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the_hunger_project

While many poverty-reduction organizations implement a variety of different strategies to combat poverty and hunger, The Hunger Project’s methodology differentiates it from other nonprofit organizations.

Founded in 1977, The Hunger Project (THP) is a nonprofit, strategic organization with a focus on ending world hunger. With a global staff of over 300 people, the organization focuses its efforts in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. It seeks to end hunger and poverty by “empowering people to lead lives of self-reliance, meet their own basic needs and build better futures for their children.” This includes sustainable, grassroots strategies in numerous countries throughout the world.

The Hunger Project also places a special emphasis on women and gender equality. “Women bear the major responsibility for meeting basic needs, yet are systematically denied the resources, freedom of action and voice in decision-making to fulfill that responsibility,” the organization states.

With its headquarters located in New York City, THP operates in 11 different countries, including a number of African countries, as well as Bangladesh, India and Mexico. The organization maintains a number of partnerships with developed countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Over the years, the organization has had to reinvent itself as a result of the shifting state of world hunger. In 2009, THP set a new strategic direction with an emphasis on partnerships, advocacy and impact.

THP’s board of directors, consisting of over a dozen people, includes a former president of Mozambique, a former vice president of Uganda, a Harvard economics professor and a former Secretary General of the U.N.

Recently, Anytime Fitness co-founder Jacinta McDonell Jimenez committed to raising $100,000 for THP. The money will provide 200 communities with the necessary funds to purchase food-processing equipment. Additionally, the money will train nearly 50,000 rural inhabitants in farming techniques as well as provide 2,000 people with loans to purchase seeds and fertilizer.

Through its mission to put an end to world hunger, THP maintains a set of 10 principles that it considers to be fundamental to its organization. Among them are human dignity, gender equality, sustainability and transformative leadership. Because it believes hunger is a human issue, THP states its principles are “consistent with our shared humanity.”

Ethan Safran

Sources: The Hunger Project, Business Franchise Australia
Photo: Zander Bergen

scaling_up_nutrition
Countries around the world are joining efforts in a program called Scaling Up Nutrition to improve the way malnutrition is being treated. By using nutrition-specific interventions and nutrition-sensitive approaches, Scaling Up Nutrition is on the path to decreasing nutrition problems that have horrible effects on societies.

The program consists of governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and researchers. Together, the program can provide all the necessary resources to decrease malnutrition globally.

Scaling Up Nutrition was founded on the principle that all people have the right to nutritious food. The program has a focus on improving women’s and maternal health. Studies show that proper nutrition is essential during the 1,000 days from the start of pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. Poor nutrition during this time frame can lead to stunted growth and impaired cognitive development. Scaling Up Nutrition aims to prevent these from happening by expanding the knowledge and resources for women during and after pregnancy.

Their nutrition-specific interventions include support for exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age, fortification of foods, micro-nutrient supplementation and treatment for severe malnutrition.

Malnutrition is not caused solely by the lack of access to proper food. Recognizing this, the program is also incorporating nutrition-sensitive approaches. These include things like agriculture, empowering women, clean water and sanitation, education and employment, health care and support for resilience.

By combining all these facets that go hand-in-hand with malnutrition, Scaling Up Nutrition is able to work as a united front to put the proper policies forward, implement effective programs and provide necessary resources for the improvement of malnutrition.

Malnutrition is a core problem that can have severe consequences on individuals, families and entire societies. Poor nutrition often coincides with poverty. By improving nutrition around the world, Scaling Up Nutrition is taking a large step toward eradicating poverty around the world.

— Hannah Cleveland 

Sources: Scaling Up Nutrition, UN
Photo: National Grocers

malnutrition_in_Cote_d'Ivore
For the past six years, the rate of chronic child malnutrition in Cote d’Ivoire has remained at a whopping 40 percent. This is slightly higher than the overall population’s malnutrition rate, which is a solid 30 percent. The Ivory Coast, located on the coastal edge of Western Africa, experiences high malnutrition rates due to a multitude of factors including high food prices and inadequate food access, which is a consequence of hot, dry weather.

Tumultuous political circumstances from the early to late 2000s divided Cote d’Ivoire into North and South; rebels then controlled its northern region. As a result, government and public services in the north were wrecked, the economy collapsed and food access was scarcer than ever. Health and food distribution services were no longer functional. Thankfully, in 2008 its government created nutrition centers in the north and east, of which there are now 14.

Yet, the regions exhibiting the highest chronic rate of malnutrition in Cote d’Ivoire are Bafing, Worodougou and Montagnes. Additionally, the Savanes, Worodougou and Montagnes regions exhibit the highest concentrated rates of consequent stunted growth. Widespread national poverty as well as thousands of displaced peoples further complicate the dire circumstances.

It is evident that Cote d’Ivoire’s government lacks the funds necessary to effectively combat its malnutrition problems. A few humanitarian organizations have assisted, most notably Action Against Hunger (ACF) from 2002 to 2011. ACF’s aid ceased abruptly when its funds were depleted. The organization retracted much of its aid and missionaries, a circumstance that somewhat reversed the critical progress it had contributed.

Diarrassouba Issouf, an official at the Family Protection Unit in Korhogo, said that the humanitarian organizations’ exits left primary areas without food and resulted in fewer women visiting nutrition sites.

Cote d’Ivoire’s stagnating and critical malnutrition levels, especially in young children, demands immediate attention. With more international humanitarian assistance and aid, more lasting improvement may be on Cote d’Ivoire’s horizon.

– Arielle Swett

Sources: All Africa, Action Against Hunger, UNICEF
Photo: News Wire

World Hunger Solutions
Approximately 1 billion people worldwide live in hunger, despite the fact that there is enough food on the planet to feed all 7 billion of the world’s living humans. Here are five world hunger solutions:

1. Feeding Programs and Food Aid Donations

Probably the most obvious of the five solutions, the most immediate, if not the most sustainable, way to end hunger is to put food directly in the hands of those who are hungry. Feeding programs and efficient food aid donations have proven to be an extremely effective way of doing so.

Getting food to the hungry until they are able to produce it themselves is not a matter of implementing feeding programs and donating food – it’s about making the programs that already exist more effective. For instance, the Food for Peace Reform Act of 2014 that was introduced in Congress on June 3 strives to greatly increase the economic effectiveness of U.S. food aid by ending requirements that food aid must be purchased domestically rather than locally, a requirement that significantly drives up the price of food.

By turning a careful eye to the programs that are in place today and making slight reforms to them where necessary, it is possible to feed millions more people around the world.

2. Education and School Meals

Providing all school-aged children with a proper education is one of the most effective ways of ensuring that they don’t face hunger as adults. By providing kids with the knowledge and skills to procure jobs, education prepares them to be self-sufficient in the real world.

It’s important, though, to make sure that children are fed while they’re in school. Not only does this encourage them (especially those children who do not receive enough to eat at home) to come to school, but it also increases their focus and improves their performance while they’re in the classroom.

3. Sustainable, Practical and Dependable Agriculture

Implementing sustainable, practical and dependable agriculture is a three-fold task: international aid organizations must work with farmers and communities to promote vegetarian diets, embrace GMOs and adopt urban farming practices. Only by accomplishing each of these tasks will hungry communities be able to produce enough food to sustain themselves in the immediate future.

Why vegetarian? It can be a hard sell, it’s true – especially in places where meat is already a large portion of the local cuisine or plays a role in a cultural tradition. While we certainly don’t want to interfere in local cultures, reducing the global demand for meat is an important step toward making more food available for the hungry. It is estimated that for every 100 calories fed to a cow, a human will reap only 2.5 calories from eating its beef. Calorically, raising livestock for the sole purpose of eventually consuming them is extremely expensive. By decreasing the size of the meat industry, we could simultaneously decrease worldwide hunger.

Genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs, are another controversial topic. GMOs indisputably play a large role in helping the hungry, especially in nations where meteorological events are wreaking havoc on the agricultural yield. Some GMOs are specifically modified to be more resistant to droughts or floods than are conventional organisms, making them especially hardy in tropical and arid regions of the world. Planting GMOs in nations with extreme climates makes their populations less vulnerable to hunger. Better yet, many GMOs are nutritionally-enriched.

Urban farming has also captured headlines recently, but is usually cast in a positive light. That’s because the practice makes efficient use of urban space that is often overlooked and underused. Poverty is becoming an increasingly-urbanized affliction, with over 28 percent of poverty worldwide occurring in cities. In Asia, a staggering 50 percent of the impoverished live in urban areas. In order to get food into urban areas, it’s time we start producing food in urban areas. Urban farming is the answer to increasing food security in cities. It’s already proven to be extremely effective at reducing hunger for those living in Indian slums.

These agricultural adaptations certainly won’t come easy in many parts of the world, but implementing these changes even over a period of time is sure to yield major results.

4. Women

Despite making up more than half of the world’s population, women often exercise less agency when it comes to decision-making and have less access to resources such as education than do their male counterparts. These inequalities are just part of the reason why women experience hunger at higher rates than men do. Ironically, it’s women who do most of the world’s agricultural work. In Africa, 80 percent of farm workers are women; unfortunately, though they work with food all day, many of them don’t have enough of their own to keep themselves and their families well-nourished.

Investing in these women, however, is an unexpected way of bringing world hunger to an end. Typically, food goes farther in the hands of women than in the hands of men – it is more likely to nourish more members of the family, especially children. In regards to children, pregnant women are particularly in need of adequate nutrients – healthy mothers bear healthy kids.

Giving a woman food and the power to afford and obtain her own food in the future is the best way of ensuring that she and her family do not suffer from hunger. In Brazil, children are 20 percent more likely to survive to adulthood when their mothers control the family’s income. It’s time to invest in women – investing in them is investing in ending hunger.

Another way the U.S. can invest in women is by making contraception affordable, accessible and understandable to them worldwide. Globally, we’re facing a crisis of overpopulation, and more mouths are more difficult to feed. Lowering worldwide fertility rates is a key part of solving hunger.

5. Infants

Babies are particularly vulnerable to disease and infection, and hunger and malnutrition only exaggerate that weakness. By giving babies a healthy, well-nourished start to life, we give them a greater chance at making it to adulthood.

How does this end world hunger? Healthy children can attend school, grow up to find employment and make better lives for their own children. A healthy populace begins at birth.

World hunger isn’t going to end tomorrow. But by understanding some of the tactics we can use to end it, we might sooner bring about a world where everyone is well-fed, healthy and happy.

– Elise L. Riley

Sources: The Guardian 1, The Guardian 2, Food for Life, Borgen Project, World Watch, WFP

Food Aid to Yemen
Nearly 54 percent of Yemen’s population remains below the country’s poverty line. The rate of unemployment among young people in Yemen has grown to be around 60 percent of the population.

“Preliminary studies show that between March 2011 and March 2013, Yemen’s economy saw a loss of about $4.75 billion as a result of oil pipeline bombings and acts of sabotage targeting some installations,” said Yemeni Minster of Oil and Minerals, Ahmed Abdullah Daris.

Recently, the United Nations food agency has stated that they are scaling up their food aid to Yemen as nearly half of the population is going hungry. More than 10 million of Yemen’s 25 million inhabitants either require food aid due to an inability to find enough food for themselves, or are teetering on the edge.

In 1996, the World Health Organization defined food security as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.”

Food security is built on three pillars: (1) food availability, or the opportunity to have sufficient quantities of food available on a consistent basis; (2) food access, having sufficient resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet; (3) and food use, appropriate use based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.

“The country has one of the world’s highest levels of malnutrition among children,” said World Food Programme spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs, “with nearly half of all kids under the age of 5—a full 2 million of them—stunted. A million of those kids are acutely malnourished.”

The problem is difficult to tackle. Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been going through a difficult political transition since the removal of president Ali Abdullah Saleh after a year of deadly protests against his 33-year rule.

At the same time, Yemen is also vulnerable to international hikes in food prices, since it imports around 90 percent of its main staple foods like wheat and sugar. The price hikes, according to the U.N., affect around 90 percent of Yemeni households and may be the reason why nearly 50 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Starting in July, the U.N. agency plans to launch a special two-year “Recovery Operation” aimed at addressing long-term hunger in the region. The Recovery Operation will help to ensure food stability for around 6 million people. Under the program, the U.N. will provide malnutrition prevention and treatment, give 200,000 girls in school take-home rations and will help create rural jobs, improve farms and water supplies.

The program aims to safeguard Yemeni lives and boost food security and nutrition in poverty-stricken areas. The program seeks to reach 6 million Yemeni people from mid-2014 to mid-2016, and will aim to provide solutions for long-term relief instead of short term. The U.N. has announced that their efforts would only offer temporary relief.

The U.N. warns, however, that the aid increase will be costly, with the agency estimating that the two-year program will cost around $491 million.

– Monica Newell

Sources: Gulf News, Press TV, Al-Monitor, Yemen Post
Photo: Care

Edward_Wytkind
Edward Wytkind’s new plan for foreign aid might hurt people. It’s probably not his intention to do so, but if he gets his way, lives will be lost. By inserting a destructive rider to H.R. 4005, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, Wytkind has taken the first step to sidetrack millions of dollars of food aid. So who is Edward Wytkind and why does he want to move money away from food aid and into the shipping industry? Simple, he’s a lobbyist.

Wytkind is the president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), a labor organization based out of Washington, D.C.  This organization has been lobbying hard following a move by Congress to remove previous restrictions that required the majority of food aid to be shipped via American vessels. The move by Congress increased the amount of aid getting to the people who need it but removed an easy source of income from the shipping industry. It’s no wonder that Wytkind, who is transportation labor’s chief spokesman in Washington, worked so hard to get this measure put back.

One of the first and foremost duties for food aid is to feed people. This is a no-brainer. For all the benefits of food aid that the world enjoys, the mission remains to provide meals to people in need. This is most often achieved through short-term direct aid mixed with long-term build up of sustainability practices. Any modifications to a program that result in a net reduction in the amount of aid making it into the hands of the needy will need significant justification.

The rider inserted into H.R. 4005 does not have that justification.

The bill mostly concerns matters of shipping and Coast Guard activity. Readers who are curious about the upcoming budget for maintaining operations in the Coast Guard or who need clarification of what constitutes “high risk waters” when shipping goods by sea need look no further. Tucked away in the language of the bill is a small provision that mandates 75 percent of all food aid be shipped exclusively through American vessels. What this translates to is 2 million individuals throughout the world who will not be receiving food aid should the bill pass.

Let that sink in for a moment; 2 million people who would have received aid at a critical time in their lives might not because of one man working on behalf of special interests.

The money set aside for food aid is best spent buying from suppliers near where the aid is headed. Shipping goods becomes expensive, and by minimizing the logistical costs the dollar to aid value increases. This is basic business. If your goal is to deliver aid, as is the goal of the food aid programs in the U.S., it only makes sense to get the most value for money spent. Should H.R. 4005 pass, the American taxpayer is purchasing $75 million worth of overhead instead of the aid the money was originally slotted for.

Of course, taking money from other programs and cramming it into the shipping industry is exactly what Wytkind wants. In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, Wytkind is quoted as saying, “If you’re going to use public resources to engage in humanitarian aid, you should do so while maximizing the use of the U.S. industries and to create good jobs in this country.” In other words, why invest in humanitarian aid when we can simply give the money to U.S. shipping?

What Wytkind fails to mention is that there are other bills that do just that. H.R. 4105, the Maritime Goods Movement Act, specifically addresses American shipping without stealing money away from other programs. Legislation that address an issue directly, like the original H.R. Why Wytkind feels that humanitarian aid programs are less deserving than the shipping industry is anyone’s guess.

– Dylan Spohn

Sources: Congress, Gawker, GovTrack, McDermott, New York Times,

Photo: Oxfam America

Bread_For_The_Word
Bread for the World, a Washington D.C. based nonprofit organization, is urging government leaders and communities of faith to end hunger.

Every day, around 16,000 children die from hunger related causes. 1.5 billion people live in extreme poverty in developing nations around the world, but developed nations are not exempt from the problem of hunger – nearly 15 percent of those living in the U.S. have struggled with food insecurity at some point in their life.

Motivated by the belief that ordinary people can do “plenty” to end global hunger, Bread for the World seeks to empower U.S. citizens to voice their support of hunger-fighting policies to their elected representatives. A bipartisan “collective Christian voice,” their network includes thousands of individuals, churches and denominations – therefore creating an impact that reaches far beyond their local communities.

After analyzing policy, Bread for the World creates strategies to move toward their ultimate goal – to end hunger at home and abroad. The movements they create within churches, campuses and other organizations help build political commitment to overcome poverty. Bread for the World accomplishes their work with integrity, earning a four star Charity Navigator rating and spending an impressive 82.9 percent of their budget on deliverable programs and services.

Bread for the World Institute, the educational wing of Bread for the World, exists to conduct extensive research on food policy and provide information to Bread for the World’s advocacy network. Their studies empower constituents with information to ultimately change the politics of hunger.

For 2014, Bread for the World is focusing its efforts on reforming U.S. food aid, calling for the economically powerful U.S. government to use their resources more efficiently and effectively. Bread for the World estimates that with improvements and changes, 17 million more people could benefit from food aid each year without any additional costs to taxpayers.

Find more information and extensive educational materials, visit www.bread.org.

– Madisson Barnett

Sources: Bread For the World, Charity Navigator
Photo: Food Tank

world map
Since the catastrophic earthquake four years ago, the number of people suffering from malnutrition in Haiti has risen dramatically. Even before the earthquake hit, people were struggling to eat a nutritious balance of food, with complications from malnutrition contributing to 60% of deaths in children and a relatively high mortality rate in adults.

Although children are the primary worry, the concern regarding malnourishment extends to those sick with HIV and tuberculosis, pregnant women and young adults. Poor sanitation also contributes to poor health by spreading disease, which can critically damage the immune system or cause severe dehydration. Other effects of malnutrition include hindered mental and physical growth, emotional changes (depression or anxiety) and difficulty learning or concentrating.

There are ways to help ebb malnutrition in Haiti.  Here are a couple of philanthropic causes that are focused on heightening nutrition in Haiti.

The Nourimanba Production Facility

Located in a modest two-story building in Haiti’s Central Plateau, the Nourimanba Production Facility is more than it appears on the outside. The facility is quite sophisticated, using top-of-the-line stainless steel devices to process peanuts and mix the peanut based paste with vitamins in order to create a nutritious and essential medicine. Andrew Marx, Director of Communications at Partners in Health (PIH) stated that this facility enables 350 tons of Nourimanba to reach 50,000 children a year, with each child taking the medicine daily for up to eight weeks.  The company supports local peanut farmers and opens up an incredibly convenient and dependable market for the community to yield both sales and even jobs.

Hunger Relief International (HRI)

HRI works with local farmers to provide three meals per day consisting of beans, rice, cornmeal and pasta, to 1,450 orphans in 28 different orphanages. HRI also helps children and women plant gardens at homes and schools, helps tackle malnutrition in Haiti, promotes healthy eating and forms new sources of income for the communities. The easy access to nutritional food will relieve the families of unnecessary spending, which will allow their money to be spent on education or school supplies, for example.

World Food Programme (WFP)

WFP is a leading agency in the fight to provide young children and mothers with the proper nutrients necessary during crucial developmental stages. The WFP is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to build a link between local smallholder farmers and the school meal system to produce a greater market for farmers and cut down on food insecurity. An estimated 3,000 metric tons of rice will be bought from Haitian farmers during the current school year in order to provide the National School Meals Programme with a supply large enough to sustain the 685,000 children in school. Milk is also bought from local smallholder farmers and distributed to 84 different schools.

With continued support from these various causes, Haiti is making strides to rebuild its health and economy. Farmers and the most vulnerable members of the community are also being given the necessary resources needed to help strengthen them and curb malnutrition in Haiti.

Becka Felcon

Sources: Partners in Health, Partners in Health, Hunger Relief International, World Food Programme

scale_calories_hunger
In recent years, technology and applications have had an increasingly philanthropic purpose. The latest of these technologies is the Share Your Calories application. The app was designed by Catherine Jones, a well-known author of nutrition cookbooks, Elaine Trujillo, a leader in nutrition, and Stop Hunger Now, an international agency aimed to end hunger across the globe.

The app can be used to help people lose weight while simultaneously providing food to people harmed by natural disasters. By adding a philanthropic purpose, the designers of the application aimed to give users another goal as well as more motivation to eat healthier. Studies also show that spending on others makes us happier than spending on ourselves, so the application, in and of itself, allows users to feel lasting happiness.

The application allows users to monitor their daily activities and food intake through a calorie bank determined by bio-data. If they do not consume all the calories in their calorie bank, the user has the option to convert the extra calories into monies. Once they have accumulated $12, the user has the option to donate to Stop Hunger Now.

Each Stop Hunger now high-protein dehydrated meal is equivalent to 250 calories and 25 cents.

The financial contributions from the Share Your Calories App go toward Stop Hunger Now meal packaging events. Each of these meals contains rice, dehydrated soy and vegetables as well as a vitamin-mineral pack. These meals are easy to store and have a shelf-life of 2 years.

These meals are currently distributed through host-organizations, but the funds from this application will also allow smaller groups and businesses to participate.

This application hopes to bring in $95,000 to build an android app, provide basic nutrition information, translate the app into different languages, etc. The Stop Hunger Now effort is supported by the Medical Science Foundation, TruBios Communications, iSO-FORM, The Ohio State University Food Innovation Center and the Experiment.

Lienna Feleke-Eshete

Sources: IndieGoGo, FoodTank
Photo: Irish Red Cross

India_Food_Program
By 2028, India’s population will rise to about 1.45 billion people, overtaking China as the worlds most populated country. Currently, 69 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people live on less than $2 per day. This means families are struggling to provide basic human needs, often living on the streets or creating entire slum villages out of scrap material.

India’s expansive population and unequal distribution of economic opportunity has led to alarming levels of hunger and malnutrition.

The Global Hunger Index 2013, developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute along with Wealthungerhilfe, Institute of Development Studies and Concern Worldwide, ranks India 105 out of 120 countries.  This ranking is based on indicators of undernourishment, children under five underweight and child mortality of which India reported 17.5 percent, 40.2 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively.

Due to widespread poverty, hunger and perhaps, political gamesmanship, India has enacted the National Food Security Act (NFSA.)  This ambitious and controversial piece of legislation aims to supply nearly 800 million people with monthly food grains.  This includes 75 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of the urban population.

The monthly allotment is 5 kilograms of a combination of wheat, rice and coarse grains at approximately $.05, $.03 and $.02 per kilogram, respectively.  Those deemed extreme cases, about 24 million people, would receive up to 35 kilograms of food grains per month.  To coincide with these additional welfare distributions, the new law also designates that pregnant women will also receive one free meal daily until 6 months after childbirth.

Women will also receive a maternity benefit of Rupees 6,000 ($98.)

Under the law, children up to the age of fourteen will receive a free meal.  It also requires the State Government identify children who suffer from malnutrition and provide them with free meals.

Critics of the new law raise the question of whether the NFSA is the proper response the India’s hunger problem. Spending even more money on welfare during a period where the rupee has depreciated could be detrimental to the nation’s economy.

Another critical issue that the central government must address is the current food delivery system.  Although the new law calls for reforms of the Public Distribution System, the government must ensure that a majority of the food will reach the intended beneficiaries.  Difficulties in identifying the most needy as well as rampant corruption contributed to only 40 percent of distributed food grains reaching their target destination in 2005.

This historic effort to combat hunger within one of the poorest nations in the world should serve as an inspiration to other countries.  Despite the vast amount of obstacles and the sheer number of impoverished people, India has decided access to food is a right not a privilege.

Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Time, International Food Policy Research Institute, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, India Code

Photo: News.com.au