against hunger and poverty.

2. This Saves Lives

This Saves Lives has something for everyone. They have 10 different flavor options, a variety of kid’s options and five types of crispy treats. For each purchase, This Saves Lives provides a calorie-dense packet of paste filled with nutrients to a child in need. So far, over 24 million packets have been sent out!

3. Barnana

Barnana is a company that produces plantain-based chips in normal chip form, tortilla style and flavor bites. All consumers can find a chip that will satisfy whether that’s salty or sweet. The plantains used for the chips are upcycled from those that were deemed not perfect enough for mainstream market standards. By upcycling the produce, Barnana fights food waste and secures extra income for small scale farmers that depend on every sale.

4. Project 7

Project 7 is a healthy candy brand that makes gummies, lollipops and everything in between. They partner with nonprofits to help the seven areas of need: healing, saving, housing, food, drink, teaching and hope. Make chewing a life-giving activity and snack against hunger and poverty.

5. Beanfields

Beanfields is another company that creates chips both sweet and salty, similar to Barnana. The company — centered in a kitchen and not a boardroom — cooks up a variety of bean-based tortilla chips and cracklings. They get creative by producing an environment-conscious snack while also supporting people in need. Beanfields partners with Homeboy Industries, an organization that helps ex-gang members find peace and stability in their new lives. Homeboy Industries partners with many nonprofits fighting hunger and poverty that provide ex-offenders jobs and a sense of community.

Buying snacks and snacking are often mindless activities. Helping people should have that same ease and it does. Yet, it often falls on the back burner and gets forgotten. Buying from companies donating to those in need is one easy solution. People can enjoy their favorite foods in a more effective way. Why just snack when one can snack against hunger and poverty?

Anna Synakh
Photo: Flickr

African Vegetable StaplesAfrica has millions of hectares of viable land for large-scale agricultural operations. Many large regions of Africa are the last locations on the planet with large plots of land rich in soil nutrients and water sufficiency. New government infrastructure, a global investment and advanced technology has allowed sub-Saharan African farmers to raise crop yield. The agriculture industry is the most viable way to feed families on a small scale in villages. African vegetable staples are important as they are the bulk of the famous nutritional African diet.

Approximately 65% of the African labor force involves itself in agriculture, with the agriculture industry accounting for 32% of the region’s GDP. Governments have attempted to increase crop yield by utilizing agriculture marketing boards in order to provide more stable and standardized prices, credit extension services, technology and improved seeds. Additionally, more companies in the private sector have improved rural marketing and supply lines. These advances in extension services improve land and water management, introduce new farming techniques and provide new, efficient technology.

Essential African Vegetable Staples

Essential African vegetable staples include yams, green bananas, plantains and cassava. There are a plethora of different and unique ways of preparing dishes particular to each region and culture. Vegetables such as beans and lentils accompany almost every meal in order to provide a balanced nutritious diet. People in Africa consider meat a side dish rather than the main dish, and vegetables the main dish. Typical African vegetable staples specific to a region are dependent on the location, land viability, soil richness and water availability. Rice is more common where there is more water whereas cash crops such as groundnut are common in every household.

Many African staple foods provide a base diet for African families. African vegetable staples provide the necessary proteins, vitamins and nutrients that combat the alarming, wide-scale malnutrition issues that run rampant in many small villages that are not connected to large cities. With no access to large-scale trade or industrial resources, villagers take care of each other with personal farms. Additionally, many African vegetables also double as medicinal uses as well, allowing improved community health and nutrition.

Many staple meals accompany African’s rich variety of culture and history. The thousands of various African cultures utilize varieties of spices to prepare the same ingredient to uphold their respective traditional values and ideas. Diverse food choices are unique in each region and can range from fermented beans, sweet potato greens, teff and varieties of dumplings, to corn-based porridges, millet, kenkey, fontou and fonio. The diverse sets of languages within each region also have their own unique menus specific to their culture and certain traditions.

Case Study: The Democratic Republic of Congo

Vegetables grown in the DRC include peanuts, yams, beans, peas and maize. The political instability of the DRC has led to problems of malnutrition and lack of food access for millions of people. However, vegetables are used as an efficient solution because of the mass remote lands DRC controls for horticulture. The agriculture industry supports more than half of the DRC population. Although farming provides less than 10% of DRC’s GDP, land use is minimal to only 3.5% of DRC’s land and accounts for over 50 tons of subsistence foodstuffs.

What Next?

African vegetables have been the bulk of the African diet for millennia. Not only is it an efficient and effective way of utilizing rich soil and plentiful land on the continent, but it is also one of the most viable ways to aid the economy while doing so. Vegetables in Africa are the staple food not just for the famous nutritious diets, but also because they are an important characteristic of African identity and culture. Many African recipes eaten today have passed down generation after generation in an effort to maintain and uphold tradition. The African vegetable staples are one of the most unique characteristics of African culture and are a testament to their devotion to their diverse ideas and traditions.

Aria Ma
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Iceland
Iceland is a Nordic island nation in the Atlantic Ocean. It has a population of approximately 364,134. Furthermore, the majority of the population lives in the capital city, Reykjavik. Iceland is a member of the European Union and many know it for its rocky, volcanic landscapes. As the nation is an island, Iceland must import and produce enough food to support its population. While Iceland receives the majority of its food as imports, it also has a thriving fishing industry. In addition, it has one the lowest hunger rates in the world. Here are five facts about hunger in Iceland and ways the nation is maintaining such low hunger rates.

Natural Disasters

While Iceland imports most of its food, its local fishing industry provides food for both locals and exports. Only 2.5% of the nation’s population faces hunger. Fortunately, this number has not changed since 2000. In addition, natural disasters are the main cause of food insecurity in the country. Natural disasters affect Iceland’s farmable land and interrupt the island’s ability to import and export food.

Government Action

Iceland has taken a stance on fighting world hunger. In 2013, the former President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson stated that the best way to fight world hunger is to “preserve what we already catch, raise and grow, rather than increasing production.” As a result, now Iceland is preserving its fish through geothermal heat, rather than drying it outside as it formerly did.

Food Preservation

Iceland preserves its food effectively. Furthermore, it exports the food it produces to countries struggling with higher rates of hunger. Iceland freezes fish and meat to preserve food. However, many countries lack the electricity to keep products frozen. As a result, former President Grímsson advocates for the drying of food products because this method of preservation does not require electricity. Food preservation has not only helped reduce hunger of struggling countries, but it has aided the economy. The imported food makes up a portion of the food sold and distributed in local marketplaces.

Imports and Exports

Iceland relies heavily on imported food. Thus, a danger exists that the country will face higher hunger rates if its methods of import experience obstruction. Many suggest Iceland keep stocks and stores of preserved food to counter this. However, the nation has not taken any steps or implemented any such measures. The government exports most of its preserved food instead.

Ending World Hunger

Iceland partnered with United Food Nations Program (UFNP) in 2016 and committed to ending world hunger by the year 2030. This agreement states that Iceland will provide funds for the UFNP that are not specifically designated to one specific country.

Iceland’s ability to feed its population depends on its ability to import food and supplement food with locally sourced food. As a result, Iceland does not sufficiently stock and store preserved food. The nation is vulnerable to hunger if a natural disaster were to occur. Iceland also works to end global hunger. In addition, Iceland achieves this by promoting the preservation of food rather than increasing the production of food. Also, it has partnered with UNFP to provide funds to countries struggling with hunger. Although there are many issues surrounding hunger in Iceland, the nation is taking steps in the right direction.

Elizabeth Meyer
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Eradication in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is one of the most well-known and most visited countries internationally for tourists in the Caribbean. Although it is a rich area for tourists to travel, the poverty rate remains a major issue. Located in rural areas are many families who do not have proper schooling. They also do not have proper healthcare systems or access to basic sanitation and clean water. In 2018, the poverty rate for the Dominican Republic was 13.80%, a 2.1% decline from 2017. Meanwhile, 13.80% of the population in the Dominican Republic are unable to provide the basic needs for their families or loved ones. This country is still struggling and battling poverty. However, there are many efforts taking place to increase poverty eradication in the Dominican Republic.

Cross Catholic Outreach

Cross Catholic Outreach is a ministry that serves the poor globally by mobilizing churches and individuals to break the cycle of poverty. This organization helps to provide basic needs, such as food, clean water, education, medical support and more. These provisions go to the poorest countries around the globe. In rural areas, new homes are being built, providing safe and sustainable dwelling places for many families by Cross Catholic Outreach. These homes are now able to provide safe spaces and clean areas. As a result, families living in these homes can focus more on providing proper education for their children and seeking the medical care they need. As of 2019, 24 homes underwent construction with three water systems finished.

In addition, the Project, which the Cross Catholic Outreach ministry created, has provided new clean water systems. These systems have a mixture of gravity, electric and solar power to collect clean water. The water distributes to local homes, decreasing the number of waterborne illnesses and other diseases. With this strategy, The Project plans on having a total of six clean water systems that local brigades will construct within the Dominican Republic.

Food for Poor

Additionally, Food for Poor (FFP) is a nonprofit Christian organization. It provides supplies that include medicine, food and other necessities. In 2019, this organization shipped a 50 tractor-trailer cargo of supplies. The supplies contained food, medicine, healthcare and educational resources to the Dominican Republic. FFP built more than 1,500 homes and has assembled over 40 water projects. This organization continues to aid the poverty eradication in the Dominican Republic by initiating community development projects. These projects provide clinics, housing, agriculture, women’s vocational training projects and more.

The Social Protection Investment Project

The Social Protection Investment Project aims to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection in the Dominican Republic. The goal of this project was to enhance and improve educational and health investments to the poorest of people living in the Dominican Republic. Its goal was also to provide identification documents to unidentified Dominicans. The approach that this project took had to do with seeking out poor, undocumented Dominicans to direct them in securing identification documents. With families and individuals living in poverty being registered and identified, they will benefit from programs that aid poverty-stricken Dominicans. This should also lead them to securing educational and health investments.

Furthermore, the Social Protection Investment Project has met many of its goals. The percentage of households living in poverty that were lacking identification documents has reduced from 28% in 2005 to 7% in 2016. In 2012, the poverty status of registered households living in poverty was all certified for participation in programs that include the cash transfer program.

Overall, programs along with organizations are aiding poverty eradication in the Dominican Republic. They build new homes, implement clean water systems and provide necessities. Organizations are continuing to lend a helping hand all while thinking of new strategies to increase poverty eradication in the Dominican Republic.

– Kendra Anderson
Photo: Unsplash

Poverty Eradication in Iceland
With a population of 341,741 people and poverty rates rising, Iceland has continued its trend of incorporating old and innovative solutions to eradicate poverty. Valdimar Svavarsson, the manager of the Christian nonprofit organization Samhjalp in Iceland, told The Borgen Project that “Iceland is overall considered to be among the best places to live in the world in terms of quality of life.” However, the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened that quality of life significantly. Several innovations in poverty eradication in Iceland, such as welfare centers, government programs and other new ideas have emerged as the pandemic has increased the unemployment rate in Iceland.

Lowering Unemployment and the Department of Welfare

Iceland has been working towards reducing its unemployment and poverty rate by initiating welfare centers. Six welfare service centers are in Reykjavik, and they help Icelandic citizens access services related to Icelandic schools, financial support, counseling and more.

The Department of Welfare for Reykjavik, Iceland coordinates a variety of projects and events to help with poverty-related issues in Iceland with the core values of welfare, respect and activity in mind for people who request help. It mainly focuses on projects involving financial assistance, child protection and social housing programs, which all help with Icelandic low-income households. In particular, the financial assistance department of the Department of Welfare works to help unemployed citizens and families in Iceland through a simple application process. The application process requires that citizens search for employment. However, citizens can appeal the results of their applications if they receive a denial.

Homelessness and Limited Housing

The capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik, last reported that 360 people were homeless at the end of 2017. In an interview with The Borgen Project, Vilborg Oddsodottir, the Head of the Domestic Department of the Icelandic Church Aid Group, said that “there is a low-income housing company in Iceland right now” to help deal with the high housing prices in Iceland.

Solutions to Reducing Child Poverty in Iceland

Another innovation in poverty eradication is how Iceland has been working toward eliminating child poverty in the country. In fact, it ranks at the top for children’s rights. As of the latest report in 2015, the child poverty rate in Iceland was on the lower end of approximately 5% based on their families’ income levels prior to the pandemic.

The Icelandic Church Aid Group formed in 1970 and is better known as the Church Relief Society. The Church Relief Society partnered with Iceland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church for an innovative poverty solution that gives educational supplies to lower-income families across Iceland through an application process starting in late August 2020. The new initiative entitled “No Child Left Out” wants to make sure students are not experiencing social isolation based on their family’s financial situation. Vilborg Oddsodottir advised The Borgen Project thateducation is the best way out of poverty, and we have to maintain respect for all kinds of education” available to students in Iceland. In 2020, the Icelandic Church Aid Group helped approximately 30,000 children in Iceland according to Oddsodottir.

How Iceland enacted Innovative Testing Procedures and Government Aid during COVID-19

Only 5.4% of Iceland’s citizens were living below the poverty line in 2015. One of the major causes of poverty in Iceland is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused unemployment rates to skyrocket even as the country implemented innovations in COVID-19 protection early on. In the past few months, Iceland was able to test any citizen requesting a test and automatically isolate infected citizens from the public as most businesses remained open. Due to these innovative precautions, Iceland was able to reopen to tourists as early as June 15, 2020, and even implemented the requirement of testing each tourist.

After most of the Icelandic public received COVID-19 tests, the citizens were able to view their results using an innovative contact tracing application to prevent an outbreak. Even with precautions, Vilborg Oddsodottir has seen that “COVID has affected us a lot because now we have nearly 9% unemployment in Iceland. Even in our bank crisis, we have not seen unemployment like we have now.” The Icelandic government’s innovative support system is addressing the increased unemployment rate. The unemployment benefits stated that people would receive some of their salary based on the amount of part-time work they had with their company until September 30, 2020.

Food Aid

The Iceland Family Aid program has been working towards helping low-income families across Iceland since its founding in 2003. The organization is accepting food donations every month at its only two locations in Reykjavik and Reykjanesbaer. The way for the food undergoes distribution across Iceland is through an online registration process that delivers the food to low-income residents once a month, providing aid to various families and people living in poverty and aiding in poverty eradication in Iceland.

With the reduction in tourism and increasing unemployment rates due to COVID-19, Valdimar Svavarsson has found that “at the moment, the government is doing many things to support the growing group that is now facing unemployment.” The current innovative solutions and input of the Icelandic government should help the country bounce back from high unemployment rates while helping low-income citizens.

– Evan Winslow
Photo: Flickr

Food Waste Around the World
As the global population continues to grow, the demand for food also grows. The solution to this problem is not to produce more food but rather to waste less food. Globally, about one-third of food that people produce for human consumption goes to waste, which is about 1.3 billion tons. This number includes 45% of all fruits and vegetables, 35% of seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat. Unsurprisingly, studies have repeatedly shown that developed countries, on average, waste more food than developing ones. Read on to learn about food waste around the world.

Food Waste Culprits in the Developed World

The United States and Australia are the two countries that produce the most food waste in the world. In 2010, around 133 billion pounds of food went to waste in the U.S., which is $161 billion worth of food. In 2015, the USDA and EPA joined together to set a goal of cutting food waste by 50% by 2050. Despite that goal, the U.S. continues to waste about 30% to 40% of its food supply each year.

Every year in Australia, about 7.3 million tons of food goes to waste. Australia’s food waste per person is around 300 kg. Australia’s food waste costs the country’s economy an estimated $20 billion each year. As a result, the Australian government set a goal to halve its food waste by 2030.

These two countries contribute massive amounts of food waste around the world despite having the wealth to address the issue.

Food Waste Champions in the Developed World

Greece and China are the most efficient countries when it comes to limiting food waste around the world. Columbia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and France are not far behind them in terms of how other developed countries rank. The scale and reach of governmental actions to address the issue separate these countries from the U.S. and Australia in the fight against food waste.

In 2017, the Sustainable Food Movement emerged out of Athens. Greece’s immense success today results from people taking this initiative seriously and enforcing it with fervor. The country went from producing an average amount of food waste to being the most food efficient country in the world. It accomplished this feat in just three years.

Greece sets an example for the rest of the world. It proves other places could implement similar initiatives to diminish food waste around the world.

Food Waste in the Developing World

Affluent countries have the means to significantly lower their food waste. However, developing countries tend to outperform many developed countries in this particular arena. India and Brazil are two examples of developing countries displaying some of the lowest food waste levels in the world. Each year, Brazil produces almost 15 million kg of waste nationally and 71 kg per person.

Meanwhile, India wastes up to 40% of its food each year. India has one of the highest rates of food waste nationally at nearly 68 million kg. Yet, its food waste per person is quite low at 51 kg per year. To note, India’s population is nearly 1.4 billion people, showing that a gap exists between its national and personal food waste statistics.

An important distinction between developed and developing countries is the stage that people are most likely to waste food. In developed countries, the individual consumer level is where most food waste occurs. This is due to the average citizen’s ability to buy more than enough food for their family. In developing countries, the most wasteful stage of food production happens in the earliest stages of distribution. Poor infrastructure and inadequate food storage vessels contribute to the most food waste in these countries. In fact, much of the food is wasted before it ever reaches the consumer.

Food for Thought

The global population is about 7.6 billion, and 925 million of those people are starving. The amount of food wasted globally each year is enough food to feed 3 billion people. In other words, the world has more than enough food to feed the planet, but there is a huge issue of food distribution.

By 2050, estimates have determined that the global population will become around 9 billion. This means that food production will have to increase by 70% to keep up with the world’s current path. That is a near-impossible task to accomplish. It would be more efficient to refocus efforts on limiting food waste overall.

Food waste around the world is an issue that some countries have chosen to tackle with great success while other countries falter. The future of the world population depends on all countries working to decrease food waste.

A Helping Hand

Hands for Hunger, an NGO based in the Bahamas, is making significant progress in the pervasive issue of worldwide food waste. A group of students realized that restaurants and hotels throw an immense amount of unspoiled food away every day. As a result, they set out to change that.

Hands for Hunger focuses on obtaining this typically discarded food and redistributing it to the less fortunate. In addition, it educates the public on the issue itself and solutions. The organization serves around 15,000 meals to Bahamians each week by redistributing restaurant and hotel food to its 17 outreach agencies. It delivers around 4,530 pounds of food to Bahamians in need every week.

Hands for Hunger has rescued over 1 million pounds of fresh food. Through its recovery efforts, the organization is able to donate quality food to those in need. Almost 50% of all food donations in 2017 were high-need items such as dairy, proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables. Hands for Hunger is just one of many NGOs doing fantastic work to decrease food waste around the world. While food waste is a problem, it has an attainable and feasible solution.

Natalie Tarbox
Photo: Pixabay