Hunger in Jamaica

Hunger in Jamaica has improved tremendously among primary and early childhood students with the various programs and strategies implemented by The Program of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) and the School Feeding Program (SFP).

The Program of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) enabled by the Government of Jamaica (GOF) continues to play an integral role in providing free lunches for primary school students with the aim of improving the nutrition of vulnerable children and eradicating hunger in Jamaica with Early Childhood students being the target group.

The Hon. Rev Ronald Thwaites in his presentation of the 2015-2016 sectoral debate revealed the aim of the Ministry of Education to expand the breakfast programs in schools initiated to provide free breakfast for 138,000 students inclusive of PATH beneficiaries.

The Ministry assigned J$2.2 billion to this program. The SFP in partnership with the Nutrition Products Limited (NPL) breakfast solutions ensures that all meals are made from local agricultural products.

Board Chairman of Nutrition Products Limited James E.D. Rawle gave a synopsis of the various products offered in the NPL Annual Report, “Segments of the Early Childhood Cohort, inclusive of hot solution (porridge), sandwiches, muffins, breads, cakes and an improved juice drink, made utilizing locally produced fruit puree”.

The NPL has provided breakfast solutions to 12,000 designated children located in Kingston & St Andrew, St Thomas, St Catherine and Clarendon each day. This initiative has helped to reduce hunger in Jamaica among students in Primary level institutions.

The SFP provides additional Nutribun snacks for these students in line with the strategy Ministry of Education to spend approximately 20 percent of the school feeding budget of J$4.6 billion on locally grown products. The Ministry intends to achieve 50 percent in three years.

The Hon. Rev Ronald Thwaites revealed that 40 percent of children lack proper nutrition and another 30 percent experience hunger on a daily basis.

“Providing nutrition in schools is adding value to the lives of our young children and the brightening of their prospects,” said Thwaites. This step towards improving the nutrition of Early Childhood students via proper victuals is a resourceful means by the GOF to improve hunger In Jamaica.

Shanique Wright

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a Sub-Saharan African country fringed by Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Eritrea. For the past few decades, the Ethiopian government has implemented institutional reforms in order to transition to a stable market economy. This transition would also reduce poverty, improve health, education and infrastructure in the endeavor to establish a stable economy.

Although Ethiopia has made remarkable economic strides and has secured its position as one of the most efficient economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is still one of the poorest nations in the world.

In order to raise awareness of the severity the epidemic hunger in Ethiopia, the World Food Programme has complied a comprehensive list of facts that every global citizen should know regarding the hunger crisis in Ethiopia.

As mentioned above, Ethiopia has taken steps to improve its economy, an endeavor that in turn has also improved nutrition within the nation. Yet, despite this marked progress, Ethiopia still remains embattled by malnutrition.

The true extent of this malnutrition is appalling. According to the report “Cost of Hunger in Africa”, child malnutrition costs Ethiopia 16.5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) each year.

Furthermore, nearly 40% of Ethiopian children are underdeveloped, suffering from a condition known as “stunting”, which arises when individuals miss critical periods of development due to a lack of a proper diet.

Not only are these children physically stunted, they also experience a stunt in academic achievement. For the individuals who survive the complications of childhood malnutrition, stunting persists throughout adulthood as well.

As approximately 67% of adults in Ethiopia experienced stunting as children,  the majority of Ethiopians are not able to reach their maximum physical or educational potential in part due to hunger.

Additionally, nearly half of health issues arising from malnutrition manifest themselves before the child has lived to see his or her first birthday. Unfortunately, this early onset of malnutrition related health issues has also contributed to nearly 30% of child fatalities in Ethiopia. These child fatalities in Ethiopia have contributed to an approximate 8% reduction in the total Ethiopian workforce.

The cycle of poverty, hunger, and death in Ethiopia ensnares the nation in a stage of underdevelopment. Poverty and hunger in Ethiopia simultaneously attacks the population, holding the nation back from its full potential.

However, food programs and continued economic expansion can help the nation become not only one of the most stable economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also become a global competitor.

– Phoebe Pradhan

Photo: Action Against Hunger
Info Please, WFP, Rural Poverty Portal