Marcus Rashford's CampaignMany know Marcus Rashford for his role on the soccer field as a player for the famous Manchester United team. However, Rashford is also an activist in the fight against child poverty in the United Kingdom. With 22% of adults and 30% of children in Britain living in poverty, this is an important issue, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coming from a background of poverty himself, Marcus Rashford’s campaign gives a voice to the impoverished youth.

Marcus Rashford’s Campaign Combats Child Hunger

One of Rashford’s most significant passions is combating child hunger. In June 2020, during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the soccer star launched a campaign asking the government to continue using food vouchers for students during summer vacations. For many impoverished children, school lunches are a necessary resource to receive proper daily nutrition. Rashford’s campaign provided vouchers to underprivileged families, allowing children and families to access school lunches and groceries during the summer. Additionally, he raised £20 million with FareShare, a U.K. organization that has provided 131.9 million meals to charities and vulnerable people.

The public has shown strong support for Rashford’s campaign. During his initial campaign, the government rejected his ideas. However, the people rallied in his support, causing the government to backtrack, providing 1.3 million students with meal vouchers for a six-week summer break period. His October 2020 petition calling for the government to extend free school meals to other vacations and expand eligibility garnered more than 500,000 signatures. Although this request was not successful, local businesses followed with their support, even businesses that the pandemic hit hard. Additionally, Rashford used his Twitter account, with more than 3.5 million followers, as a directory of food banks, providing valuable information for those the government denied food.

Educational Resources

Along with his work against child hunger, Rashford also works to provide underprivileged children with educational resources. Rashford has said he only properly started reading books for leisure at age 17 because his family never had the budget for it. After learning that more than 380,000 children in the U.K. never owned books of their own, Rashford sought to change that. In the fall of 2020, he launched a book club with Macmillian’s Children’s Books to provide books to children. Through Marcus Rashford’s campaign, thousands of children now have access to a new hobby that they previously viewed as a privilege.

In May 2021, the Sunday Times Giving List notably recognized Rashford as the youngest person to top its list of British philanthropists. This accolade was due to Rashford’s generous donations to various food, poverty and community charities. The soccer player has raised more than £20 million in donations, putting his “Giving Index” rating at 125%; his wealth is £16 million. Due to the additional waves of COVID-19, there is a high demand for donations.

Rashford has proven himself to be a valuable contributor both on and off the field. Through his hard work and dedication, millions of children across the U.K. have had access to food and books. With his substantial passion, Rashford shows no signs of slowing down in his philanthropic efforts.

– Carly Johnson
Photo: Flickr

Rescued Food Market
According to the United Nations, almost half of all fruits and vegetables produced worldwide go to waste. The world’s total wasted food “is enough to feed about three billion people.” In the city of Vancouver in Canada, food waste is a rising issue along with food insecurity. The Rescued Food Market aims to tackle hunger and food waste at the same time.

Food Waste in Canada

In Canada, about $30 billion worth of food goes to waste annually. As a consequence of this food waste, Canada is responsible for a significant carbon footprint of “56.6 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions.” Yet, in Canada alone, roughly $49.5 billion worth of “food waste can be avoided by taking specific measures.” According to the Food Stash Foundation, every one in six children in British Columbia goes hungry. With less food wastage, “consumers and society at large will be able to save money, support efficiency in the food and agriculture sector, improve food security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Rescued Food Market

A local Vancouver market seeks to aid in the fight against hunger by reducing food waste. Launched in October 2021, the Rescued Food Market is open every Friday to people from every income background. The market is the product of a larger organization that David Schein started in 2016 called the Food Stash Foundation. Rescued Food Market’s webpage describes the market as “a zero-waste grocery store that is stocked with nutritious surplus food from farms, grocers and wholesalers.”

Before the Rescued Food Market’s opening on October 1, 2021, the Food Stash Foundation collected surplus food and delivered it to charities and households in need. The Rescued Food Market itself operates through a “pay what you feel” policy and only asks shoppers to bring reusable bags to collect the food. By using the terms “pay what you feel” instead of “pay what you can,” the market aims “to eliminate any shame associated with not being able to afford the rising cost of food.”

The Success of the Market

Carla Pellegrini, the current executive for Food Stash Foundation, told Good News Network (GNN) that the Rescued Food Market aims to assist the Food Stash Foundation in distributing roughly 70,000 pounds of surplus food that the organization collects monthly. About “85% of that 70,000 pounds of food doesn’t even make it back to our warehouse, it goes right back out the same day with our drivers to other organizations,” Pellegrini tells GNN. However, at the end of a week, the organization still sometimes has surplus food that needs distributing. The Rescued Food Market assists in this regard.

In June 2021 alone, the Food Stash Foundation rescued more than 74,000 pounds of perishable foods, which, in turn, prevented almost 64,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. The overwhelming success of this food redistribution initiative not only helps protect the environment but also instills a sense of mindfulness on a local, community-based level through the Rescued Food Market.

Worldwide Communal Markets

Besides relying on the Food Stash Foundation’s surplus of food received from farms and grocers alike, the Rescued Food Market also encourages families in Vancouver to donate food that will otherwise go to waste. Indeed, community markets and fridges, as indicated by Katherine Oung in her article “Community fridges are lifelines for the neighborhoods they serve,” are especially crucial in areas “where traditional forms of food assistance are difficult to access.” Low-income families without cars, for example, would have an easier means of acquiring food at a community market than at a more remote food bank location. Community fridges are located throughout the world.

The Rescued Food Market brings to the forefront an innovative way to combat two issues at once. Reducing food waste is a significant step in fighting a more extensive, prevalent world injustice.

– Maia Nuñez
Photo: Flickr

Moving Toward Veganism
In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger, aims to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” for all people by 2030. However, the world is not on track to achieve this goal. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), in 2019, 821 million global citizens, equivalent to “more than one in nine” people, suffered from hunger. In a world that already produces enough food to feed 10 billion people, 3 billion more than the current global population, many wonder how this is possible. The answer has to do with existing diets and food waste. In particular, moving toward veganism has the potential to end world hunger.

Plant Agriculture as a More Sustainable Alternative

Currently, close to 50% of the world’s land goes toward food production and farmers use 83% of this land exclusively for animal agriculture, which is responsible for 44% of all harvested crop losses. Animals farmed for meat and dairy “consume five times as much food as all human beings” and have incredibly low conversion efficiencies. It takes about 13-20 pounds of grain to produce a single extra pound of beef. About 36% of the total crop calories that farmers produce globally act as food for farmed animals and humans eventually consume just “12% of those calories” in the final meat product. Animal agriculture also drains the world’s fresh water supply. Producing 1 kilogram of bovine meat requires 15,415 liters of water compared with 322 liters of water per kilogram of vegetables.

As the world population grows to a projected 9.7 billion by 2050, animal agriculture will become increasingly unsustainable. If agriculture does not change, feeding the world’s population will require “a 119% increase in edible crops grown by 2050.” Growing more crops will also increase the need for arable land, leading to more deforestation. Meat consumption already contributes “more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined.” Increased greenhouse gas emissions coupled with increased deforestation could exacerbate changing weather.

Animal Agriculture Aggravates Extreme Weather Conditions

According to Sentient Media, changing weather is a “threat multiplier.” It exacerbates pressures like natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, which cause hunger by decreasing crop yields and increasing food loss. Changing weather may also affect the types of crops that can grow in certain regions. This is especially problematic in regions that depend on specific weather conditions to grow their staple crops, such as Africa, where most crops require a certain amount of rainfall. Without the right conditions, subsistence farmers and their families will suffer and people unable to pay the increased prices for scarce crops will fall into food insecurity.

Moving Toward Veganism

Many organizations are working to alleviate world hunger and scientists are developing GMOs to fight malnourishment. However, some entities are only addressing surface-level problems. In order to address the causes of world hunger, the United Nations (U.N.) is calling for a global effort involving deep, systematic transformations in agriculture and food systems worldwide.

One transformation that may help end world hunger is shifting consumer demands toward a vegan diet. By consuming crop calories directly from the plant source, people can avoid the loss of two-thirds of potential calories. According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, if U.S. farmers used all the land currently devoted to animal agriculture to grow plant crops instead, they could double the number of people sustained, feeding an additional 390 million people.

While a vegan diet is the most sustainable, vegetarian and plant-based diets also contribute to ending world hunger. These diets all use fewer resources and contribute less to the harmful effects of changing climate than meat-heavy diets do. Eating meat just once a week instead of four times a week “would reduce commodity prices as less grain would go to feed animals, making food cheaper for the urban poor,” said Michael Obersteiner of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Plant-Based Diets Worldwide

While switching to a plant-based diet may cause concerns of possible undernutrition, animal intermediaries are not necessary for humans to experience full nourishment. On the other hand, it is possible to eat a meat-inclusive diet and still suffer from malnutrition.

Ending world hunger is everyone’s fight. Even food-secure areas may suffer from political unrest due to wars in food-insecure areas or may become destinations for those seeking refuge from hunger. With a global plant-based diet, more food than ever before would be available to humans. Additionally, “it is possible that an atmosphere of abundance could facilitate cooperative attitudes toward funneling more food to combat hunger.” As a bonus, moving toward veganism would be much healthier since studies link animal products to increased rates of lifestyle diseases like obesity.

Preventing Food Waste

In addition to moving toward a vegan diet, the push to end world hunger will require addressing food loss in developing countries. More than 40% of food loss in developing nations occurs post-harvest due to poor refrigeration. In sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia, per capita food loss equates to 120-170 kilograms per year. India loses about 40% of its food production due to a lack of cold storage. Jomo Sundaram, assistant director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), believes improved food transportation methods and technologies are already strengthening the fight to eliminate hunger.

In the fight against global hunger, moving toward veganism holds significant potential to increase food security in a sustainable manner.

Serah-Marie Maharaj
Photo: Flickr

Pope Francis
Hunger is a “scandal” whose crime “violates basic human rights,” according to Pope Francis. In a recent United Nations (U.N.) meeting in Rome, the Pope argued that the world holds enough food for all yet sees prevalent hunger. The Pope’s message aligned with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s assertion that a third of greenhouse gas emissions is due to global food systems. Further, Guterres warned that an 80% loss of biodiversity serves as another drastic consequence of those food systems.

The Message

The Pope spoke during the July Pre-Summit of the U.N. Food Systems Summit that focused on scientific, evidence-based solutions to food systems transformation. Pope Francis noted that COVID-19 has underlined the “systemic injustices that undermine our unity as a human family.” Further, he pointed out the paradoxical nature of the technologies designed to increase food capacity as it “exploits nature to the point of sterilization.” He said that the poorest people suffer the most because we inflict damage “…through irresponsible use and abuse of the goods God has placed in it.”

In a similar July message that the Vatican published, the Pope spoke of the preventable nature of forced displacements, terrorism and wars. He contended that these are all precursors to hunger. In the message, Pope Francis also elaborated on the lack of solidarity plaguing humans that stunts resolutions to end malnutrition. He spoke of a desire not to promote “mere progress” or “development goals in theory.” He wrote, “All of us realize that the intention to provide everyone with his or her daily bread is not enough.”

The UN’s Call to Action

An early July U.N. report credited COVID-19 to the additional 161 million people facing hunger compared to 2019. It discussed that healthy diets are now out of reach of a staggering 3 billion people. This is due to the high cost of food, income inequality and poverty. The fact that the Agricultural Commodity Price Index rose by 30% from January 2020 supports this argument. Also, Guterres noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three people lacked adequate food sources.

Also recently, the U.N. agency International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) appealed to decision-makers to rectify the “failures in food systems.” IFAD suggested that food production should factor in protecting the environment, supporting biodiversity and fairly compensating laborers.

Finally, according to the chief economist of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), alleviating hunger for 100 million people would require $14 billion a year until 2030. Moreover, to triple that amount would see a goal of zero hunger across the globe by 2030.

Moving Forward

The calls to action by Pope Francis and the United Nations are loud and clear. Together, they should positively impact the fight against hunger by transforming the current global food systems.

Pope Francis specifically urged “bold local and international policies.” He said, “Therefore, it is everyone’s duty to root out this injustice through concrete actions and good practices.”

– Mohamed Makalou
Photo: Flickr

ethiopias-biggest-threat-hunger
Researchers have directly linked quality nutrition to a reduction in the risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and in some areas, malnutrition. In less developed countries like Ethiopia, this reality is even starker. The threat of hunger in Ethiopia is extremely prevalent, requiring significant attention.

According to USAID data in Ethiopia, more than half of infant deaths are a direct result of malnutrition. Children who survive past the age of 2 years old experience irreversible threats to their physical growth and delays in their cognitive development. This lack of proper nutrition places children at a disadvantage within schools, leading them into the same cycle of poverty wherein the food systems in Ethiopia continue to perpetuate their malnutrition. As of 2021, more than 70% of Tigray’s population is still hungry with 400,000 individuals facing hunger on a fatal level.

The high rates of malnutrition in Ethiopia are a result of several factors, with food insecurity and less access to nutritious services being among the most prominent determining factors. Increased incidence rates of infectious diseases and inadequate maternal and child feeding practices follow closely behind. A combination of household wealth and income, education levels and a family’s ability to plan long-term drive all of these factors. Despite the threat of hunger in Ethiopia, some organizations are providing help.

The World Food Programme (WFP)

Within the past decade, several programs and organizations dedicated to fighting world hunger have worked within countries in Eastern Africa to not only provide food to its civilians but to support local farmers. The World Food Programme (WFP) is among one of the most active of these organizations in Ethiopia. The WFP has worked in many areas, donating resources, helping smallholder farmers develop better climate resistance and implementing school feeding programs. Most recently, the World Food Program has called for action from governments and their constituents while articulating how they will respond to the crisis.

The World Food Programme’s three main objectives now and in the coming months are to:

  • Provide emergency food assistance to the Northwestern and Southern regions of Tigray to reach over 2 million individuals in need of emergency food assistance.
  • Increase its emergency nutrition response to reach as many as 70 districts.
  • Continue to advocate for increased funding of $203 million to bolster its response program.

These goals aim to increase the quality of life for families in Ethiopia, and, since late September 2021, the World Food Programme has succeeded in doing just this. According to recent news and press releases, the WFP has helped communities in Ethiopia in one leading way.

Progress in Ethiopian Food Systems

The World Food Programme’s largest success in Ethiopia has been creating a system for farmers to access and manage their own finances. Having the ability to save money and apply for loans supports sustainable farming while empowering working women and providing a sense of self-sufficiency for many adults. The WFP has worked closely with villages in Ethiopia by helping small farmers pair up with the Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA), allowing communities to buy materials for personal businesses and ensure financial protection from the future. In 2002, the World Bank approved a loan of $85 million to Ethiopia’s food security program, all of which have contributed to these efforts of helping small farmers learn to support themselves. The WFP also aids Ethiopia in dealing with urgent issues by directly providing communities with emergency food. Since July 2021, the WFP has provided over 135,000 individuals with emergency meals.

USAID has also worked to promote agriculture and secure food systems in Ethiopia over the last decade. The implementation of its Feed the Future initiative has focused on supporting sustainable agriculture-led growth, bolstering resilience and improving nutrition. USAID has estimated a 19% decrease in poverty because of its efforts in the areas where it has worked from 2013 to 2018. In 2019, USAID’s Feed the Future initiative recognized its achievements of reaching 5 million children under the age of 5 years old with nutritional aid as well as tending to 131,000 hectares of improved land. This is due to improved technologies and practices provided by nonprofit organizations. Moving forward, USAID is seeking to continue working on strengthening resilience programs for farmers who rely solely on agriculture.

Collective Vision is the Future’s Hope

While the world continues to face many challenges, hunger may be one of the most pressing humanitarian concerns at the moment. Additionally, while it is important to sufficiently nourish everyone, it is even more important to ensure that each person has the knowledge and resources they need to continue healthfully providing for themselves moving forward. Organizations like the World Food Programme have already taken a strong initiative to achieve this goal in the countries that need it most, like Ethiopia. Other hands-on organizations like USAID have also spread their assistance to reach more countries, including attempting to strengthen the food systems in Ethiopia.

While the threat of hunger in Ethiopia may seem like a challenge that is far too expansive for any individual to tackle alone, organizations have shown how collective thought and collaboration can make a world of difference in reaching those most in need. With the continued support of governments and more specifically, involved constituents, countries can set aside their differences and work together towards achieving this common goal.

Chloé D’Hers
Photo: Flickr

Food Insecurity in Niger
Niger is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Approximately 75% of Niger’s land is the Sahara Desert, with 81% of the population relying on agriculture for food. According to World Bank data, 42.9% of the 24 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty. Hunger in Niger is a significant issue, with the Global Hunger Index ranking Niger as the 17th hungriest country in the world. Here is some information about food insecurity in Niger and what some are doing to reduce it.

Overpopulation

Currently, more than 25 million people live in Niger and almost 50% of the population is under the age of 15. Niger is one of the fastest-growing populations with a growth rate of close to 4% annually, but its ability to produce food for the growing population has not been successful. The United Nations World Food Program has estimated that food insecurity in 2019 affected more than 1.4 million Nigeriens. Many must face the adverse effects of hunger due to the continuously growing population and scarcity of food. The growing population exhausts hunger program initiatives and creates a challenge to feed communities. The high population also contributes tension to the already strained natural food resources.

Agriculture

Agriculture serves as one of the top food sources for people across the world. As for Niger, depending on agriculture poses a big problem. The land already suffers from degradation, deforestation and desertification, with low fertility and heavy pests, making it hard to produce food.

The land deals with fluctuations in precipitation and environmental changes, which make the production of crops limited. Droughts and floods are also likely and increase the risk of dying crops. Although that is the case, much of farmland still depends on rain to feed crops because of the lack of infrastructure to retain water and irrigation.

Malnutrition

One of the direct results of food insecurity is malnutrition. Malnutrition develops when the body does not receive proper nutrients. This could be a result of poor diets, lack of food or even inconsistent food intake. Proper nutrients are necessary in order to maintain a healthy immune system, growth and development. Since Niger lacks the proper food resources, malnutrition continues to endanger the lives of children.

Child Marriage

Another direct effect of food insecurity is an increase in child marriage. Hunger forces some families to resort to desperate measures such as child marriage. Payments such as dowries have been helpful during hunger-stricken moments. Child marriage is a common practice among Niger natives. Around the age of 16 young girls usually have to choose between school or marriage. Approximately 75% of young girls marry before the age of 18.

Data from a 2018 study for the International Center for Research on Women shows that women who marry at an early age have high levels of food insecurity. Additionally, those women end up forfeiting their education. Consequently, once married early, their educational growth becomes stunted. The act of child marriage has increasingly contributed to the low literacy rate among Niger women, resulting in an indirect effect of food insecurity in Niger. An analysis has also linked child marriage with early childbearing. Early childbearing may lead to more children, and as a result, reduce the amount of money in the household.

USAID

USAID is offering programs that bring more job opportunities, food security and stability to the people of Niger. Along with those programs, USAID is working to provide additional support such as access to credit, economic opportunities, better natural resources, soil management and more farming production.

In 2019, USAID funded a project that provided improvement, sustainability and nutrition to families in need. Along with those provisions, the organization also focused on developing agricultural entrepreneurship for youth in the Zinder area of Niger. USAID taught youth about compost production, pest management, marketing gardening and fruit tree nurseries.

The KfW Development Bank

The KfW Development Bank helps finance projects around the world to fight poverty. KFW has fought poverty and protected the environment for over 50 years.

KfW launched a project on Mar. 8, 2021 to expand small-scale irrigation infrastructure. This project is serving as phase two of two. Phase two should run until 2025 and provide farmers with successful harvests and sustainability. Water availability and food production should increase substantially.

Despite the prevalence of food insecurity in Niger, organizations like USAID and the KfW Development Bank are making a difference. Through continued efforts, hunger should reduce improving the lives of Niger’s citizens.

– Destiny Jackson
Photo: Flickr

ProVeg International
The definition of food insecurity is “the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources” according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. All across the world, food insecurity remains an issue despite being essential for human survival. This violation of basic human rights has justifiably led to many movements, ideas and actions to cultivate better, more accessible food systems for everyone regardless of economic status. Ultimately, increasing food justice means reducing poverty, a mission that lies at the core of ProVeg International, a global “food awareness” organization.

Food Injustice in Africa

Food injustice permeates the continent of Africa as many African countries battle poverty. According to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, more than “100 million Africans were facing crisis, emergency, or catastrophic levels of food insecurity in 2020.” The Center highlights a rise of more than 60% in comparison to 2020, with an expectation that food insecurity rates will continue in this direction through 2021 and beyond. The rise in food insecurity rates is alarming and represents a worsening issue in the fight against hunger.

This food insecurity is coupled with Africa’s higher poverty rates. Hunger Notes reports that “according to the World Bank, in 2013, 42.3% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lived on $1.90 or less per day.” This, it also notes, is a major factor in higher levels of food insecurity in African countries. The connection between poverty and hunger in the continent of Africa reveals why there are many efforts to aid and combat both rates of poverty and rising rates of food insecurity. Both anti-poverty initiatives and anti-food insecurity initiatives intersect to fight this pressing issue.

A ProVeg Approach

ProVeg International is a global organization fighting food injustice with increased food awareness and plant-based initiatives. Its branch in South Africa acts as a platform for these initiatives in the African continent. According to its website, ProVeg holds events and participates in political outreach and corporate engagement. All these efforts aim to raise awareness of the importance of accessible, healthy plant-based food. In addition to these activities, ProVeg holds challenges such as Veganuary, which is “a global campaign that encourages people to try plant-based [foods] for the month of January.” This approach of easing people in is important, as is encouraging those who have the means and accessibility to go plant-based to do so.

Using a plant-based approach increases access to affordable and healthy food for those who need it. Additionally, ProVeg encourages those who already have access to fresh grown foods to fully incorporate them into their diets. ProVeg highlights how “achieving food security for everyone means doing more to ensure that everyone has reliable access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food in order to maintain an active and healthy life.” ProVeg International incorporates this message by highlighting how “an inequitable global food distribution system” disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable and impoverished people.

In this way, ProVeg makes it is easy to see the intersections of food insecurity and poverty, showing the importance of ProVeg’s plant-based initiative for achieving food justice. As rates of food insecurity rise across Africa, ProVeg’s plant-based initiative contributes to food justice and seeks to make healthy foods accessible. The role that ProVeg plays presents an important approach in the fight against food injustice.

– Sebastian Fell
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in AngolaThe catalyzation of food insecurity is causing around 6 million people to fall into hunger in Angola, according to UNICEF. The number of people going hungry in Angola, however, continues to rise due to the most severe drought since 1981 in conjunction with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The spread of droughts, especially in Southern Angola, caused the death of 1 million cattle. This created surges of poor malnutrition and severe illnesses. Despite this, hope exists for those suffering from hunger in Angola.

Drought

The severe drought in Angola has continued spreading for almost three years now, traumatically affecting hunger in Angola. Crop production has decreased by nearly 40%, forcing more families into poverty. The drought has, within only three months in Cunene, Angola, tripled levels of food insecurity. The growing scarcity of food and heightening hunger of Angolans is pushing them to seek refuge in proximate countries such as Namibia.

Pedro Henrique Kassesso, a 112-year-old man, can attest that this three-year-long drought has been the worst he has ever experienced in Angola. The drought has affected almost 500,000 children. Not only has food insecurity heightened, but school dropout rates have risen due to increasing socioeconomic troubles. Hunger in Angola has forced children to put aside their education to support their families in collecting food and water.

Longing for Land

Former Angolan communal farmers are longing to get land back from commercial cattle farmers. According to Amnesty International, the Angolan government gives the land to commercial cattle farmers. Commercial cattle farmers have taken 67% of the land in Gambos, Angola. The battle for land has exasperated the hunger levels of communal Angolan citizens who have been reliant on their land and livestock for survival. The combination of loss of land and drought equates to millions of Angolan citizens ending up in poverty.

Despite the drought and rising food insecurity in Angola, people from neighboring countries are seeking refuge in this nation. As of 2017, 36,000 people have undergone displacement from the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and found refuge in Angola. Because of asylum seekers and refugees fleeing to Angola, the nation’s population is rapidly growing. Angola’s population is growing by 1 million people every year, according to the World Population Review. As a host country to asylum seekers, battles for land, ongoing drought and rapid population growth, more people are succumbing to poverty and hunger in Angola.

Hope on the Horizon

Despite the surging levels of food insecurity in Angola, hope is rising on the horizon. In fact, the government of Japan donated $1 million toward United Nations agencies that serve to uplift Angolan citizens who have succumbed to poverty especially due to the drought and the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy of Angola. The donation from Japan, along with the funds raised to end hunger in Angola by the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Food Programme (WFP) projects to at last tackle the issue of malnutrition and hunger in Angola.

– Nora Zaim-Sassi
Photo: Flickr

IFAD Plans to Alleviate HungerWith the new COVID-19 variants spreading in places such as Latin America and the Caribbean, poverty and hunger rates continue to increase. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has expressed its support for people suffering from these issues. It created a program with the main focus of providing money to businesses that depend on food systems. IFAD is also helping out by working with school programs. Here is more information about IFAD’s plans to alleviate hunger.

IFAD Helps Those Living in Poverty

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on more challenges to many people, but that has not stopped IFAD from helping those in need. Since 2020, millions of people have received assistance and several projects have emerged. With the challenges of the pandemic, IFAD has been working to support citizens who lack access to essential resources such as food. The Rural Poor Stimulus Factory emerged to help farmers who were not able to work effectively. IFAD has also provided some digital services to countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh. It also contributed to grass-root activities, along with encouraging more citizens to get involved in other activities.

IFAD Creates New Financial Program

One way issues such as poverty and hunger can undergo resolution is by prioritizing workers who make major contributions to food systems. IFAD recently launched a financial program aimed to help businesses responsible for working with food systems. The purpose of the Private Sector Financing Programme, also known as PSFP, is to give financial assistance to small-scale farmers who struggle to provide food due to a variety of barriers. Some of the benefits they will receive include loans and other financial assistance. The benefits from PSFP will also help workers reach their potential through job opportunities, which will open the door to more solutions for hunger and poverty.

IFAD Expresses Support for Farmers

While Latin America and the Caribbean continue to see the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, IFAD is working to help citizens who have suffered from pandemic-related challenges. IFAD has been supporting programs in Mexico that teach citizens about components such as economic development. It has invested a lot of money to help farmers in Mexico learn more skills and pursue their passions. In Guatemala, IFAD was able to help maintain the availability of school feeding programs during the lockdown. Farmers in Guatemala also had the opportunity to sell crops to citizens. The Rural Adelante Project, which received funding from IFAD, worked to guarantee citizens access to nutritious foods in El Salvador. IFAD also created a virtual marketplace to help farmers who lacked access to essential resources.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development has helped people living in poverty through a variety of ways, which includes expanding access to food and other resources. IFAD’s new financial program, the Rural Poor Stimulus Factory, aims to help workers suffering from pandemic-related challenges. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on Latin America and the Caribbean, IFAD made different contributions to serve those living in underprivileged communities.

– Chloe Moody
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Hunger In BrazilBrazil, among other countries, has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, suffering one of the highest death tolls in the world at 556,834 people as of August 2021. However, its infection rates are decreasing. The country had 247,830 confirmed cases as of the week of July 26 and more than 133,000,000 vaccine doses administered as of August: a marked improvement from earlier on in the pandemic. Nonetheless, one still-worsening effect of the pandemic in Brazil is hunger.

Hunger in Brazil

Hunger existed in Brazil long before COVID-19 reached the South American nation, where inequality has fueled high rates of poverty and food insecurity. In 2011, despite a relatively high GDP of $10,900 per capita, roughly 16 million Brazilians lived in extreme poverty, and many lacked the income to support an adequate diet.

However, the U.N. World Food Programme’s 2020 Hunger Map, which displays data from 2017-2019, showed positive progress in Brazil. Less than 2.5% of the total population was undernourished, a rate among the lowest in the world.

COVID-19 Worsens Hunger in Brazil

While the U.N. statistics demonstrate positive trends, COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity by widening preexisting inequalities in Brazil’s population. For example, the pandemic caused prices of basic food products to increase. Cooking oils, rice and other diet essentials became so expensive that they were essentially impossible to purchase for many families in Brazil. The New York Times pointed out that as of April 2021, a kilogram of rice sold for twice as much as before the pandemic, and cooking oil tripled in price in the same period.

High unemployment rates caused by the pandemic combined with high food prices further increased the rates of hunger. In an interview with Reuters, unemployed worker Rosana de Paula describes the situation among the unemployed. Because of a lack of credit and little to no savings, the sudden disappearance of income from pandemic-related unemployment is devastating, leaving “no way to pay for food,” according to de Paula.

Now, more than a year into the pandemic and with hunger continually worsening in Brazil, the country is back in the “yellow zone” on the U.N.’s Hunger Map. In an interview with The New Humanitarian, the Director of the Center of Excellence Against Hunger said increasing hunger has raised the alarm in Brazil. More than 19 million people, or 9% of the population, are currently food insecure.

Ways the World is Helping Brazil

Despite the hardships the pandemic has created for many Brazilian families, NGOs and other grassroots campaigns have stepped in to alleviate the hunger crisis. Food campaigns across the country have offered support and resources, distributing meals to millions of Brazilian families. Anyone worldwide can donate to these anti-hunger campaigns to help curb the high demand for food and other necessities that the pandemic has exacerbated.

Rebecca Fontana
Photo: Flickr