USAID FundsIn the southern African country of Zimbabwe, according to Deutsche Welle, the number of individuals requiring emergency food aid has increased from three to four million, as the nation is caught in a severe drought, induced by one of the most forceful El Niño weather patterns of the last 50 years. In response to the crisis, according to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the U.S. government has contributed an additional $10 million adding to the $25 million contributed to drought relief since June 2015 via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

This extra emergency food aid will secure adequate supplies for 600,000 rural Zimbabweans who are experiencing their second straight year of drought due to the devastation generated by El Niño. $5 million of the donation, which was officially handed over to the WFP by U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Harry K. Thomas Jr., will be used to provide emergency food supplies and cash allocations for the most at risk Zimbabweans.

The supplementary funds from USAID will allow the WFP to reach more emergency food aid to Zimbabwe’s most at-risk individuals. The WFP noted that in addition to revitalizing existing operations in eight districts already receiving assistance (Zvishavane, Mudzi, Hwange, Binga, Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Kariba and Mbire) it will add three more districts: Chipinge, Mangwe and Uzuma Maramba Plungwe, to reach those most in need of emergency food aid. “With this funding, we will continue to pursue our goal to reach zero hunger in Zimbabwe by investing in resilience-building activities while meeting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people during this difficult time,” said WFP Zimbabwe County Director Eddie Rowe.

The additional $5 million USAID funds will be used by the WFP to resume its Productive Asset Creation program. This will, said the WFP, allocate monthly food rations or cash transfers to the most disadvantaged Zimbabweans in exchange for labor on community possessions such as irrigation schemes, dip tanks and dams. The assistance will improve rural infrastructure and at the same time improve economic conditions for those rural populations.

In response to the emergency food aid crisis, the WFP also plans to extend its relief program for those who have been hardest hit by food insecurity in Zimbabwe.

The calamitous weather conditions in the country have been a major cause of the extensive crop failure and livestock deaths across the country. The WFP reports that Zimbabwe’s 2014/15 agricultural season recorded a 51 percent decline in maize production compared with the 2013/14 season due to drought, which was exceptionally severe in the south of the country.

These exceptional circumstances have thus propelled the WFP to adjust their relief program and extend it, due to the extreme and ominous impact of El Niño. WFP’s seasonal relief, intended to help individuals through difficult pre-harvest months, typically is in operation from October to March. This year, for the first time, food and cash assistance will continue throughout 2016 and into 2017.

Heidi Grossman

global_consultation_in_geneva
From Oct. 14 to 16, Switzerland’s second-largest city became especially bustling as 900 people poured in with ideas about future humanitarian aid. They were invited by Switzerland to attend the Global Consultation in Geneva.

The Global Consultation in Geneva consisted of a live webcast and Q&A session. The purpose of the consultation was to introduce the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit that will be held in Istanbul in May 2016.

The event attracted a diverse crowd of members from struggling communities, government representatives and everyone in between. The webcast itself is available online for anyone wishing to be involved in future humanitarian aid.

A preceding online consultation posted several questions and proposals regarding preparation, empowerment, safety and more. For example, the World Humanitarian Summit said that affected communities should be given leadership positions when dealing with the crises in their areas.

Recognizing disaster victims as primary agents in the recovery process will increase their involvement in preparation and response tactics.

People from around the globe responded with suggestions and opinions. These responses were used as feedback for the goals announced in the Global Consultation in Geneva. This way, speakers would know ahead of time which concerns to target in their discourses.

One particular concern was strengthening the resilience of countries. Regions prone to natural disasters must be prepared, war-torn areas need fortification and the deeply impoverished want to be told that there is hope.

“Concentrating our efforts on humanitarian action and reconstruction is not a valuable strategy in the light of humankind’s growing exposure to the consequences of poor land use planning and climate change; preventive measures are much more effective than responding to disasters,” said Didier Burkhalter, former president of the Swiss Confederation, during the webcast.

World Food Programme (WFP) released a statement on the first day of the global consultation, revealing its proposals for 2016 humanitarian aid. Like many other humanitarian programs, WFP advocated for further mobilizing affected areas.

“While international actors can support countries in managing disasters, it is national and local actors who first and foremost require stronger capacity for preparedness and response,” said WFP.

As the refugee population increases, WFP requests that taking care of displaced persons be considered a “global good” and countries hosting refugees receive more support.

It hopes that the discussions prompted by these proposals will “bring forth more concrete ideas that will feed into agenda for Summit in Istanbul next year.”

Roughly 80 million people worldwide depend on humanitarian aid. Sixty million have been displaced from their homes.

These figures may seem insurmountable, but they can be overcome if the ideas and goals proposed during the Global Consultation in Geneva take root across the globe. Already, many people want to help, and many more want to be helped.

“No refugee wants to remain a refugee,” said Burkhalter in his speech. “Every child in this world prevented from going to school wants to return to their classrooms as quickly as possible.”

Sarah Prellwitz

Sources: Relief Web, EDA, WFP, World Humanitarian Summit
Photo: Flickr

Malnutrition_in_Honduras
Honduras is the third poorest nation in the Americas. One-third of the population lives below the poverty line and 1.5 million Hondurans or 20% of the population, face hunger on a daily basis.

However, malnutrition is especially problematic for children.

  • In rural Honduras, the problem is especially acute with 48% of the population suffering from malnutrition.
  • 10% of infants born in Honduras are underweight as a result of malnutrition in the country.
  • One out of two children in the poorest communities suffers from stunted growth.
  • 50% of children between the ages of 2 and 6 suffer from anemia.
  • 29% of Honduran children younger than 5 years old suffer from slow growth rates.

Fortunately, several organizations are providing funding to the country to alleviate malnutrition.

World Bank and the United Nations

The growing rates of malnutrition in Honduras have prompted the World Bank and the United Nations to act. Currently, the organization is supporting a program called the AIN-C with the United States and investing $20 million into Honduras.

The money will be divided among nearly 1,000 Honduran communities and benefit 16,000 children.

World Food Programme

In addition, the World Food Programme (WFP) implemented the School Meals Programme in Honduras, which has provided 1.2 million children in primary school with food aid.

The program targets the very poorest communities in the country and provides the children with daily meals in order to encourage school enrollment. In addition to the program, the WFP has implemented the Purchase for Progress (P4P) program.

The P4P is a program that buys products from small farmers in order to help support the community. In partnership with other buyers, they have purchased $60 million in food from local Honduran communities.

Hopefully, as the international community continues to support poverty reducing programs in Honduras, the rate of malnutrition will decrease throughout the country.

Robert Cross

Sources: Hope International, World Bank, World Food Programme
Photo: Wikimedia

School Gardens in Developing Countries

Right now, world leaders are faced with a daunting challenge. At the current rate the population is growing, it is predicted that there will not be enough food to feed the world, especially in developing countries. Fortunately, the introduction of school gardens to education gives hope to the end of global poverty.

For many children in developing countries, students must walk to school at an utmost of 4 miles. Some children even walk to school knowing they will not have a lunch because their family could not afford the cost.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 795 million people are undernourished, meaning one in nine people will not receive enough food to lead a normal, healthy and active life.

Students cannot focus or comprehend new information in the classroom without a proper meal. If students do not learn and go to school, the cycle of poverty will most likely continue.

A solution to this problem exists with school gardens that can help overcome the nutritional crisis. Not only will children be guaranteed a meal during lunch, but they can also learn how to eat a healthy and nutritious meal.

For 14-year-old Marita Wyson, a student from Malawi, her school garden is making a lasting impact on her life and helping her gain the proper nutrients for healthy adolescent development.

“I am able to understand what my teachers are telling me,” she said. “My grandmother doesn’t have to worry so much about how she will provide food for me and my sister.”

With governments partnering with organizations around the world, school gardens are becoming increasingly popular and have shown to give students a better understanding about the environment. If children are introduced to agriculture and the environment at an early age, they are more likely to have a better attitude about the subject.

While the deadline for the U.N.’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals has passed this September, two of the most important goals — cutting poverty in half and making primary education universal — have come a long way since the turn of the century.

While poverty has been cut in half since 1980, primary education lags behind in developing countries including sub-Saharan Africa.

The introduction of these school gardens in developing countries may become the turning point in eradicating global poverty. With the world united, school gardens can make not only an immediate difference but ensure the future of children living in developing countries.

Alexandra Korman

Sources: FAO, KCET, The Christian Science Monitor, Vox World, WFP
Photo: Flickr

Michael Kors: World Food Programme Ambassador
World-renowned fashion designer Michael Kors is helping feed hungry people around the world. Through his Watch Hunger Stop campaign, which launched in 2013, he has delivered 10 million meals to hungry children.

Kors’ brand partnered with the United Nations World Food Programme in 2013. Together, they have sought to create a world with zero hunger.

After first partnering with World Food Programme (WFP), Kors said, “Millions of people all over the world are struggling to feed themselves, and their families, every day. I want to lend my voice and my efforts to this international cause.”

Since then, Kors has been involved in Watch Hunger Stop, where each sale of a Michael Kors 100 Series watch enabled 100 children in need to receive a nutritious meal through WFP.

Additionally, Kors donated 100 meals for every “selfless selfie” which featured fans posing in Michael Kors Watch Hunger Stop t-shirts.

Kors says, “We couldn’t have done this without the compassion and efforts of our fans and customers whose support of this important cause is inspiring.”

In 2014, actress Halle Berry worked alongside Kors for Watch Hunger Stop. This year, actress Kate Hudson will partner with Kors and WFP.

Hudson says, “As a mother, I can’t think of anything more important than raising a healthy and educated generation of children and WFP’s School Meals Program is committed to exactly that. This is a cause that I’m eager to be a part of because I believe we can all make a real and significant difference.”

In October 2015, Hudson and Kors will launch two limited-edition styles of the Bradshaw watch. With every sale of the Bradshaw 100. 100 children will be given a meal through WFP School Meals program. In addition, customers and visitors to Michael Kors retail stores can make a donation to World Food Programme at the register.

In July 2015, Kors was recognized for his efforts to end world hunger; he was named a Global Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme.

“It’s an honor to be named a Global Ambassador Against Hunger, and a further inspiration to me to continue the important work of ending world hunger hand in hand with WFP.”

To encourage others to contribute to the battle with hunger, he says, “We’re making real progress toward our goal of zero hunger. You can see a visible reaction, a positive reaction, when you hand someone a plate of food. Whether you get involved on a local level, a national level or a global level, you really make a difference in people’s lives. We have enough food in the world for everyone. The challenge is to get people to realize this and to work to change.”

To find out more about Kors’ Watch Hunger Stop campaign, visit their website or Michael Kors’ website.

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Michael Kors 1, Michael Kors 2, World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2, Look to the Stars
Photo: Flickr

Food Companies Leading in the Fight Against World Hunger - BORGEN
One out of nine people in the world go to bed hungry according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The United Nations World Food Programme is dedicated to reducing global hunger by offering food aid to developing countries in need. WFP has provided food for more than 90 million people. WFP partners with and receives funding from a few well-known food companies.

Yum! brands started the World Hunger Relief campaign as the largest consumer outreach campaign on the hunger issue. It is the world’s largest restaurant company with more than 40,000 restaurants in 125 countries. It is leading in the fight against global hunger through the campaign, as well as through the mobilization of the 1.5 million employees as advocates for global hunger relief.

Yum! brands’ World Hunger Relief campaign has raised $100 million for WFP since 2007 with the help of global spokesperson Christina Aguilera. Yum! brands include Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnSf2xj6URs

PepsiCo is another partner of WFP. The company is more well known for its food and beverages than for the philanthropic PepsiCo Foundation. PepsiCo Foundation has donated $3.5 million to WFP to produce a food product made of chickpeas to help treat malnutrition in Ethiopia.

Unilever partners with WFP to make people more aware of global hunger through fundraising and campaigns as well as educational plans. They have targeted their consumer base in 13 countries in their campaigns against global hunger. Unilever has also assisted WFP in identifying what are the nutritional needs of the children to better help them.

Kellogg’s, though not a partner with WFP, does important work to fight global hunger. Kellogg’s donates over $20 million per year in food products for disaster relief and hunger. The company also has an initiative called “Breakfast for Better Days.” The initiative is focused on alleviating hunger specifically in South Africa, pledging to feed 25,000 children every school day in 2015. The company will dedicate one billion servings of Kellogg’s snacks and cereal for global poverty alleviation by 2016 and has donated nearly eight million breakfasts to FoodBank South Africa already.

An increase in awareness of global hunger has also increased the number of food companies coming on board to bring global hunger relief.

Iona Brannon

Sources: World Food Programme 1, World Food Programme 2, Hunger to Hope, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Kellogg
Photo: Flickr

 

 

food_assistance
As fighting persists in Syria, life for the population remains a struggle and food security a challenge. Millions of people have been affected amid the escalating violence and the situation is rapidly deteriorating. The U.S. has announced a contribution of $65 million dollars to the World Food Program, which is operating within the Syrian borders.

The armed conflict in Syria, also called the Syrian Civil War, has been ongoing for years since unrest began in 2011. In the wake of the Arab Spring, a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurred across the Arab world. What began as protests against the government gradually morphed into a rebellion after a violent military force used by President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

As of January 2015, the death toll in Syria had risen above 220,000 and approximately 6 million people have been displaced, cut off from basic human needs such as water, food and electricity.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is giving $65 million dollars to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to achieve their goal of providing food assistance to 4 million starving people inside the country and 1.6 million more in the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.

In Syria, the WFP has been running dangerously low on funding but the money infusion from USAID will keep the WFP afloat and operating through November preventing what could have been a complete shutdown.

The U.S. being the biggest donor to the Syrian crisis has contributed more than $4 billion dollars overall, allowing millions of needy families within Syria and those affected outside access to food and clean water.

According to USAID, the U.S. has now given more than $1.2 billion to the WFP for its Syrian operations – including more than $530 million for operations inside Syria and more than $693 million for operations benefiting Syrian refugees.

Although USAID has donated billions to the WPF, the international community has for the most part dropped the ball, forcing the WFP to devalue their food vouchers by half to refugees and lowered the amount of food in monthly household parcels inside Syria. USAID and the WFP continues to reach out to other governments hoping to rally more support and pressure them to take more actions.

In a press release by USAID on Friday, July 31, 2015, Dina Esposito, Director of USAID’s Office of Food for Peace said, “we have heard tragic stories of hungry refugees returning to war-torn Syria and taking children out of school to beg.” He continued, “We hope this new funding will help mitigate such difficult choices and help Syrians as the winter months approach.”

In war torn Syria, families are fleeing what were once their homes, desperately seeking safety. Starving and suffering from illness, people are getting life-saving food, water and medical care, thanks to the WFP and the disaster averting financial rescue from USAID.

Jason Zimmerman

Sources: USAID, Reuters
Photo: Huffington Post

world_food_program
The World Food Programme is waging war on hunger and fighting an uphill battle in six of the world’s hunger hot spots; Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Nepal and the Ebola-affected regions in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Most of the world’s population lives in developing countries. Many of them are mired in extreme poverty, with little hope of access to clean water and often reduced to scavenging for food in trash heaps lining their decrepit shanty town streets, just to feed their children. But in these six emergencies, the situation is even more urgent.

The World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian aid agency fighting hunger, is the food aid branch of the United Nations, working to address hunger across the globe and promoting food security. Workers are on the ground in these areas trying to ease the crisis by providing needy families with life-saving food.

In Syria, the WFP is struggling to meet food need demands, as nearly six million people have been displaced. The ongoing armed conflict in Syria has been growing worse and the situation steadily deteriorating. Although the WFP has been reaching approximately four million people using hand to mouth operations, funding is running low and the need is increasing drastically.

Iraq has been in crisis for years and continues to be. The recent upsurge in violence has left 1.8 million displaced without access to water or food. The WFP reports having reached out to about a million people since June, providing assistance.

Yemen is a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian emergency. With around half of all children under five being stunted (too short for their age), Yemen already stands as having one of the highest child malnutrition rates in the world. Millions of people are being cut off from basic human needs such as food, water and electricity as fighting persists and fuel shortages continue.

Although the food security threat in South Sudan has been stabilized for now, sustainable assistance is essential in the region as the situation remains extremely fragile. The WFP has been able to reach more than 2.5 million people this year but if fighting continues, the situation in South Sudan could turn into a full-blown catastrophe.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25th, 2015 devastated the region, leaving approximately eight million people affected and living without access to food, water or shelter. With the epicenter being just outside of Kathmandu, large populations were displaced and 30 out of 75 districts in the country were ruined. The Nepalese government issued a state of emergency and the WFP is currently in the country providing assistance.

The WFP has responded in force to the Ebola emergency plaguing West Africa and has met the needs of people affected by the outbreak since April in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Along with food assistance, the WFP is also helping get the humanitarian staff and equipment into the crisis zones.

According to www.worldhunger.org, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2012 to 2014. Almost all the hungry people, 791 million, live in developing countries, representing 13.5 percent, or one in eight, of the population of developing counties.

When disaster strikes or when war tears through a nation, humanity can be taken to the breaking point. With help from organizations like the World Food Programme, families fighting for survival can find some relief and possibly some hope.

Jason Zimmerman

Sources: WFP, World Hunger
Photo: Action Against Hunger

soya

Malnutrition, an ugly consequence of poverty. runs rampant in developing countries. In Afghanistan, the World Food Programme (WFP) is introducing a source of protein less known there. Soya could help stop hunger in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Malnutrition is defined as the lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things or being unable to use the food that one does eat. Malnutrition is commonly due to the absence of quality food available to eat and is often related to high food prices and poverty. A lack of breastfeeding may contribute, as may a number of infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis, pneumonia, malaria and measles, which increase nutrient requirements.

There are two main types of undernutrition: protein-energy malnutrition and dietary deficiencies. Protein-energy malnutrition has two severe forms, marasmus (a lack of protein and calories) and kwashiorkor (a lack of just protein), both of which can be fatal without quick intervention and care.

Soya has been widely used in China for centuries and was even considered one of the five holy crops along with rice, wheat, barley and millet. Soya is very versatile in diets and very healthy, with a high level of complete protein, which means that they contain significant amounts of all nine essential amino acids.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that foods containing soy protein may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Soya is fairly inexpensive. It’s much cheaper than meat or other protein-rich vegetables, making it a perfect fit to deliver a protein punch to a poverty-stricken nation such as Afghanistan.

Rates of malnutrition in Afghanistan are incredibly high. More than 40% of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished; nearly 10% of children and 9% of women of reproductive age are acutely malnourished, and almost one-fourth of children are underweight.

Soya, with all its health benefits, was virtually non-existent in Afghanistan and very few people knew of its value. The WFP saw soya as a possible answer to the malnutrition poisoning the country and began establishing it in 2014.

According to the WFP, more than 8,000 Afghan farmers were trained in how to grow the protein-rich bean, with over 84 metric tons of seed handed out to farmers. Six factories have now been established in different parts of the country, and several types of soya products are now available in the Afghan markets. The WFP in partnership with Nutrition Education International is teaching communities in Afghanistan to familiarize themselves with soya and several public awareness workshops have been established and are being attended by thousands of people.

Afghanistan is unquestionably one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the world, and malnutrition is a genuine danger affecting the lives of its people. Efforts by the WFP and the introduction of soya with its nutritional benefits could certainly be instrumental in relief for a population plagued by years of war and poverty.

Jason Zimmerman

Sources: WFP, Food and Development (Young)
Photo:
Flickr

World’s Poorest Need Just $160 Per Year to Eradicate Hunger
A new report released last week by the United Nations has predicted that only $160 per year for each individual currently living in extreme poverty is necessary to eradicate hunger in the world by 2030.

The joint report, which was prepared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP), and International Fund for Agricultural Development, argued that such funding to eradicate hunger should be provisioned through both the transfer of cash and certain investments considered supportive of impoverished areas.

In order to meet the current base poverty line of $1.25 per day stipulated by the World Bank, the UN hopes that cash transfers will assist in the immediate elimination of hunger. Officials estimate that this undertaking would cost $116 billion per year, of which $75 billion would be designated to rural areas.

The UN has also estimated that an additional $151 billion per year will be necessary to fund “pro-poor” investment projects designed to support the predicted decreases in the frequency of poverty while also encouraging sustainability. Such endeavors could include the expansion of irrigation systems, the construction of more effective sanitation systems or infrastructural repair.

The FAO stated within their report: “Eradicating world hunger sustainably by 2030 will require an estimated additional $267 billion per year on average for investments in rural and urban areas and social protection so that poor people have access to food and can improve their livelihoods.”

The FAO estimates that over 800 million people across the earth still do not have access to adequate and sustainable food resources. A large portion of these people have been found to live in rural areas, a geographical prevalence which has caused many organizations to shift the focus of development projects towards rural regions in recent years.

Noting the necessity for increased efforts to eradicate hunger, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the FAO, recently stated: “If we adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach, by 2030, we would still have more than 650 million people suffering from hunger.”

Graziano also argued, “The message of the report is clear: Given that this ($267 billion) is more or less equivalent to 0.3 percent of the global GDP, I personally think it is a relatively small price to pay to end hunger.”

The Sustainable Development Goals, which are new objectives designed by the United Nations to replace the outdated Millennium Development Goals, will be completed this fall and currently have created 17 different goals regarding global development. The second Sustainable Development Goal is focused on the issues of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition.

In regards to the structure of plans outlined by the new report, Graziano stated: “We are championing an approach that combines social protection with additional targeted investments in rural development, agriculture and urban areas that will chiefly benefit the poor.”

James Thornton

Sources: Business Day Online, Reuters, India Times
Photo: NDTV