Key articles and information on world hunger.

Notre-Dame RepairsThe cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is a cultural, religious, and architectural icon that has stood at the center of Paris for nearly a millennium. For many, this cathedral is a sacred place of refuge, an escape from the world or a childhood memory. On April 15, a fire nearly destroyed the cathedral, severely damaging the spire and roof of the building. In the aftermath of this tragedy, news headlines focused on the noteworthy flurry of donations from billionaires and small donors pledged to Notre-Dame repairs.

After reaching nearly $1 billion just days after the fire, several articles marveled at how easy it was to raise these funds when investing the same amount of money and public support for other pressing issues seems so difficult. In a few op-ed pieces, authors even expressed the sadness and disappointment of how vigorous the funding was to repair a church whose religion preaches helping the poor and oppressed. This begs the question of what else could $1 billion be used for? Here are five different ways the funds for the Notre-Dame repairs could have been used.

What $1 Billion in Aid Could Do Around the World

    1. International Aid: In 2017, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) spent more than $1 billion on agricultural aid worldwide, which includes investment in capital for agricultural and technological development. USAID spent a similar amount on maternal and child health worldwide to treat cases of illness and provide medical technology to assist in childbirth.
    2. World Hunger: Through local partnerships and government leadership, the Feed the Future Inititiaive spent roughly $3.3 billion in agricultural and rural loans between 2011 and 2017 to mobilize farmers and families in developing countries. The average spending per year for this program amounts to about half of what was donated to the Notre-Dame repairs ($0.5 billion), yet the progress made through this initiative has added an estimated value of nearly $42 billion in economic output.
    3. The Refugee Crisis: The Office of the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has requested $783 million to aid the South Sudan crisis where there are an estimated 2.4 million refugees. It raised $783 million in just 24 hours after the Notre-Dame fire. The funds UNHCR has requested for the crises in the countries of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Afghanistan comes to around $879 million. That money would aid more than a million refugees collectively in the three countries.
    4. Homelessness: In Beijing, China, homelessness is an increasing problem. The Fengtai Shelter, located in Beijing, serves almost 3,000 people annually and receives just $1.2 million each year in aid from the government. With $1 billion, nearly 800 similar homeless shelters could receive $1.2 million in aid.
    5. Climate Change Relief: Alaskan residents have witnessed dramatic changes where whole villages have been sliding into rivers. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) said relocating one such village, Newtok, would require anywhere between $80 to $130 million. Given this analysis, $1 billion could be used to relocate roughly ten such villages in Alaska, impacting thousands of people who are being displaced by increasing water levels.

Here are just five different ways that $1 billion could be used towards important problems in the world. These examples go to show the magnitude of what can be done with $1 billion to help the poor and oppressed. Although it is hearting to see so many people rally together to help with the Notre-Dame repairs, it would be an amazing leap to see that kid of dedication put towards humanitarian aid efforts.

Luke Kwong

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Facts about Albert EinsteinEinstein changed our scientific understanding of the universe. He was also and continues to be a palpable figure in the zeitgeist. After receiving global acclaim for his research, culminating with the Nobel Prize in 1922, Einstein put his newly acquired fame to good use. He used his platform on the world stage to promote and fight for causes of global development and unity. Below are 10 interesting facts about Albert Einstein.

10 Interesting Facts About Albert Einstein

  1. Einstein was a peacekeeper. Einstein was an ardent pacifist. While World War I raged across Europe, many of Einstein’s colleagues put forth a “Manifesto of Ninety-Three.” The document declared their unequivocal support for the war. Einstein attempted to put forth a counter-manifesto to no avail. Einstein continued to be a fervent ambassador for peace for the rest of his life.
  2. He understood the political turmoil that comes from world hunger. Einstein once observed, “An empty stomach is not a good political advisor.” The physicist was a witness to the effects of poverty. After his emigration from Nazi Germany, Einstein saw how the need for food and basic resources created instability within a country and had the potential to engulf the world in chaos.
  3. He believed in equality. Einstein also put his name, along with thousands of other signatories, on the Magnus Hirschfeld petition. This petition was a direct infringement of paragraph 175 of the German penal code which outlawed homosexuality in Germany.
  4. He didn’t claim any nationality. Einstein was the 20th century’s man without a country. In other words, he was a self-proclaimed “citizen of the world.” He was a passionate supporter of a world government, which is a far-reaching body that can rise above nationalist tendencies. As he wrote in his open letter to the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, Einstein was fearful that institutions such as the United Nations would be toothless bureaucracies. He advocated for a global, apolitical body that would be above all governments. Furthermore, he believed that it would broaden the U.N.’s powers above individual nations. This, in Einstein’s opinion, would be the surest way to prevent another world war and the use of newly acquired nuclear weapons.
  5. Einstein was a refugee. Another among this list of facts about Albert Einstein concerns how he was a refugee from Germany. Adolf Hitler’s regime threatened Jewish intellectuals like Einstein. Due to this, he was one of 125,000 Germans who immigrated to the U.S. to escape persecution in the years between 1933 and 1945.
  6. He was a supporter of his Jewish background. Following the atrocities against the Jewish population during the Nazi regime, Einstein became an outspoken supporter of the establishment of a Jewish state. While he supported the creation of Israel, Einstein was not sold on the necessary characteristics of a state. Some characteristics, for example, are borders or a standing army. So, while he would lobby for the support of such a nation, he never lost touch with his pacifist roots. Einstein was even offered the position of Israeli President in 1952. He declined the opportunity, stating: “I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it.”
  7. He was a passionately curious person. Einstein was “passionately curious” his whole life. Therefore, access to education and information and general love for learning were close to his heart. He was aware of the threat that figures such as Senator Joseph McCarthy posed to the world. He condemned McCarthy’s tactics of public shaming as a “matter of using people as tools for the prosecution of others that one wants to label as ‘unorthodox.'” Einstein was keen to point out the dangers that McCarthy reflected blatant attacks on intellectualism and educational freedom and access.
  8. He fought for civil rights. Following the Second World War, Einstein could not help but notice some disheartening similarities between the treatment of German Jews with the institutional segregation and racism in America. Einstein infamously turned down engagements to speak at prestigious American universities. Instead, he opted to speak at the historically-black Lincoln University in 1946. He is quoted as saying, “The separation of the races is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. And I do not intend to be quiet about it.” This was quite controversial at the time.
  9. Einstein was a humanitarian. In 1927, Einstein was a participant and supporter of the League Against Imperialism in Brussels. This organization was a transnational anti-imperialist organization that pushed back against rampant colonialism and colonial power. Einstein and others felt that it would help countries that have been negatively impacted by the world’s colonial powers.
  10. He was a socialist. In order to promote a freer and fair society, Einstein was in favor of socialism over capitalism as the reigning social, political and economic ideology. In his article, “Why Socialism?” Einstein stated, “I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils…the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.” Einstein felt that socialism would instill in people a sense of collective responsibility to one another, “in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”

A Genius of Injustice

Einstein was nothing short of tenacious. He would continue to speak out against foreign and domestic injustices where he saw them. Near the end of his life, Einstein saw his voice as one of his greatest assets. He understood that those who can speak out also share an obligation to do so. This was, perhaps, the most important on this list of interesting facts about Albert Einstein.

Though some of the ideas that Einstein promoted never came to be, he never stopped promoting global unity. These facts about Albert Einstein only scratch the surface of his work. However, the continued efforts of organizations such as the United Nations and UNICEF carry out the values he believed in. They have taken up the mantel to ensure global health, stability and development.

– Connor Dobson
Photo: Flickr

Rising World HungerAccording to a recent report regarding world hunger trends in 2018, titled “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, ” over 820 million people worldwide are undernourished, up from 811 million in 2017. This is continuing a fairly recent trend of rising world hunger since 2016 when the number increased for the first time in over 10 years. Prior to that, world hunger had been decreasing at a fairly consistent, slow rate since 1992. This marked a trend of over 20 years.

History of Rising World Hunger

Overall, this is not the first time there has been an increase. From 2000 to 2005, numbers began increasing for the first time since 1992, before decreasing again. That trend continued for about ten years, decreasing at a solid rate until 2015. In 1992, the number of individuals undernourished in the world was just over one billion.

In 2015, the number was 784 million. Likewise, over 200,000 people were freed from hunger during this time. This is about a 22 percent decrease in the number of hungry people. This was all accomplished over the span of 25 years.

Why Rising World Hunger Is a Cause for Concern

Considering the history of overcoming an increase in world hunger, is this recent increase cause for concern? According to the UN report, it is still a cause for alarm.

The report details that world hunger is rising due to multiple supplemental factors. For one, the global economic downturn of 2008-2009 caused uneven recovery. It has also led to unstable GDP growth. Reliance on global commodities, which were disrupted around that time, has caused volatility and unpredictability in the economies of those countries. Due to these events, households often experience a decrease in purchasing power. As a result, they cannot purchase as much food.

What Can Be Done?

Economic stability would alleviate hunger for many people, so what can be done to increase economic stability in these countries? According to the UN, this has much to do with socioeconomic inequalities. In the report, economic growth is not always enough to ensure the reduction of poverty and hunger. Even if a country’s GDP is rising, inequality means that those of lower socioeconomic standing will not see nearly as much of the positive impacts.

The report ultimately calls for countries experiencing severe hunger problems to implement policy change in protecting the income of those living in poverty. Additionally, it identifies the need for diversification of economies to avoid over-dependence on global commodities. Reliance on more unstable commodities does provide massive short-term profits and boons for the GDP. However, that reliance damages the integrity of those economies in the long-term run.

Overall, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN believes there are ways to fight rising world hunger. Tackling inequalities via effective policy and strengthening the consistency of individual economies will be the keys to reversing this trend.

A Number of Efforts

Other nonprofit organizations such as Rise Against Hunger, The Hunger Project, and Heifer International are also taking the approach of targeting long-term stability in order to reverse the trend that world hunger is rising. For instance, Rise Against Hunger has initiatives in countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Mali and Senegal. Each initiative focuses on giving impoverished communities the tools to become more economically stable. All of these organizations have their own similar initiatives which follow the UN report.

Ultimately, with the continued effort on the part of the UN, nonprofit organizations and individual action, world hunger can be overcome. Though world hunger is rising, the trend is still reversible. The fight is far from over.

– Jade Follette
Photo: Flickr

10 Innovations That Tackle World HungerOne of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is the elimination of poverty. This is necessary to achieve worldwide prosperity. Billions of dollars have been spent on projects attempting to eradicate and reduce poverty. However, many of these projects have failed. The eradication of poverty has been an international focus for several years. While its causes are worrying, its effects are more damaging.

As poverty grows, individuals and communities around the world have been motivated to act. Private companies are growing socially responsible. Individuals are boycotting companies that exploit communities suffering from poverty. And nongovernmental organizations are establishing independent and unique projects. More significantly, entrepreneurs and innovators are inventing products to help reduce poverty. This article lists 10 innovations that tackle world hunger.

10 Innovations that Tackle World Hunger

  1. Safari Seat
    Access to wheelchairs in rural areas of developing countries is incredibly low. Safari Seat is one invention that tackles this issue. Its production is low cost and the company is located in Kenya. Safari Seat is made up of bicycle parts and controlled by hand levers and durable wheels.
  2. NIFTY Cup
    Child malnutrition in Africa is a major obstacle. Many infants struggle to nurse, which can ultimately lead to death. It costs as little as $1 to produce a NIFTY Cup, however, its impact is tremendous. The cup is designed to make milk more easily drinkable is also reusable.
  3. LifeStraw
    This innovation is one of the most important among the 10 innovations that tackle world hunger. LifeStraw addresses access to clean water. Eleven percent of the world’s population lacks access to drinkable water. And the effects of drinking contaminated water can be deadly. The straw-like product includes a filtration system that filters contaminated water as it is used.
  4. M-Farm
    M-Farm is a digital technology allowing Kenyan farmers to receive up-to-date pricing information on their products. This eliminates the corruption of middlemen who usually receive more profit than deserved. Kenyan farmers particularly suffer from issues with middlemen as they lack high levels of internet access.
  5. Wonderbag
    Areas where poverty is present usually lack basic needs, such as access to electricity. However, Wonderbag doesn’t let that stop anyone from cooking. Wonderbag is a slow cooker that requires no electricity to use, allowing those without electricity to still cook their food.
  6. Feedie
    Feedie is a project run by the Lunchbox Fund which allows you to donate a meal to a child somewhere in the world simply by sharing the picture you took off your food. This is significant as social media already encourages food bloggers to share pictures of food, making Feedie an easy way to help tackle world hunger.
  7. Mazzi
    Developing countries often lack methods for collecting food without spilling and wasting it. This occurs specifically in the collection of milk. Mazzi is a 10-liter plastic container that is designed for collecting and transporting milk safely with no losses.
  8. Eco-Cooler
    Eco-Cooler is a simple invention that cools down unbearably heated huts. It is made up of recycled bottles that are built up in a way that attracts cool air into homes, helping keep conditions cool for both people and their food without air conditioning or refrigeration.
  9. Lucky Iron Fish
    Lucky Iron Fish is an iron, fish-shaped object that can be placed in a pot of boiling water when cooking to enhance iron levels in the meal. Iron deficiency is the most widespread nutritional disorder in the world. Therefore, Lucky Iron Fish is a significant innovation in tackling world hunger because it helps those without access to iron-rich foods.
  10. Humanium Metal
    This initiative turns disarmed weapons from areas of conflict into “humanium” blocks by recycling metal from destructed guns. Humanium Metal then sells these blocks to companies, for instance, blocks sold to H&M are used for buttons. Violent conflicts are a major cause of poverty and world hunger. Therefore, this unique approach recycles destructive materials for a constructive cause.

Njoud Mashouka
Photo: Flickr

How to Stop Hunger Four Steps You Can Take to Make ChangeThere are many people in this world who wish to use their geographical privilege and resources to help those in need. However, one of the most common questions they find themselves pondering is: how does one go about creating effective change?

While these following tips on how to make an effective change can be applied to any global campaign, these points will focus on how to stop hunger. The truth is that every day, one in nine humans goes to bed on an empty stomach, while one in three suffers from malnutrition.

Ending world hunger is one of the biggest problems and tasks of our current era, and while the idea of ending world hunger may seem like a large, unconquerable project, this goal is actually quite attainable. There are a variety of things that you can do to further the betterment of suffering communities.

Here is your four-step guide on how to stop hunger:

1. Speak Up

One of the biggest problems surrounding world hunger is the lack of coverage this topic receives from media outlets that receive heavy traffic, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Poverty and food insecurity are prominent dilemmas in domestic and international communities alike, and due to their persistence, it is very easy for them to get lost in the media among other current affairs.

The most important thing we can do as individuals is to speak up — make this injustice known among your peers and beyond. An easy way to get the word out is through social media by posting to Facebook, Instagram and even writing public blog posts.

Living in a first world country, it’s quite easy to remain incognizant to the immense suffering going on in the world, and that’s why using technological and geographical resources is key to creating change. Change occurs when people begin to care — when large numbers of people start to pay attention from a variety of different social and economic backgrounds and/or an issue gains attention in many first world countries, then do we see change.

2. Be An Advocate

It’s one thing to share a few articles on Facebook and call it a day, but it’s another to be an active contributor in the quest for justice. Persistence and ambition are two factors in what makes a successful advocacy campaign, and being ambitious with your cause encourages others to follow in your footsteps.

It’s important here to have a clear and simple message – what are you advocating for and why should people join you?

Currently, there are 216 million fewer hungry people than in 1990-92, which is a great achievement considering the world’s population has increased by 1.9 billion. How will you use statistics like this to inspire others to have passion and empathy for others?

Advocacy can come in many different forms. It could look like hosting a weekly roundtable with friends, or it could be posting a weekly video on Facebook; but, essentially, advocacy is a continuous journey that requires persistence, solid facts and a clear message.

3. Think Bigger

How can you convince your peers to get engaged? Consider the major humanitarian organizations that currently work on how to stop hunger — is there any way you can join forces to make a better world? Are there any fundraisers happening near you that you and your friends could support?

For example, when tackling a large issue like world hunger, it’s vital to identify a key issue within the larger scope of your topic; perhaps pick a specific affected area or a certain type of deficiency to advocate for first.

While the idea of stopping world hunger with some social media action and contacting an organization like UNICEF sounds nice, this is a very large task, and you will be much more effective in your quest for change if you narrow your gaze to one implication of your problem of focus.

4. Organize

The last step in creating effective change — and in this instance, how to stop hunger — is to organize a project. Gather a group of dedicated individuals and figure out your course of actions: will your project involve traveling, will you be mailing care packages, etc.

This is the hardest, most strenuous stage of creating change, but if you have dedication, perseverance and a stable group to support you, anything is achievable!

When in the position to help those in need, any acts of gratitude count. Even if you are unable to complete all the steps above, a simple retweet or Facebook share can make all the difference. Use your resources to help stop hunger and other world dilemmas.  

– Alexandra Dennis

Photo: Flickr

 The Impact of World Vision in the Developing World
World Vision is an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development and advocacy organization. It has many recent success stories including helping 4 million sponsored children, disaster survivors and refugees, strongly impacting education, providing clean water and so much more.

What is World Vision?

World Vision emphasizes its sponsorship program — a $39 a month service that provides essentials including clean water, nutrition and education to a sponsored child and his/her community. Sponsors receive photos, letters and updates of the impacts made.

World Vision focuses on fragile states by developing new approaches to enable transitions out of fragility. Its strong program areas include water, sanitation, hygiene, health, livelihoods, food assistance, child protection and education.

The organization partners with churches, donor governments, corporations and individual supporters across the globe, in addition to local communities, faith bodies, civil society and public institutions to help refugees.

World Vision addresses barriers to education and works with communities and local governments to improve the quality of education for children.

Who Are its Partners?

The organization works with WFP, World Food Program and USDA in Rwanda to improve children’s literacy.

World Vision also partners with Home Grown School Feeding Program to provide a suite of complementary literacy and health interventions to the school’s feeding project. The literacy intervention guides schools, parents and communities in supporting the development of the five core reading skills: letter knowledge, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

According to World Vision, nearly 1,000 children under age 5 die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation and improper hygiene.

What’s the Organization’s Goal?

The organization’s goal is to solve the global water and sanitation crisis by providing clean water and sanitation to every man, woman and child in every community it works in, including the most vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach places.

World Vision is bringing its World-Class Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programming with their health sector work in an effort called BabyWASH. 

Effective approaches include training volunteer community health workers where these volunteers teach families about critical water, sanitation, and hygiene behaviors, counsel mothers to facilitate hygienic delivery of babies in health care facilities, and learn to identify and treat common childhood diseases while referring more serious cases to a health care facility.

What is the BabyWASH Model?

The BabyWASH model combines three life-saving interventions:

  1. Provides clean water directly into health care facilities along with handwashing stations, toilets and bathing facilities
  2. Trains medical staff and community health workers on prenatal and postnatal healthcare and nutrition, including the importance of breast-feeding immediately after birth
  3. Uses corporate donations to fully equip and supply health facilities with medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and safe delivery kits

There are continual efforts and success stories of lifting people out of poverty thanks to the World Vision staff and volunteers,.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

4 Amazing People Showing How to End World Hunger from the Ground

Whenever people debate how to end world hunger or global poverty, individuals often resign themselves to the fact that the problem is too big for a single person to actually affect much change. While global food insecurity is a daunting task, people still are fighting to address it. Below are three people (and one group) who started with only a plan and determination and are now making the world a better place.

Elijah Amoo Addo (Food For All Africa)

In 2011, Elijah Amoo Addo, a Ghanian chef, saw a homeless man rummaging through his restaurant’s trash. When asked, the man told Elijah he was collecting leftovers for his friends. From that point forward, Elijah swore no food from the restaurant he worked at would go to waste.

Around 30 percent of children growing up in Ghana are malnourished, a statistic with a strong correlation to being impoverished, according to the Ghanian government. The high number of starving children in Ghana surprised Elijah and caused him to quit his job to start Ghana’s first food bank and the organization Food For All Africa.

Now, Food For All Africa recovers $5,700 in wasted food every month with the hopes of scaling up to other parts of Africa and feeding one million impoverished Africans by 2020.

Cindy Levin (Charity Miles & RESULTS)

Cindy Levin, a mother of two in her 40s, defeats the myth that there is not enough time in a day to help the less fortunate. In fact, the anti-poverty advocate dedicates her time to dispelling that very idea with her position at RESULTS. There, Cindy coaches people on how to organize fundraising activities themselves, with a focus on getting stay-at-home mothers and children involved and educating them on how to end world hunger.

But Cindy keeps going. In 2013, Cindy ran a 5K with her 9-year-old daughter; two days later, she ran a half marathon. In the process, she raised enough money to vaccinate 100 children against polio, measles, rotavirus and pneumococcal virus through [email protected], a cause she felt passionate about after traveling to Uganda and meeting with impoverished mothers.

Bill Ayres (Why Hunger)

In 1975, musician Harry Chapin and radio DJ Bill Ayres wondered why, in a world with so much, so many people were still lacking. These two friends believed that access to nutritious food was a human right and that the problem of how to end world hunger was solvable. As a result, they committed themselves to changing the policies and institutions that perpetuate world hunger.

Their organization, Why Hunger, leads by funding grassroots organizations. In 2016, the organization funded and provided resources for over 100 grassroots organizations to the tune of $485,000, with a focus on community solutions. These solutions range from agroecological training to leadership development for women and youths.

Bill Ayres and his organization believe that social justice is an integral part of how to end world hunger. A major step taken in the past year was the establishment of a national alliance of emergency food providers that hopes to shift the conversation about how to end world hunger from a charitable cause to a push for social justice.

Istanbul&I

In February 2016, 11 international students got together in Istanbul, where they envisioned creating a storytelling program to bring different cultures together and help displaced people from Syria and Iraq talk through some of their trauma.

When Ramadan came around that year, the group gathered donations to provide iftar (the traditional sunset meal) to people in Istanbul’s vulnerable Tarlabasi neighborhood. Now, 11 friends have become over 300 from 50 different countries. While cultural exchanges and soup kitchens are still an integral part of Istanbul&I, the group does so much more now. They provide digital literacy programs to refugees, give Turkish and English language lessons, landscaped a neighborhood retirement center, run comedy fundraisers and raise money to support an orphanage for boy refugees so they can continue their education.

You: How to End World Hunger

All these people began with a desire, a wish. They did not start out with money, but they believed in themselves and now others do too. So, next time someone says poverty is here to stay and nothing can be done about it, remember these four groups who asked, “how can I alleviate global poverty? How to end world hunger?” and took their brains and their hands and started working.

– David Jaques

Photo: Flickr

Food Insecurity in America and World’s Poorest Countries Has Common SolutionThe United Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on December 10, 1948 as a minimum standard of treatment and quality of life for all people in all nations. Article 25, section 1 of the declaration states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food…” As important as these words are, they have not yet become a reality for many people in the world. Some common solutions to food insecurity may help alleviate world hunger.

Falling Short of the U.N. Standards

Often, countries represented in the U.N. fall short on the promise to provide adequate, nutritious food to everyone, including the United States of America. Malnutrition and food insecurities can be attributed to many causes worldwide: political turmoil, environmental struggles and calamities, lack of financial resources and lack of infrastructure to distribute food equally within a country.

It is widely known that the poorest nations often lack the means or the will to sufficiently supply food to the people and their most vulnerable populations. Ethnic minority groups, women and children and those living in rural areas often suffer the most. In 2006, the Center for Disease Control reported that widespread media attention in 2005 brought global awareness to a food crisis in the West African country of Niger. According to the report, out of Niger’s population of 11.5 million in 2002, 2.5 million people living in farming or grazing areas were vulnerable to food insecurities.

Identifying the Problem in Food Distribution

In her article entitled Food Distribution in America, Monica Johnson writes, “With each step added between the farm and the consumer, money is taken away from the farmer. Typically, farmers are paid 20 cents on the dollar. So even if the small-scale/medium-sized farmer is able to work with big food distributors, they are typically not paid enough to survive.” Essentially, the middlemen are taking profit directly out of the farmer’s hands.

In America, conventional food supply chains are used in the mass distribution of food. This method starts with produced raw goods. These products are transferred to distribution centers that may offload goods to wholesalers or sell them directly to food retailers where these goods are finally purchased by consumers at grocery stores and markets. Food may travel very long distances throughout this process to be consumed by people who could have purchased comparable foods grown much closer to home.

One example is the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center (HPFDC), which is one of the largest food distributors in the United States, with over $2 billion in annual sales. According to the New York Economic Development Commission, it sits on 329 acres of land in the Bronx, New York. It supplies over 50 percent of the food consumed by people in the area and also supplies its goods to about 20 percent of people in the region. Yet, still, the Food Bank of New York City reported a meal gap of 242 million in 2014 and food insecurity levels of 22.3 percent, with 399,000 of those people being children.

Solutions Lie in Local Support

About 13 years after the Niger food crisis, the country is still one of the poorest in the world. The World Food Program (WFP), headquartered in Rome, Italy, continues to focus on fixing the problem of food insecurity in nations like Niger. Through helping those like Nigeriens build sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems for crop cultivation, the WFP hopes to lower the high levels of food insecurities and issues related to them, such as malnutrition and the high mortality rate among children under the age of five.

One essential component in the common solutions to food insecurity is assisting locals with the sustainable management of local natural resources through soil conservation, water harvesting, rehabilitating irrigation systems and reducing the loss of biodiversity. This is directed toward localized measures to solve food deficiency issues.

The same steps need to happen in America. The HPFDC in New York, in an effort led by Mayor Bill de Blasio, is planning to upgrade facilities and operations. A plan that includes working with other food distributors at the state level to increase integration with upstate and regional food distribution, supporting local farms and providing growth opportunities for emerging regional food distribution models.

These common solutions to food insecurity could help feed millions of people around the world. Reducing the middlemen in food distribution will put more money back into the hands of the farmers. Additionally, by reinforcing sustainable farming at local levels, farmers will have more opportunities to provide relief from food insecurity in their own communities with more nutritional diversity, which can reduce malnutrition and high mortality rates.

Matrinna Woods

Photo: Flickr

The State of Food Security as World Hunger IncreasesWorld hunger levels do not merely represent the amount of food a country has available. This level lends to the disparity of class, employment and education levels in a country. For those who find access to food and consume more than others, their energy for sustained work propels them above those with lower levels of caloric distribution. This begins the procession of beneficial livelihoods that are affordable for those who live without hunger.

Not only is hunger a contributing factor to living conditions, but in many cases, living conditions can also cause hunger. In 2010 for example, the number of undernourished people in the world declined for the first time in 15 years. The decline, according to the Food and Agriculture Association, was largely attributed to the “favorable economic environment in 2010—particularly in developing countries—and the fall in both international and domestic food prices since 2008.”

In 2017, the global hunger level rose for the first time in over a decade. In 2016, the world Prevalence of Undernourishment was 10.8 percent, continuing a consistent decline since 2003. The 2017 report published by the UN indicates that the world Prevalence of Undernourishment has risen to 11 percent.

“On September 15th, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the UN World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) published the first-ever consolidated U.N. report on progress towards eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2030.”

Under the U.N. Sustainable Development goals (SDG’s) these five U.N. organizations have pronounced to end hunger, promote sustainable development and achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030.

The 2017 Global Report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World illustrates some of the biggest drivers of world hunger: armed conflict and natural disasters. “Of the 815 million chronically food-insecure and malnourished people in the world, the vast majority—489 million—live in countries affected by conflict.”

Armed conflict contributed to the onset of food insecurity in countries like Syria, South Sudan and Lebanon in 2017. In Syria, a six-year civil war has contributed to the onset of a record low agricultural production. An 85 percent poverty rate in 2016, along with the exodus of an estimated 4.8 million refugees since 2011, aggregates the lack of agricultural production and food insecurity in Syria.

South Sudan has seen inflation due to shortages, currency devaluation and high transportation costs as a result of the ongoing conflict. Lebanon is an example of how the spillover effect of conflicts in other countries contributes to an economic slowdown. The conflict in Syria has “disrupted trade routes, and declined confidence among investors and consumers” in Lebanon, which has “absorbed more than 1.5 million refugees.” Political crises thus contribute to increases in world hunger.

Natural disasters such as El-Niño-driven drought and other climate shocks lead to unfavorable agriculture conditions and food scarcity in countries like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Haiti. In Southern Africa, where countries were experiencing high levels of poverty and structural insecurity, El Niño’s dry conditions induced crop losses and reduced access to food.

The combination of insecurities in these countries prompted critical food insecurity in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. In 2015, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti and coupled with El Niño induced drought to create unfavorable cropping conditions that left “1.6 million…in need of food assistance.” World hunger thus increases due to natural disasters.

The rise of undernourished people in the world in 2017 brings attention to the multi-dimensional effects of conflict in developing nations. Armed conflict coupled with unfavorable weather conditions have risen the rate of Prevalence of Undernourishment and brought multiple nations to critical food insecurity.

The 2017 report looks at Uganda as an example of how resolving conflict can decrease food insecurity. Two decades of conflict lead to reliance on international food assistance in Uganda. Since 2011, after the end of the conflict, Uganda has increased food security and no longer requires assistance. Steps like the ones Uganda has made continue to inspire work towards reducing world hunger.

Eliza Gresh

Photo: Flickr

End World Hunger
Researchers in Finland have introduced their hopeful and ongoing work to improve life by creating food out of electricity — a development that could end world hunger. Researchers created a protein out of an electric shock and a few ingredients. The results of this experiment may be successful in helping to feed a large amount of people in regions where food sources are threatened by climate change or other conflicts. It could also perhaps introduce a food technology that could change the food and agricultural industry.

The protein was created as a Food from Electricity Project with the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Technical Research Centre of Finland. The protein is a single-cell protein large enough for a dinner meal. The protein includes electricity, water, carbon dioxide and microbes. The ingredients go through a system powered by renewable energy and then researchers enhance an electric shock into the ingredients, creating a result of 50 percent protein, 25 percent carbohydrates and 25 percent fat and nucleic acid. This concept has introduced a new, cheaper way to address and end world hunger.

About 800 million people suffer from malnourishment and about 20 million people are undergoing famine in their countries. So far, the concept has allowed the creation of one gram of protein in about two weeks with the nutrition of basic food. Researchers predict that there will be a full effect of the electric protein in about a decade, which allows for a wider use of the protein. For now, researchers are introducing this hopeful initiative, and will continue developing the concept.

Electric food has life-changing potential. This process could not only provide a protein to resolve the hunger crisis, but it could also develop nutritious food that furthers solving and ending world hunger.

Brandi Gomez

Photo: Flickr