Hunger in Niger
About 20% of people in Niger are food insecure due to a growing population, regional conflict and environmental challenges. Though that percentage is rising, international organizations and governments are finding innovative ways to end hunger in Niger.

Threats to Food Security in Niger

According to the World Bank, Niger’s population is increasing annually by 3.8%, well above the average for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Coupled with a large number of refugees from countries like Mali and Nigeria, an extremely high birth rate is driving Niger’s population growth and ultimately causing food resources to become scarce.

As a result of the conflicts on the borders of Mali and in the Lake Chad Basin, an influx of refugees has migrated to Niger. Further, these regional conflicts have caused widespread displacement among Nigerien citizens domestically, resulting in a major displacement crisis. According to the Norweigan Refugee Council, Niger’s displacement crisis is severe and worsening from the lack of international aid and media coverage. Because food resources are scarce, this displacement crisis is intensifying hunger in Niger.

In addition to the upsurge in Niger’s population, environmental challenges pose a threat to food security. Niger experiences an annual dry or “lean,” season where a lack of rainfall limits crop production and thus lowers the availability of food. A dry season is regular and Niger’s people expect it; however, in the past 20 years, rainfall and temperature have become increasingly irregular, causing more severe food shortages. Nigerians are concerned that desertification and rising global temperatures will only extend and intensify the dry season, disrupting the livelihoods of the majority of rural Nigerien households that rely predominantly on agriculture to survive.

Although food insecurity affects all types of Nigerien communities, it more heavily affects two demographic groups: women and children. Women and children in Niger are more likely to experience malnourishment, which leads to higher rates of anemia. According to the World Food Programme, estimates determined that 73% of Nigerien children under the age of 5 and 46% of Nigerien women are anemic.

The International Community’s Role in Ending Hunger in Niger

Countries like the United States are supporting programs like the World Food Programme, Mercy Corps and Doctors Without Borders to relieve both the immediate and long-term effects of food insecurity in Niger. Each organization takes unique approaches to end hunger in Niger.

The World Food Programme, for instance, focuses on land rehabilitation programs that provide food and financial aid to families who are trying to recover unproductive farmland. The hope is that healthy land will allow agriculture in Niger to be prolific in the future.

Mercy Corps works with mostly Nigerien citizens on projects that encourage people in Niger to diversify their livelihoods in order to ensure that families have several opportunities to earn income in the event that climatic shocks should continue to stunt the agricultural industry. It helped more than 130,000 people in Niger in 2018.

While the World Food Programme and Mercy Corps focus largely on developing a self-sufficient Nigerien economy, Doctors Without Borders works to alleviate the immediate consequences of hunger in Niger by treating acute malnutrition, especially in children. The organization provided 225 families with relief kits in Tillabéri.

While regional conflict, a rapidly growing population and unpredictable weather further food insecurity in Niger, the international community is seeking a multidimensional solution to stimulate the Nigerien economy, end hunger in Niger and help communities flourish.

Courtney Bergsieker
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Comoros
Comoros is a group of three volcanic islands located between Africa and Madagascar with a population of just over 800,000. Mount Karthala, which is located on the island of Ngazidja and the bigger of the two active volcanoes in Comoros, has frequent eruptions. The last largest eruption took place in 2005 and caused thousands of citizens to flee. Here are five facts about poverty in Comoros.

5 Facts About Poverty in Comoros

  1. Limited Economic and Trade Opportunities – Comoros relies heavily on its exported goods. The three main crops that are important to the country’s economy are vanilla, cloves and ylang-ylang, all of which people use for perfume essence and essential oils. Most of the earnings from these crops go towards natural disasters that occur regularly, primarily fires and severe weather.
  2. Rapid Population Growth – The population has steadily been growing since the 1970s. There are approximately four births to every one death. According to the World Population Review, the average adult woman has about 4.7 babies. The population should continue rising at an even pace.
  3. High Dropout Rates – Comoros has access to two different types of schools; the primary and secondary school system that France established and the traditional Islamic school system. Despite access to an education program, the dropout rate is continuing to steadily rise. Causes of this rate are teacher strikes from lack of proper pay, student strikes from the continuous school shutdowns and political instability. Students who do finish school and obtain a higher education typically do so in another country and do not return after.
  4. Inadequate Health Care Access – Comoros lacks a public health care system. Despite this, the country has been able to keep many of its illness rates low, including HIV and tuberculosis. Many believe that access to clean water that is available to over 90 percent of the country contributed to this. The highest cause of death in Comoros is malnutrition which caused nearly 45.1 percent of deaths between 2007 and 2017.
  5. Lack of Natural Resources – Deforestation is causing the natural forests to decrease due to the lack of re-growing trees. With the increase of population, agricultural lands have less time to regenerate and the food source to decline as a result. These factors and changing weather patterns are affecting natural resources in Comoros at a rapid pace leaving the country in a vulnerable state. Heavy rains and a decline in forest protection are causing floods and landslides, which causes more damage to already weakening agricultural fields. It also causes soil erosion to silt the coral reefs and disturbs the marine life ecosystem and the livelihood of fishing due to fish being Comoros’ main source of protein.

In studying poverty in Comoros, not everything is bad. An NGO called Dahari stemmed from the Engagement for Sustainable Development (ECDD) in 2013 and has since been working in the Comoros islands to provide sustainable agriculture, technology to farmers and increase environmental protection. It provides aid towards controlling the environmental factors and shaping landscapes for future generations and increase the economy. The organization also uses ecotourism to help manage marine life and natural terrestrial resources. Dahari works closely with local communities to achieve peaceful collaboration and help adapt locals to the new technologies and ways they can increase their agricultural development.

The Comoros government continues to work towards its country’s improvement. Despite its efforts, these five facts about poverty in Comoros show that the rapid rise in population and ecosystem decline that changing weather patterns caused continues to affect the country’s efforts to climb out of poverty. With much-needed help, Comoros can work towards rising out of poverty and work towards becoming a resilient and prosperous country.

– Chelsea Wolfe
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Overpopulation in Asia
Asia is home to almost 60 percent of the people living around the globe. It is the world’s largest and most diverse continent and occupies more than four-fifths of the Eurasian landmass. The majority of Asia’s 48 countries have populations of between 10 and 100 million. Here are the top 10 facts about overpopulation in Asia.

Top 10 Facts About Overpopulation in Asia

  1. Asia is the largest continent in the world and nearly 60 percent of the world’s current population inhabits it. It has the highest rate of growth with its population increasing four times in the 20th century.
  2. Asia constitutes roughly one-third of the world’s land area and is home to just over half of its population. The continent includes the two most populous countries, China (1.39 billion) and India (1.35 billion). Some of the other overpopulated countries in Asia include Indonesia (267 million), Pakistan (212 million), Japan (126.5 million), Vietnam (95.5 million) and Turkey (82.3 million).
  3. Many expect Asia’s population to grow by 750 million to reach 5.2 billion by 2050. In addition to this, India may surpass China as the world’s most populous country, increasing to 1.7 billion people from the current 1.35 billion. India might record the largest population increase of any single country over the next 33 years.
  4. More than half of all people around the globe (3.97 billion) live in just seven countries, according to a U.N. estimate and four of these countries are in Asia. Other than India and China, Asian countries like Pakistan and Indonesia have large populations too.
  5. South Asia has the highest prevalence of overcrowding in the developing world. A third of its urban population resides in houses that lack sufficient living areas. South East Asia follows with over a quarter of the urban population living in overcrowded housing. Asia’s developing cities are focussed on building freeways and skyscrapers which do not leave enough residential space and contribute to overcrowding in the continent.
  6. The Asia Pacific region is urbanizing rapidly which brings enormous challenges to landscapes and lifestyles. Urbanization causes inequalities between the rich and poor and prompts the poor to live in slums and hinders economic growth. According to the World Bank, inadequate infrastructure, as well as a failure to deal with environmental issues like pollution and water shortages causes people to struggle with congestion pressures and leads to a failure of a country’s economy.
  7. Urbanization in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangkok and Jakarta also demonstrates a lack of infrastructure. People migrate to cities in search of better jobs because rural areas do not offer them. However, these individuals have to move to informal settlements like slums due to a lack of adequate living spaces. These places usually lack proper water supply, electricity, sanitation and transportation and make living conditions difficult.
  8. There is a significant relationship between overpopulation and medicine. Due to the advancement in medicine, mortality rates have gone down which has led to a population explosion. In addition, there is a lack of food supply which causes deficiency diseases and starvation in overcrowded areas.
  9. The dramatic growth in the population of Asia is the result of an increase in the number of people surviving the reproductive age. Population growth accompanies changes in fertility rates due to better education about birth control. According to the World Bank, the aging population and low fertility rates are to blame for the increase in population as 36 percent of the world’s population over 65 currently live in East Asia. The World Bank projects that the 211 million people living in East Asia will rise over time.
  10. Many countries in Asia have relied on their young population, however, with changing demographics, they may lose around 15 percent of their working-age population by 2040. Higher incomes and better education have not only led to longer life expectancy and lower fertility rates but have also caused families to move and changed social values.

Overall, overpopulation in Asia is rapidly on the rise and is a cause for concern. It has a serious impact on the socio-economic fabric of this region and can lead to issues like instability of economy and poverty.

– Isha Akshita Mahajan
Photo: Flickr

Overpopulation in India

According to recent studies, India is set to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by as early as 2024. In a country where 25 percent of the population is already living on less than $2 a day, many fear the growing population will only make the poverty situation worse.

Although rapid population growth does not necessarily cause poverty, there is a clear connection between high fertility rates and poverty. In developing countries with high fertility rates, life expectancy and per capita income (two important indicators of well being) typically remain low.

The good news is that fertility rates in India have dropped significantly as of late, down to 2.2 births per woman. Yet the population is still growing at the world’s fastest rate at nearly 15 million people per year. Whatever measures are taken to combat overpopulation in India, it remains clear that overpopulation is a pressing issue with far-reaching implications on the environment, poverty and health. The following are 10 facts regarding overpopulation in India.

10 Facts About Overpopulation in India

  1. According to U.N. estimates, India’s current population of 1.32 billion is projected to reach 1.8 billion by 2050.
  2. Indians account for nearly one-sixth of the global population and one in three people living in global poverty, according to statistics from Yale University.
  3. The fertility rate of Indian women has more than halved over the last 40 years, down to 2.2 births per woman. Falling fertility rates are important in that they typically correspond with rising life expectancy and quality of life.
  4. Around 31 percent of Indians currently live in urban areas, but that number is projected to climb to near 50 percent (830 million people) by 2050.
  5. Currently, India is home to five megacities; this number is slated to increase to seven by 2030. A megacity is a city of more than 10 million people.
  6. Delhi is projected to remain the second most populous city in the world in 2030, adding 9.6 million inhabitants in that time.
  7. While only 300,000 men agreed to vasectomies in 2008-09, more than 5.5 million women agreed to use an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCDs) to avoid pregnancy. These procedures are sponsored by the government to promote population control.
  8. The number of married women who regularly use contraceptives has gone up from 13 percent in 1970 to 48 percent in 2009.
  9. Indians have added almost a decade to their life expectancy in the past 25 years, with average life expectancy up to 69 years.
  10. India registered 90,000 fewer infant deaths in 2016 as compared to 2015.

Although the statistics can appear staggering, there is still reason to be optimistic. In India, trends in women’s education, fertility rates and quality of life have all shown improvements in recent history. This is important since improvements in these areas all correspond to decreasing poverty and population levels.

Furthermore, since countries with higher levels of income, education and access to health care typically have lower birth rates, experts are beginning to urge the government to focus on the development of these areas. Others are advocating for a government enforced family planning strategy, much like China’s one-child policy.

There is certainly overpopulation in India, but with awareness of the issue and sustained efforts to combat it, both poverty and population can be brought under control.

– Taylor Pace
Photo: Flickr

facts about poverty in China
China is a heavily populated country in East Asia. Since the financial crisis in 2008, China has become the second largest economy in the world and the number one contributor to the world’s overall growth. With the impact China has and its status as a major tourist attraction, many people don’t realize that poverty within the nation’s walls is still quite common.

In as recent as 2015, there were 55 million poor people in rural areas. The World Bank explains that because of China’s fast-growing economy, it has brought on challenges such as high inequality, environmental sustainability issues and poverty. Thankfully, China is aware of these problems and works to eradicate poverty within its walls. With this in mind, here are the top 10 facts about poverty in China.

 

10 Facts About Poverty in China

  1. China has the goal to completely overcome poverty by 2020, which would make the country an overall prosperous society.
  2. Just in 2016, China was able to help put 12.4 rural people above the poverty line. This surpassed their 2016 goal of bringing at least 10 million people out of poverty.
  3. Around 775,000 officials went to villages in the end of 2016 because of a CPC program that hoped to aid poverty relief. This is one of the reasons China’s poverty numbers decreased immensely during this year.
  4. However, towards the end of 2016, China still had 43.35 million people under the poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about $334) in annual income.
  5. Regardless of existing struggles, China brought 55.64 million rural people out of poverty from 2013 to 2016.
  6. Because China has such a large population, officials are worried about population sizes in major cities. Consequently, rural residents are often forced to move to the outskirts of third-tier cities, which often have little infrastructure and a setting that makes it easier for Chinese residents to fall under the poverty line. Additionally, these towns often lack healthcare and education services because there are not enough teachers or medical care workers in these areas.
  7. With so many loans taken out for poverty assistance, Chinese debt in 2000 to 2014 rose from $2.1 trillion to $28.2 trillion. This amount is projected to increase by around 300 percent of GDP by the year 2022.
  8. In 2017, China lifted 12.89 million rural people from poverty which put the poverty rate at 3.1 percent compared to its 4.5 percent the previous year.
  9. Around 500 million people, or 40 percent of the population within China, survive on $5.50 per day or less.
  10. Unfortunately, corruption has emerged within this topic — there have been upwards of 1,800 people investigated for embezzling antipoverty funds and other crimes of the like.

 

A Bright Future

Even though these ten facts about poverty in China demonstrates the improvements necessary to eradicate poverty completely, amazing strides have already been taken by the country itself and the global community at large. Even after these accomplishments, China is not stopping the fight — the nation continues to work towards eliminating poverty completely. Thankfully, poverty in this nation is getting both national and international attention, making it an issue far from being ignored and thus better off for a solution.

– McCall Robinson

Photo: Flickr

most overpopulated citiesAs the population of the world keeps growing, the Earth’s resources are shrinking and being unevenly distributed. This overpopulation leads to a declining ratio of food producers to food consumers.

There are not enough resources or available land for many struggling individuals to survive. Thus, they must flock to urban areas where there is rapid growth in the world economy. In cities, people can specialize in different fields within the industrial and service sectors. However, there are too many people trying to fill these small confines of city life.

As cited on the National Geographic website, “in cities, two of the most pressing problems facing the world today also come together: poverty and environmental degradation.” This is due to the vast degradation of resources in urban settings and the exacerbation of poverty. This is especially prominent in an analysis of the most overpopulated cities in the world.

The Five Most Overpopulated Cities and Their Populations

  1. Sao Paulo, Brazil: 21,297,000
  2. Mumbai, India: 21,357,000
  3. Shanghai, China: 24,484,000
  4. Delhi, India: 26,454,000
  5. Tokyo, Japan: 38,140,000

The most overpopulated cities tend to be in developing countries where poverty is rampant due to this overcrowding. Even in developed countries, the cities listed deal with intense smog and pollution problems that exacerbate health and poverty issues.

In less developed regions, there is a higher death rate for children and adolescents. Unsanitary living conditions threaten survival rates. This is especially evident in urban areas where crowding is so common that slums have grown rapidly.

In order to combat poverty in the most overpopulated cities, education and economic growth are critical. By engaging the government to work with its community, the government will better understand which challenges should be addressed first. Therefore, education, paired with improved living conditions in cities, will help ensure children are surviving into adulthood.

These are the key ingredients to overcoming poverty and environmental pollution in overpopulated urban areas.

– Caysi Simpson

Photo: Flickr

Comoros Poverty RateLocated between the eastern coast of Africa and Madagascar with a population of over 800,000 people is the Comoros. The country is comprised of three islands, Ngazidja, Mwali and Ndzouani. According to The World Bank, about 45 percent of the total population falls below the poverty line. Inadequate healthcare, poor education and a rising population are the main contributing factors to the Comoros poverty rate.

Healthcare
The results of a 2014 World Health Organization report show that over half of all deaths in the Comoros are due to maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions. The country severely lacks access to quality communal healthcare. With less than 5 percent of the budget dedicated to healthcare, operational facilities remain scarce. Fortunately, the country has seen progress in reducing the incidence of malaria. Spraying campaigns and the distribution of insecticide-treated nets across the three islands have greatly aided in its decline. The country has also seen noteworthy advancement in the under-five mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio.

Education
High repetition, increased dropout rates and poor learning outcomes remain problematic factors for the Comoros. High levels of illiteracy and dependency on foreign aid hinder economic development. However, according to The Global Partnership for Education, the Comoros has stepped up their access to quality education. The UNICEF Annual Report for 2016 shows the number of schools providing preschool education reaching almost 50 percent. Children are gradually starting to benefit from valuable education through the expansion of social, cognitive, motor and emotional skills.

Population
At a glance, the Comoros appears to be a very lightly populated country. But when compared to other regions, the Comoros ranks 25th in population density in the world. This ranking is predicted to increase, leading to more population pressure. The rising population has already led to widespread poverty in the form of limited land, lack of resources and unemployment. As a result, at least 150,000 people live abroad. Citizens are moving to countries like France in search of more space and essentially, a better life.

The Comoros poverty rate has started to improve thanks to a reformed poverty reduction strategy. In 2014, the country created a new growth policy that aims to strengthen the economy. Government, quality of life and resilience are all a major focus. The World Bank has also partnered with the Comoros in hopes of endorsing shared growth and increasing employment. Statistics verify that development for the region is slow, but eliminating poverty is a main priority.

Emilee Wessel

Photo: Flickr

Population Growth in Nigeria
Africa is projected to account for more than 50 percent of the global population increase between 2015 and 2050. Future efforts to tackle poverty on the continent, therefore, will have to take a larger number of people into account. According to a study published by the U.N., Nigeria is expected to be the third most densely populated country in the world by 2050. The projected population growth in Nigeria, combined with its widespread poverty, will have consequences for the entire country.

It may be challenging to create primary and secondary schooling opportunities, health care facilities, clinics and transport at a rate sufficient to keep up with population growth in Nigeria. As a result, poor households may continue in poverty due to insufficient access to facilities that can improve employment and health prospects.

High unemployment rates in Nigeria are also an area of concern, as jobs are projected to become more scarce in the future due to rapid population growth. In 2015, approximately 70 percent of Nigeria’s youth population experienced either unemployment or underemployment. This statistic is unlikely to improve unless a conscious effort is made to create jobs in the country and to improve skills and technical knowledge.

Resources in the country such as food, water, energy and electricity are currently sparse and are likely to become progressively more so as the population increases. Active measures to expand these resources include providing financial incentives for farming and food industries and setting up local clean water supplies and power sources to sustain individual communities.

Nigeria’s growing population could have some positive effects if humanitarian efforts to eradicate poverty are directed toward younger generations. Increasing numbers of working age individuals can enhance economic growth and output if those individuals are equipped with training and education to improve their employability.

The issue of exponential population growth also needs to be targeted at its core. Quality family planning services need to be made readily accessible in rural Nigerian communities in order to ensure that households are well-informed about the responsibilities and costs involved in raising a child.

Population growth in Nigeria may well strain the country’s resources, but if appropriate measures are enacted, Nigeria will be sufficiently prepared for the years to come.

Tanvi Ambulkar

Photo: Flickr

World Population Day

Every year on July 11, the international community holds World Population Day, a day dedicated to observing population issues. These issues become more challenging as the world’s population continues to grow rapidly. As of March 2016, the number of people in the world was approximately 7.4 billion and is expected to reach 8.5 billion people by 2030, according to the U.N.

The World Population Day theme this year was investing in teenage girls. The day marked the launch of the Babaenihan campaign, which will work to secure the success of young girls in the Philippines.

The world’s fastest growing population is adolescents, according to UNFPA. About 25% of the world’s population is made up of adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 24, said UNPFA. In developing countries, adolescent girls constitute up to one-third of the population.

Adolescent girls are constantly faced with challenges. Despite their young age, they are often considered eligible for marriage and ready for motherhood. These premature life changes prevent girls from completing their education.

Even those that can remain in school lack access to invaluable information about human rights and health, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

The alarming increase of the youth population does not match the access in education to women’s rights and reproductive health. Pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for girls between 15 and 19 globally, according to WHO.

In the Philippines, young girls represent 10% of the country’s 100 million people population, according to UNFPA. The country has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Southeast Asia. It was the only country in the Asia-Pacific region whose rate of early pregnancy did not decrease but doubled from 6.3% in 2002 to 13.6% in 2013, according to the survey released by the University of the Philippines Population Institute.

Adolescent girls hold huge potential for the country’s future; however, their success depends on their access to the right information, help shaping their skills and empowerment. Ensuring their prosperity will increase the positive development of the country.

The Babaenihan campaign will use policies and programs to increase opportunities for young girls in the Philippines through investing in their education, health and wellbeing. As the Philippines Vice President, Leni Robredo, expressed in a speech read by her daughter, education for young girls is an especially important solution for reducing poverty.

Erica Rawles

Photo: Flickr