India’s Lack of Access to Nutrition
India is one of the world’s poorest countries. Because of its weak economy, inadequate food distribution and high poverty rates, most citizens do not have the means to buy healthy foods or have access to nutrition in general. This has caused high rates of stunting, anemia and a high underweight average in Indian citizens. This problem continues to be devastating for several families and is only growing with time. However, there are some efforts in place to improve nutrition in India.

Statistics and Medical Outcomes

According to Business Today, around 37% of all food-insecure people live in India.

Within the country, 40.6% of the population is suffering from acute food insecurity. These statistics have grown within the past few years due to COVID-19 consequences decreasing access to nutrition even more.

The increasing food insecurity has elevated poor mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, poorer cognitive functions and sleep disorders. These situations set many citizens of India up for trouble when they try to perform strong in school and maintain a high work ethic.

The scarcity of nutrition has also created high rates of physical disabilities such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, physical frailty, joint/muscle pain and general functional limitations. Having one or more of these conditions decreases the amount of activities and events one is able to undertake.

Although India is ranked second worldwide in farm output, the country is still ranked 101 out of 116 countries suffering from food insecurity. This battle of nutrition is an ongoing and increasing problem. Here are some nonprofits that are helping improve nutrition in India.


Luckily, the government of India is aware of the decreasing access to nutrition dilemma and has been trying to create new initiatives to eradicate it. Organizations like the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojona (PM-GKAY) have been sending India healthy and hearty foods to have in stock for distribution. PM-GKAY has doubled the monthly foodgrain entitlements to India since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Other organizations such as the National Nutrition Mission (NNM), the National Food Security Mission and the Zero Hunger Programme are making efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition by making sure the government properly administers food enrichment programs.

India lacks a strong mechanism to get nutritious foods out to its less wealthy areas. Because of this, the country suffers from chronic malnutrition causing impediments to physical and mental health throughout the population. Fortunately, organizations and nonprofits are helping to improve nutrition in India. However, efforts must remain high and continue to grow if India wants to see significant change anytime soon.

– Nina Donlin
Photo: Flickr

Plumpy’Sup Fights Malnutrition
Around 45% of deaths among children under 5 years of age are related to malnutrition and most of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, also known as developing countries. Seeking to counter this statistic is Plumpy’Sup, one of the latest innovations in nutritional science. Plumpy’Sup fights malnutrition through its one-per-day sachets that provide a convenient and accessible route to necessary nutrients.

Understanding Malnutrition

Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in energy intake. While many think of malnutrition as solely relating to undernourishment, according to WHO, the term malnutrition refers to three different groups of conditions:

  • “Undernutrition, which includes wasting (low weight-for-height), stunting (low height-for-age) and underweight (low weight-for-age)”
  • “Micronutrient-related malnutrition, which includes micronutrient deficiencies or an excess of micronutrients”
  • “Overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases, which include heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers”

A Far-Reaching Threat

Since one or more forms of malnutrition impact every single country in the world, fighting malnutrition has become a global issue. In 2020, the WHO estimated that, globally, more than 149 million children under 5 suffered stunting, 45 million endured wasting and 38.9 million were overweight.

Links Between Poverty and Malnutrition

Another threat that malnutrition posed is its strong relationship to poverty. This concerning link between poverty and malnutrition is cyclical, as malnutrition reduces the population’s economic potential in order to induce poverty. In turn, poverty reinforces malnutrition by increasing the risk of food insecurity. This explains why areas with chronic poverty have higher malnutrition rates. Thus, although malnutrition reaches the entire world, those living in poverty face an even more significant burden.

The relationship between malnutrition and poverty particularly concerns children. Micronutrient deficiencies may result in adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight babies. These babies have an increased risk of impaired health and educational performance. Such impaired health, including illness susceptibility, contributes to poverty due to increased health care costs.

Additionally, poor educational performance in malnourished children may result in less schooling. Since education is a known pathway out of poverty, such decreased education contributes to the cyclical nature of poverty.

The Formula for Success

Hope in the fight against malnutrition can be found in Plumpy’Sup, a Ready-to-Use Supplementary Food (RUSF) that Nutriset designed to treat moderate acute malnutrition in children older than six months. Plumpy’Sup fights malnutrition using a peanut formula that comes in one-per-day sachets that are ready to eat and that people can consume in small quantities to supplement a regular diet. The ingredients in the formula include iron, sodium, vitamin A, vitamin D and more.

Plumpy’Sup is a flexible product that can treat malnutrition in various contexts, according to Nutriset’s website. Plumpy’Sup typically fights malnutrition in emergencies but one can also use it at home or in nutritional programs. The lipid-based dietary supplement, which has a high vitamin and mineral content, could provide hungry families with an option for fighting malnutrition in areas without electricity or clean water.

Ultimately, as Plumpy’Sup fights malnutrition, it provides a glimmer of hope for feeding the malnourished and stopping the cycle of poverty. Despite the pervasiveness of malnutrition, innovative food products such as Plumpy’Sup could be the start of a new chapter in global food security.

– Sarah DiLuzio
Photo: Flickr

Vitamin A Deficiency in Malawi
Economic crises and instability can impact nutrition as impoverished populations are unable to access and afford nutritious foods for a well-balanced diet. Instead, these individuals opt for food sources with the lowest price tag, which leads to “diets of lesser quality and variety.” For this reason, vitamin A deficiencies are most common among low-income communities. In the developing nation of Malawi, micronutrient deficiencies are not uncommon. However, the country’s government is implementing measures to reduce vitamin A deficiency in Malawi.

Vitamin A Deficiency in Malawi

The best way for individuals to get the necessary amount of vitamin A is by eating a balanced diet consisting of all of the food groups. Insufficient levels of vitamin A in children can cause delayed growth, slow wound healing, infections and more. In 2001, 59% of Malawian children younger than the age of 5 suffered a vitamin A deficiency.

According to a 2020 research study that ScienceDirect published, vitamin A deficiency is “more severe in developing countries whose population relies on a single staple crop for their sustenance,” which are often low in vitamin A. According to Nature Briefing, maize is Malawi’s “most widely grown crop,” taking up 80% of Malawi’s arable land as the country’s staple crop. Although maize plays a significant role in the food security of Malawians, it has low levels of vitamin A, making it easy to recognize the need to increase access to vitamin A-rich food products.

Effects of Vitamin A Deficiency on Economies

WHO has reported that 1.4% of annual deaths occur due to vitamin A deficiency, leading to a loss of human capital that greatly impacts economies. In addition, many deficiencies of micronutrients can cause lower levels of productivity in working individuals, creating another economic impact. Research shows that in many cases, reintroducing the micronutrient into the individual’s diet can reverse these effects.

Furthermore, the conditions that arise from vitamin A deficiencies increase the burden of disease on a health care system, taking a significant toll on the health systems of developing nations. These nations often lack the resources, infrastructure and personnel to take on this added strain.

In Tanzania, annually, “deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and folic acid cost the country [more than] US$518 million, around 2.65 % of the country’s GDP.” Although similar data on Malawi is scarce, it is clear that micronutrient deficiencies have a significant economic impact on developing nations.

The Fortification of Sugar

Since 2012, with the assistance of the government of Malawi, Illovo Sugar Malawi, a sugar manufacturing company, began a program to fortify vitamin A into sugar products. In 2016 alone, Illovo Sugar Malawi spent ZAR 21 million on fortifying sugar with vitamin A, which reached 2 million individuals. The incorporation of the essential nutrient into accessible foods makes it easier for families to ensure they are getting a sufficient amount of vitamin A in their diets without the country needing to grow multiple extra crops.

Other Measures to Address Vitamin A Deficiency in Malawi

The Malawian government is also ramping up efforts to reduce vitamin A deficiency through screening services. Through blood tests, specialists are able to determine if an individual has too much or too little vitamin A in their system. With this kind of information, health care professionals can address cases of low vitamin A in citizens before the condition exacerbates.

Because illnesses and infections can lead to the depletion of vitamin A in the body, disease control practices are imperative. Because of this, the Malawian government is encouraging the public to practice good hygiene. The government is also prioritizing access to clean water and adequate sanitation as a disease prevention method.

Through these actions, Malawi was able to reduce the prevalence of vitamin A deficiencies in children younger than 5 from 59% in 2001 to 4% by 2016. The Malawian government’s efforts to reduce vitamin A deficiency in the country hold more than just physical health benefits. By treating vitamin A deficiency, the nation may potentially see economic benefits too, which will help Malawi’s disadvantaged people to rise out of poverty. Through further work and preventative measures, the country will continue to reduce vitamin A deficiencies in its citizens.

– Katelyn Rogers
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Reduce Food Insecurity in ZimbabweEsnath Divasoni is changing the game when it comes to how the world thinks about food and sustainability. The 33-year-old rural Zimbabwean “edible-insect farmer” is promoting the cultivation of crickets and other types of insects as a source of nutrition and sustenance that could help reduce food insecurity in Zimbabwe and across sub-Saharan Africa.

Divasoni’s Education

Divasoni’s journey to becoming an insect farming expert is a long and impressive one. Thanks to CAMFED, a pan-African non-governmental organization that campaigns for marginalized females to receive strong educations, Divasoni was able to attend secondary school. CAMFED also enabled her to later attend EARTH University in Costa Rica.

She was the first person from her village to travel abroad to receive an education. EARTH University served as a jumping-off point for Divasoni, who studied agricultural sciences at the school in San José, Costa Rica. There, she discovered the potential of insects in combating food insecurity in developing nations.

Divasoni grew up collecting insects in plastic bags and picking worms from trees around her family’s farm. Loving the taste of insects herself, she began to research how she could turn bugs into a reliable food source. She has since received funding from The Resolution Project, a nonprofit that funds, mentors and supports young leaders with global, innovative ideas, for her project that she calls Jumping Protein.

Why Crickets?

The practice of harvesting crickets brings with it a plethora of benefits, the primary benefit being nutritional value. More protein-rich than beef or chicken and low in fat, 100-200 grams of crickets can feed and nourish a family of four to five. With Divasoni’s market rate of $1 for a 50-gram pack, Divasoni’s cricket endeavor brings in an income to reduce poverty all while aiding those suffering from food insecurity in Zimbabwe.

Unlike locusts, since crickets are incapable of flight and have many natural predators, increasing the number of crickets in a local ecosystem does not pose any biological risks. Locust plagues can decimate crops, a phenomenon well-known in Africa, but with crickets, the risk level is much lower. Cricket farming is both cost and space-efficient, and in addition, cricket excrement can be used as fertilizer.

Divasoni’s cricket farm is now up and running. She has around 20 plastic washing tubs, which she uses as feeding containers for the insects. The bugs take between five and eight weeks to mature, at which point Divasoni collects their eggs for the next cycle before harvesting around one kilogram of crickets per tub.

The Potential Impact

Food insecurity in Zimbabwe is a pressing issue, especially in the country’s rural areas. In 2019, estimates from the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee calculated that roughly 5.5 million people in Zimbabwe’s rural areas were food insecure during the countries peak “lean season,” which occurs between planting and harvesting periods.

Through insects, Divasoni hopes to alleviate the hardship of food insecurity that afflicts millions who grow up in rural villages. Since the project is in its earlier stages, data is limited on the full impact of the Jumping Protein initiative. There is plenty of room and opportunity for growth across Zimbabwe and beyond. The “global edible insect market” is estimated to reach close to $8 billion by the year 2030.

Divasoni is multiplying her impact through teaching with the help of CAMFED. She is one of the core trainers in the CAMFED Agricultural Guide program, which has led hundreds of training sessions in eight rural districts across Zimbabwe. These sessions specifically focus on women, empowering them with innovative farming techniques like insect farming. All of the resources needed to start a farm like Divasoni’s are available locally for many Zimbabwean farmers.

Looking to the Future

Practices and innovations like cricket farming could revolutionize the entire concept of agriculture in areas with high food insecurity in Zimbabwe. Thanks to various nonprofits that invest in global aid in underserved areas, Divasoni was able to make Jumping Protein a reality. Through the perfect blend of agricultural education, local knowledge and commitment to her community, this project has the potential to feed an entire nation.

– Sam Dils
Photo: Flickr

School Feeding Program in RwandaRwanda is a small, densely populated country in Africa, located just south of the equator. Though the country has made great strides in poverty reduction since the 1994 genocide, 55% of the population still lived in poverty in 2017. The COVID-19 pandemic halted a period of economic boom and, as a result, the World Bank expects poverty to rise by more than 5% in 2021. International aid and development programs in Rwanda are more important than ever, especially when it comes to providing reliable, nutritious food sources. Chronic malnutrition affects more than a third of Rwandan children younger than 5 and the World Food Programme (WFP) considers nearly 20% of Rwandans food insecure. One key initiative aiming to eradicate malnutrition in Rwanda is the WFP’s Home Grown School Feeding program in Rwanda.

History of the Home Grown School Feeding Initiative

The WFP’s Home Grown School Feeding initiative works with local governments, farmers and schools to provide nutritious, diverse daily meals for students and enrich local economies. These Home Grown School Feeding programs currently operate in 46 countries with each program tailored to the needs of local people.

The Home Grown School Feeding program in Rwanda began in 2016, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Mastercard. The program serves daily warm meals to more than 85,000 learners in 104 primary schools. The program benefits both students and their families in several major ways.

5 Benefits of the Home Grown School Feeding Initiative

  1. Improves Nutrition. Agriculture is the basis of Rwanda’s economy, but desertification, drought and other problems are decreasing harvests. As a result, many families struggle to grow enough food to feed themselves. The Home Grown School Feeding program in Rwanda provides students with meals of either maize, beans or hot porridge. The school-provided meal is often the only regular, nutritious meal available to many students.
  2. Improves Hygiene. Along with kitchens and ingredients, the WFP also supplies schools in Rwanda with materials to teach basic nutrition and hygiene. One strategy includes installing rainwater collection tanks and connecting them to handwashing stations. Additionally, WFP workers build or renovate bathrooms at each school. Connecting the school to a reliable water supply also benefits the local community by decreasing the distance villagers travel to access water. School handwashing stations are also open to the community, improving health and hygiene for everyone.
  3. Improves Focus, Literacy and School Attendance. According to Edith Heines, WFP country director for Rwanda, “a daily school meal is a very strong incentive for parents to send their children to school.” In primary schools where the WFP implemented the Home Grown School Feeding Program, attendance has increased to 92%. With the implementation of the program, students report increased alertness in class and better grades and performance. One child from Southern Rwanda, Donat, told the WFP that before his school provided lunch, he was often so hungry that he did not want to return to school after going home at lunchtime. Now that his school provides lunch, he looks forward to class each day. Literacy rates have also improved dramatically at schools where the program operates and the WFP reports that student reading comprehension has increased from less than 50% to 78%.
  4. Teaches Gardening and Cooking Skills. The WFP develops a kitchen garden at every school involved in the Home Grown School Feeding program. Children participate in growing and caring for crops, learning valuable gardening skills that they can take home to their parents. Children are also instructed in meal preparation and in proper hygiene.
  5. Diversifying Crops at Home. Students also receive seedlings in order to provide food at home and to diversify the crops grown in food-insecure areas. Crop diversification can help improve soil fertility and crop yields. Sending seedlings home also promotes parent and community involvement in the program, ensuring the program’s long-term stability.

Looking Ahead

The Home Grown School Feeding program in Rwanda has improved the quality of life for many children living in poverty as well as their families. By fighting to end hunger in food-insecure areas of Rwanda, the WFP has improved hygiene, nutrition, school attendance, literacy, crop diversity and more. The continuation of the program in Rwanda and in other countries around the world will enable further progress in the fight against global poverty.

Julia Welp
Photo: Flickr

Suaahara II ProjectIn Nepal, 36% of children who are under the age of five remain underdeveloped in terms of growth and health despite progress in recent years. Through cooperation with USAID, the Nepalese Government and local private sector groups, Hellen Keller International (HKI) has provided impactful services that have helped rectify the systematic obstacles causing these health issues. Hellen Keller International is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce malnutrition. The Suaahara II project takes a pivotal role in these efforts.

What is the Suaahara II Project?

One of HKI’s most notable services is the Suaahara II project, which started in 2016 and was initially set to end in 2021. However, it will now extend to March 2023 due to COVID-19. Operating in 42 of Nepal’s districts with a $63 million budget, HKI partnered with these six organizations for the project:

  • Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc. (CARE)
  • Family Health International 360 (FHI 360)
  • Environmental and Public Health Organization (ENPHO)
  • Equal Access Nepal (EAN)
  • Nepali Technical Assistance Group (NTAG)
  • Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC)

Hellen Keller International’s primary role in the Suaahara II project deals with the technical assistance of child and maternal nutrition. This means that its tasks are oriented around building the skills and knowledge of health workers. This includes teaching health workers how to adequately measure and evaluate assessments; additionally, another technical facet relies on promoting governance that invests in nutrition.

A Multi-Sectoral Approach

Kenda Cunningham, a senior technical adviser for Suaahara II who works under HKI, told The Borgen Project that the Suaahara II consortium has taken a “multi-sectoral approach.” She believes in the importance of this as it pushes individuals to “learn and think beyond their sector.” The Suaahara II Project’s demonstrates its integrated strategy in the initiatives below:

  1. The WASH program focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene through WASHmarts, which are small shops dispersed across districts that sell sanitary products like soap and reusable sanitary pads. Kenda explained how this has helped “bridge a gap” so that poorer households can access hygiene enhancing products. This also allows assistance from private actors, who can expand their markets in rural areas.
  2. The Homestead Food Production program (HFP) encourages households to grow and produce micronutrient-rich foods through vegetable gardening and raising chickens, for example. As a result, 35 districts have institutionalized HFP groups.
  3. The Bhancchin Aama Radio Program is a phone-in radio program that runs twice every week. It hosts discussions among marginalized communities and demonstrations for cooking nutritious foods. It has encouraged the Nepalese to socially and behaviorally alter their health habits.

Advancements from Suaahara I

The Suaahara II project’s contribution to improved health and nutrition in Nepal is also illustrated in its progression from the Suaahara I project’s framework. In addition to understanding the changes made in household systems and at a policy level from Suaahara I, Cunningham told The Borgen Project that technological developments have elevated the Suaahara II Project’s impact in Nepal.

Specifically, smartphones expedite the data collection process when studying trends pertaining to the 2 million households across the districts. The development of new apps provided more households with access to smartphones and key information. This therefore allowed officers to transition from pursuing “a mother-child focus to a family focus” in terms of the Suaahara II project’s accommodations and services.

Challenges with Suaahara II

While the Suaahara II Project has led to institutional and social enhancements regarding health and nutrition, some districts had access to the project earlier. This created a dissonance in the rate of health improvements amongst the districts. Cunningham reported that “far western areas are much more remote and therefore disadvantaged and food insecure.”

This inconsistency was largely due to the “Federalism” that took place in Nepal in 2017, which was a decentralization process that created 42 municipalities for 42 districts. Since every municipality has a different political leader, some districts had the advantage of assistance from foreign NGOs while others did not because their leaders rejected involving foreign NGOs. In these cases, as Cunningham explained, it is like “you are creating your own NGOs from the ground up.”

Suaahara II Achievements

These obstacles, however, have not been pertinent enough to counter the consortium’s efforts in fulfilling the Suaahara II project’s objectives. For example, a primary objective for Suaahra II is to increase breastfeeding amongst babies under six months of age. Exclusive breastfeeding of children under six has increased from 62.9% in 2017 to 68.9% in 2019, according to data that Cunningham shared with The Borgen Project.

Expanding children’s access to diverse and nutritious foods is another objective that has been achieved under the Suaahara II project. The dietary diversity among women of reproductive age (WRA) has increased from 35.6% in 2017 to 45.3% in 2019, according to Cunningham. Given the efficient rate of improvement in women and children’s health, governance and equity in only the first two years of the Suaahara II project, it can be inferred that the consortium will continue to progress in achieving its targets among the Nepalese in the three years that remain.

Regarding how HKI has responded to challenges with the Suaahara II project, Cunningham said  “[We] don’t use a one size fits all approach.” The advancements in Nepal’s health and nutrition systems can be largely attributed to HKI’s multifaceted and integrated strategy, a model that could yield prosperity in the rest of the developing world.

Joy Arkeh
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 child poverty reduction progress. Here are some of the main contributors that UNICEF identifies 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. In fact, more than half of individuals younger than 18 still lack this basic resource.
  2. Lack of Clean Water: Children, especially those living in rural areas, lack 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 registered 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 lead to harmful indoor air pollution as a result of inefficient cooking utilities.

The Basic Education Act

The government of Kenya has taken 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 states 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, ensured that educational equality truly occurs within the country. Due to this emphasis, the number of educated children rose by 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 receive education about proper food consumption. For infants, the nutrition policy targeted the reduction of women’s workloads so that they could be more available to breastfeed their children. Companies began vigorously marketing breast milk substitutes because of this policy. For children in school, the 2011 policy ensured that government-run educational facilities provided meals during 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 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 1950. Along with a variety of resources providing services, the 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 among 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 are then able to provide stability for their developing children.

Sustainable Development Objectives

While much work has already occurred to help solve child poverty in Kenya, organizations like the U.N. are working to fund initiatives that support its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to help eradicate all child resource injustices by 2030 and reduce global poverty overall. With ongoing commitments to upholding the rights of children in Kenya, the nation can reduce child poverty.

– Olivia Bay
Photo: Flickr

Raising ChickensMalnutrition affects 52 million children around the world and, according to Dr. Francesco Branca of the World Health Organization, is considered the main cause of death and disease. One group tackling this issue is Heifer International, a non-governmental organization based out of the United States that combats global poverty and malnutrition. It does this by promoting sustainable development and supporting rural farmers. Heifer International is also known for its charitable model in which a farming family receives a female cow, with the expectation that they will give the first-born calf to another family in need.

Starting in 1944 with the delivery of 17 heifers to Puerto Rico, Heifer International has since helped lift more than 34 million families out of poverty. There are now many more projects that have been launched by Heifer International, including Hatching Hope. This particular program aims to improve the nutrition and livelihood of 100 million people by 2030 through sustainable poultry farming.

Practical Solutions to Poverty

According to the organization, raising chickens is among the most practical ways for families to be lifted out of poverty. Hatching Hope provides funding for the construction of coops so that chickens can live safely and produce healthy eggs. It also gives vaccinations for chicken in order to protect the flock and ensure its longevity.

On the ground, Hatching Hope is providing quality and affordable chicken feed so that both the chickens themselves, as well as the eggs they are laying, are healthy. For example, take the work Heifer International has done in India with the help of Cargill, an international food corporation. Experts ran nutritional analysis tests on ingredients commonly present in Indian farmers’ chicken feed. With the information they found, Cargill came up with a recipe that would provide the chickens with the best nutritional value available.

Women’s empowerment is another benefit to raising chickens that Hatching Hope promotes. In developing countries, many women are without work and depend on their male counterparts for financial security. Through raising chickens, women are given the means to provide for themselves so that they can become self-reliant.

In Mexico, Hatching Hope is focused on communities in rural regions to bolster poultry production. It hopes to increase the size of chicken farms, and similar to India, create more nutritious diets for the animals. In turn, this will help malnourished Mexicans meet the recommended daily values for protein intake.

Hatching Hope is active in three countries, the last of which is Kenya, where the population and demand for food are both growing quickly. Connecting farmers to new markets is another part of Heifer International’s approach. It pushes for a shift toward farmers within Kenya’s markets, which has the potential to connect 6,000 new households.

Further Impact

Hatching Hope is contributing to seven of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In India, Heifer International has supported more than 750,000 families through technical training and building resilience. It has provided assistance to 366,000 families through the promotion of poultry farming in Mexico.

All around the developing world, Hatching Hope is making a difference. Heifer International’s work is promoting sustainability in farming communities, providing better nutrition for both chickens and people, granting women self-reliance and more. Moving forward, Hatching Hope intends to continue chipping away at global malnutrition and seeking its goal of improving 100 million lives by 2030.

– Evan Driscoll
Photo: Unsplash

Child Poverty in Tanzania
In the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, Tanzania is one of the leading nations in development and reform. Since 2010, Tanzania’s economic indicators have held steadily above the average numbers of the rest of the region, boasting a positive GDP growth between 5% and 7% in the last 10 years. According to the World Bank’s 2019 Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment, poverty decreased by 8% in 10 years. Still, the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Bella Bird, urged the nation “to accelerate the pace of poverty reduction as the number of poor people remains high.” This article will assess child poverty in Tanzania and the efforts to eradicate it.

Better Planning, Better Counting

 In 2011, Tanzania committed itself to a series of national Five Year Development Plans (FYDP) to reach economic and human development goals by 2025. The Second Five Development Plan (FYDP II), 2016/17 – 2020/21, includes “poverty reduction” as a main focus. Tanzania’s overall positive economic performance results from a commitment to accurate assessment and careful planning that has welcomed newer and better ways to assess certain indicators, such as child poverty.

With the help of UNICEF, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published the Child Poverty in Tanzania report in 2019. This report assesses child poverty in Tanzania through the recently developed framework known as Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA), which “complements the traditional method of measuring poverty through the lens of a household’s aggregate income and consumption.” The report notes that MODA brings to focus the “importance in the wellbeing of a child during childhood” without losing sight of the monetary implications of poverty.

Multidimensional Child Poverty in Tanzania

The report defines “multidimensional child poverty” as a child who “suffers deprivation in three or more key dimensions of poverty: nutrition, health, protection, education, information, sanitation, water and housing.” The report further divides each dimension into indicators, thresholds and applicable ages. Using data from the 2014/15 National Panel Survey, this 2019 report provides an update on a previous report from 2016, and a clearer look at the issue of child poverty in Tanzania.

Below is a breakdown of each dimension, its indicators and the percentage of children (0-17 years old) deprived of each respective dimension.

  • Nutrition: The prevalence of stunting or wasting, body mass index (BMI) and dietary diversity – 30.1% of children deprived.
  • Health: Mother’s assisted delivery, antenatal care, support to a child with severe disability, malaria and diarrhea – 54.7% of children deprived.
  • Protection: Victim of crime, birth registration, early marriage and child labor – 86.4% of children deprived.
  • Water: Unimproved water and time to fetch water – 72.3% of children deprived.
  • Sanitation: Unsafe waste disposal, unsafe stool disposal and unimproved/shared sanitation – 91.1% of children deprived.
  • Housing: Inadequate floor/roof, overcrowding and solid cooking fuel – 88.8% of children deprived.
  • Education: Literacy, school enrolment, completed primary, pre-school enrolment and grade for age – 36.1% of children deprived.
  • Information: Communication device and access to information – 39.4% of children deprived.

The report concludes that a total of 88% of children in Tanzania are multidimensionally poor, meaning that they suffer from at least three deprivations above.

Higher Figures, Good or Bad?

According to the report, 19.5% of children live in monetary poverty, a much lower figure. Why, then, should Tanzania pay attention to the higher figure from the more complicated model? Working through the MODA methodology provides a more accurate look at the barriers that block Tanzanian children from participating in the semi-industrial future of their government’s goals.

Furthermore, this approach to understanding poverty highlights the importance of investing in programs that go beyond monetary solutions. While Tanzania has been successful in its cash-transfer programs, there may be a need to improve programs that tend to the non-monetary wellbeing of children should the country heed to Bird’s suggestions of speeding up the pace of progress.

USAID and Tanzania

Fortunately, Tanzania is not alone in the development and investment of such programs. USAID has recognized the need to empower the youth by increasing access to health care, water, nutrition and education, among other resources. Since the updated report in June 2019, USAID has developed two new programs that affect children directly: one in nutrition (30.1% of children deprived) and one in education (36.1% of children deprived).

Advancing Nutrition

Through the Advancing Nutrition activity, USAID works with Tanzanian authorities to support the implementation and further development of the National Multi-sectoral Nutrition Action Plan (NMNAP), initially set up in 2016 and due for a second iteration after June 2021. According to the midterm NMNAP report, Tanzania is on track to meet most of its goals from 2016.

Between 2014 and 2018:

  • Acute malnutrition in children 5-years-old and under has dropped from 3.8% to 3.5%.
  • The prevalence of overweight children under 5-years-old has dropped from 3.5% to 2.8%.
  • The proportion of children aged 0-5 months who are exclusively breastfed rose from 41% to 58%.
  • The proportion of children aged 6-23 months who received a minimum acceptable diet increased from 20% to 30%.

Hesabu Na Elimu Jumuishi (“Arithmetic and Inclusive Education”)

The second program developed after June 2019 for children revolves around education. The Arithmetic and Inclusive Education activity expands math instruction for young children and “addresses the need for inclusive education for children with disabilities.” According to the UNICEF report, around 48% of children 5-13 years old experience deprivation in the education dimension. This USAID activity will work directly to improve this indicator of multidimensional in child poverty in Tanzania.

Looking Ahead

Tanzanian leaders and international groups understand the need to develop more aggressive plans to tackle poverty. As the USAID Tanzania Activity Briefer notes in the “Better Policies” activity description: “a reduction in poverty slower than the economic growth rate implies that growth has not sufficiently reached those who are the most vulnerable.”

In the next two years, Tanzania’s development (FYDP) and nutrition (NMNAP) plans will be re-discussed and re-planned. Many of USAID’s programs in Tanzania will also soon reach a conclusion, such as the “Water Resources Integration Development Initiative” (WARIDI), which improves sanitation and water management while creating jobs (72.3% of children experience deprivation in the water dimension).

Through this new look at indicators of poverty, namely multidimensional child poverty, such programs along with the government now have a better understanding of how to allocate resources purposefully to address more directly the issue of child poverty in Tanzania.

– Luis Gonzalez Kompalic
Photo: Flickr

Child Poverty in Israel
Poverty in Israel impacts 469,400 families with around 1.8 million Israeli citizens living below the poverty line. Children make up 841,000 of the Israeli citizens in poverty, ranking second-most severe, next to Turkey. Poverty in Israel rose from 19.4% in 2017 to 20.4% in 2018 while child poverty rose 2% in those years from 27.1% to 29.1%. Luckily, there are groups looking to reduce child poverty by providing aid to those experiencing hunger. Several non-governmental agencies are working to collect, preserve and distribute food in the country.

Nutrition Among Impoverished Children in Israel

Child poverty in Israel results in children not receiving proper nutrition and reaching their full potential. Welfare services are in place for children who live in extreme poverty in Israel. In 2018, there were 2,934,000 children in Israel. Of these children, poverty affected 14% or 400,000. Families with more children are more likely to experience poverty. In fact, families with an average of five children or more account for two-thirds of child poverty in Israel. Meanwhile, poverty affects 25% of single-family households in Israel. Families who have immigrated from other countries since 1990 account for 16% of all children who are on the welfare support system and about 57.8% of Arab children live in poverty.

State support for child poverty in Israel lacks the nutritional diversity necessary to sustain proper growth and development. About 76.3% of children receiving nutritional support receive only bread and condiments. Meanwhile, reports have determined that 54.5% of children in poverty in Israel have smaller meals than required for proper nutrition or have skipped meals altogether.

The Work of Latet

Latet, meaning “To Give,” works to eliminate child poverty in Israel. Latet has been working to restore dignity and feed families in Israel for more than 20 years. Latet supervises 180 local organizations in Israel aimed at helping Israeli citizens sustain food supply via means of a food bank and other aid programs that attempt to reduce child poverty in Israel. Latet provides assistance to more than 60,000 families monthly by salvaging food that may have otherwise gone to waste. It collects food from grocery stores, food manufacturers and food distributors before sending it to its distribution center. There, the organization sorts, packages and distributes the food to families in need. Latet owns a fleet of trucks for distribution, which occurs to preserve the dignity of families who are able to benefit from the organization’s services.

Latet maintains economic efficiency by maximizing benefits to families. For every one shekel that it attributes to costs of gathering and transporting food, it obtains and distributes nine shekels worth of food. About 19,100 volunteers have provided 452,000 hours of aid that assist child poverty in Israel. Latet has successfully salvaged $25,000,000 in food annually that would have otherwise gone to waste, and distributed it to families in need. Because of the strategic partnership that Latet has with food supply chains in Israel, it has been able to successfully supply much-needed food to help fight child poverty in Israel.

Non-governmental agencies such as Latet are continuing the fight against child poverty in Israel. It is striving to gain support and momentum both in Israel and abroad. The Alternative Poverty Report, which Latet distributes, keeps track of progress and provides different statistics to bring to light the severity of issues of poverty in Israel. The organization has thousands of volunteers and has large public displays to help raise awareness to provide aid to the issue of Israel’s child poverty.

– Carolyn Lyrenmann
Photo: Flickr