Australian Foodbank Increases Efforts
Food charities around the world, particularly those in Australia, are struggling to meet the increasing demands of their recipient base.

In supplying 90% of Australia’s food welfare, the organization Foodbank provides welfare recipients with over 25 million kg of food each year. Foodbank general manager Greg Warren claims that his fleet of 20 trucks that supply the equivalent of 32 million meals a year is less than half of what Australia needs to fully address its food security problems.

Food charity organizations formerly relied on collecting leftovers from restaurants and just-expired foods from grocery stores as their main source of supplies. However, these organizations are now finding that the yields from these resources are inadequate for meeting the ever-increasing demand of the world’s poor and homeless.

Nearly 25% of people that collect from welfare agencies around the world are neither homeless nor living in developing countries. Rather, they are newly unemployed people trying to make ends meet, or those accepting pay cuts at work as the cost of living climbs. These people begin struggling to support a family and turn to food charities like Foodbank for help acquiring certain staples like milk and bread on a consistent basis.

Warren insists, however, that Foodbank’s foremost concern is with not sacrificing quality as the group seeks to increase quantity and welfare access points. Warren claims that the utmost goal is for food to be “safe and delivered in a safe manner.”

Foodbank currently accepts supplies from the Australian Red Cross’s Good Start Breakfast Club, Kellogg’s, Arnotts-Campbells, and Kraft, among others. Foodbank has also begun to expand to working directly with farmers and wholesalers for increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables. This initiative corresponds with Warren’s stipulation about maintaining high quality.

According to Warren, it’s all a matter of logistics, in transporting food from areas of surplus to areas of scarcity. Food charities around the world should seek to mimic the Australian Foodbank in their efforts to end chronic hunger across socioeconomic lines through careful planning and practical connections.

– Alexandra Bruschi

Sources: The Daily Telegraph, Foodbank
Photo: American Aid Foundation

Michael Trafford

In order to address the issue of global poverty, Michael Trafford will be biking and skateboarding nearly 300 miles across Australia in July, making stops at local schools and community centers along the way.

Named Sk8 to the Finish, this 475 km campaign is intended to disseminate information in communities throughout Australia regarding global poverty and Australia’s responsibility toward developing nations.

Sk8 to the Finish aims to reduce poverty in three ways:

1.    By petitioning the Australian government to increase spending on foreign aid.

2.    By spending foreign aid more efficiently on programs that focus on saving lives.

3.    By requiring transparency from Australian businesses who trade overseas.

While this specific campaign is oriented toward the Australian government, the goal of Sk8 to the Finish can be applied to the entire developed world. More and more people throughout first world nations are realizing the benefits of contributing to developing nations. These benefits include an increase in the global economy and a heightened level of global peace. Sk8 to the Finish not only works toward these goals, but also promotes a level of personal accountability for governmental progress toward these goals.

Through Sk8 to the Finish, Michael Trafford demonstrates an extreme level of personal responsibility for his government’s actions and movement toward a more developed and peaceful world.

– Pete Grapentien

Source: Gladstone Observer

Students Experience Poverty to Raise Awareness
College students in Melbourne, Australia recognize the need to address the global issue of extreme poverty. They went about raising awareness in a unique way. Pairing up with the Live Below the Line Campaign, students immersed themselves in the struggle, feeding themselves on two dollars a day for five days.

Hoping to experience extreme poverty first hand, students created personal budget plans for their week below the poverty line. They purchased fruit, vegetables, lentil, pasta, and rice with their budget. Some students pooled their money together to help buy items in bulk.

University of Melbourne Professor Rob Moodie found the Live Below the Line campaign was a great opportunity for students to connect to the issue of global poverty on a personal level. “Life in Australia for the average university student is incredibly different for someone living on less than two dollars a day, and any learning we can do is beneficial,” Moodie said.

So what were the results of the student’s hardships? National awareness and significant donations. Overall, the University of Melbourne raised over $24,000 for world hunger, the most in Australia

The Live Below the Line Campaign takes place annually from May 6th to May 10th in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Australia has raised over 2 million dollars with the cause. For more information, visit

– William Norris

Source: The Age,Live Below the Line
Photo: Bromford Group

Live Below the Poverty Line

Recently, students at the University of Melbourne in Australia spent five days on less than two Australian dollars a day in order to raise awareness for those living in extreme poverty.

Students participated in this as part of the Live Below the Line challenge, a program of the Global Poverty Project.  The Global Poverty Project is in organization designed to advocate for the world’s poor and get citizens effectively engaged in the fight to end extreme poverty.  Their Live Below the Line Challenge, which spans three continents, asks participants to spend five days living below the poverty line in an effort to show solidarity with the world’s poor and to raise money and awareness for their cause.

The challenge of the Live Below the Line campaign is effectively budgeting resources so that participants have the food to last themselves 5 days.  Participants are not allowed to take snacks from their pantries or consume anything that had been bought before the challenge unless it was factored into their five day budget.  Their diet consisted mainly of pasta, lentils, fruit, and rice for the duration of the challenge, and they were only allowed to drink tap water.

The students at the University of Melbourne raised over $24,000, which is more than any other Australian university.  The closest American university to raising this amount was the University of Notre Dame, raising only $3,239.  Some celebrities are also involved in the Live Below the Line challenge, ranging from Ben Affleck to Hugh Jackman.

This was an impressive achievement for these Australian students.  However, as hard as it seems to buy food on such a low budget, participants still had it better off than the world’s poor.  They had access to shelter, sanitation, and healthcare—things that most of those living below the poverty line do not have.   It is hard for us in the developed world to imagine the amount of hardship faced by the world’s poor, but the Live Below the Line challenge gives a small peek into the lives of the least fortunate.

Citizens interested in the program should go to where there are further descriptions of the program, recipes and other helpful resources.  The website also contains leaderboards so that participants can see what individuals or groups have achieved the most fundraising so far.  The question that the challenge poses to all of us in the developing world is obvious:  Can YOU Live Below the Line?

– Martin Drake

Source: Live Below the Line, The Age
Photo: VSO

Female farmers working small plots of land to grow food may be a solution to ending world hunger according to international aid group CARE.  As leaders prepare talks for the Hunger Summit in London, advocates are reminding leaders to look to female farmers as a solution and answer to food insecurity. Around the world, 60 to 80 percent of food production in developing countries is grown by women. In stark contrast, only about 5 percent of training and resources ever get to these female farmers.

Julia Netwon-Howes, CARE Australia CEO, believes small-scale farmers are key in the fight against world hunger. Families around the world are being fed and sustained by women farming on small plots of land and their ability to increase the size and quality of their crops can lead to huge gains in fighting hunger. Studies show the world produces enough food for everyone, but the poor distribution and scarcity in some regions leads to millions still going hungry each day. To address the 1 in 8 still going to bed hungry, not only does production need to be addressed, but distribution must also be studied.

While action has been taken, small-scale farmers have been left out of the mainstream. With close to half of all agriculture being produced on small-scale farms, they must be taken into consideration as future plans are drawn to fight hunger. Assistance and government help must expand their focus to include both large and small-scale farms. This includes helping female farmers with better farming techniques, diversification of crops, and nutrition education. Farmers must be educated on the value of a variety of vegetables and food beyond the staple crops of sweet potato or maize grown every day. As they are educated and helped, hunger and malnutrition will continue to decline.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Source: ABC Radio Australia

Australia: Foreign Aid Done Right
Of course, it’s important to focus on foreign aid efforts within America, but what about the importance of the efforts of other countries around the world? By observing these actions and their results, it’s possible to learn something about how different types of foreign aid have different effects on international societies and global poverty.

Australia has gained a lot of attention in the media lately, boasting a “good review” on its recent foreign aid policies. Although the country had been committed to boosting aid to .5% of GDP -around $8 billion, or almost 2x as much as US foreign aid relative to GDP – by 2015/2016, the government delayed the plan, setting the goal back to 2017. The review of the program praises its efficiency, transparency, and effectiveness, “making particular reference to Australia’s sound strategic policies, delivery of strong results and dedicated commitment to transparency.”

Even surpassing foreign aid, the country is bringing issues of extreme poverty to light, as thousands volunteered to live for five days by feeding themselves on $2.00 a day. This effort, named “Live Below the Line”, highlights the harshness of extreme poverty and encourages those that participate to raise money for those who live with poverty every day, not just five days of the year.

Australia presents a good example for countries that are looking to revamp their foreign aid processes. The Live Below the Line movement itself also poses a question to not only governments but to everyday citizens to hear the call to action against global poverty and hunger. Using these efforts as examples, it is possible and necessary for all of us to take steps in the same direction.

– Sarah Rybak

Sources: Business Spectator, Nine News, Sydney Morning Herald
Photo: Guyem

How to Make Poverty History
Last month, Australian national Matt Napier, the Ambassador of Make Poverty History, had set out to walk 5 million steps to raise global poverty awareness. He is walking from Perth to Sydney, a journey that is approximately 4,400 km and will span along 3 to 4 months; Matt will be walking around 35km a day while bouncing an AFL football! Along the journey, Matt is stopping at schools, community groups, and churches to talk to them about how global poverty can end through foreign aid success.

He is hoping to get as many people as he can to sign the Movement to End Poverty petition, which is a petition to Australian leaders that the Australian people have voiced the need for their country to play a bigger role in the fight to eradicate poverty. Last year, Matt rode his bike from Perth to Canberra while supporting the Make Poverty History campaign. The journey lasted him 6 weeks and during it, he successfully talked with 250,000 people.

– Leen Abdallah

Source: World Vision Campaign

Tim  Costello
Tim Costello, who serves as Chair of the Community Council of Australia and as the Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, recently spoke about Australia’s successful foreign aid. Costello is a prominent figure in Australia, recognized for his unrelenting efforts to raise global poverty awareness and place poverty issues on the Australian national agenda. On Boxing Day of 2004 when the tsunami hit Asia, Costello was able to raise more than $100 million from the Australian public for tsunami relief. Recently, Costello asserted that when it comes to children’s lives and education, Australia’s foreign aid has been “spectacularly successful.”

Overseas development assistance has led to the inhibition of many HIV infections and has treated millions with AIDS. Australian development assistance has also dispensed “insecticide-treated bed nets against malaria,” which globally decreased death rates by half. Thus, Australian foreign aid is deemed quite necessary yielding many successes. The good news is that, for the past two elections, the Gillard government has wanted to lift aid directed overseas by 0.5% of Gross National Income. The U.N. had set up a goal of 0.7% of G.N.I. and so this lift is a step closer to that goal. It also presents the greatest potential of changing many people’s lives and saving people.

Leen Abdallah
Sources: World Vision, The Australian
Photo:The Sydney Morning Herald

Thankyou WaterAbout 900 million people around the world do not have access to clean water. Yet, here in the United States, safe and clean water costs between $2 to $3. Dan Flynn embarked on a journey where he put together two radicals and created Thankyou Water in 2008. Profits from Thankyou Water water bottle sales are directed to fund various safe water projects; a purchase equates to “one month’s worth of safe water to someone in need.”

Flynn discovered that many people around the world not only lack access to water but also that water is usually unsafe and unsanitary to drink to the point that it may cause serious illness. Flynn also found that Australians are a part of a 600 million dollar bottled water industry. Flynn’s project to tackle the global Water Crisis gives all its profit to fund safe water projects all around the world.

For over three years, Flynn and four other college students, volunteered and managed part-time jobs to cover their costs of living. This year marks the enterprise’s fourth year and the project is showing expansive growth. In December of 2012, Thankyou Water sold its five millionth bottle. Australians are increasingly supporting this project and have switched to Thankyou Water making it their new bottled water brand of purchase. Australians can “track [their] impact” through a newly developed web app where they can see which specific project is being funded by their purchase.

For more information, check out Thankyou Water.

Leen Abdallah

Source: The Global Poverty Walk
Photo: Google

Funding for foreign aid is an issue coming up for debate in more countries than the United States. UNICEF has begun a campaign in Australia to increase foreign aid spending. During the North Sydney electorate, the organization is urgently spreading awareness for the cause and raising public support.

Australia currently spends .35 percent of its gross national income (GNI) on foreign aid. To put that in perspective, the US donates about .2 percent and Sweden gives 1.02 percent of its GNI. UNICEF hopes to increase this percentage by going door-to-door and asking Australians to sign a petition in support of more foreign aid funding. They will deliver these petitions to election candidates.

Their campaign does not, however, exist without resistance. Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader, warned that his party would support funding for projects in Northern Territory rather than increasing foreign aid if his party did not win the majority in the federal election. Another party, the Labor Government, expressed their intentions to supersede some funding for foreign assistance programs in favor of providing financial support for “offshore processing of asylum seekers.”

Despite this opposition, volunteers for UNICEF remain enthusiastic about public support for increased foreign aid. Tess van der Rijt, a campaigner during the North Sydney electorate, was encouraged that so many people whose homes she visited were passionate about the effectiveness and necessity of foreign aid and did not want to see the program lose funding. With a lot of hard work, UNICEF may be successful in pressuring politicians to adhere to the demands of the public and increase foreign aid.

– Mary Penn

Source: Herald Sun