Norwegian Airlines and Unicef
Since 2007, two organizations, Norwegian Airlines and UNICEF,  have been working together to raise money and support for UNICEF’s humanitarian aid missions. Everyone from the flight crews up to Norwegian Airlines CEO, Bjorn Kos, participates. The partnership started in 2007 when Norwegian airlines began transporting supplies for emergency aid to Yemen on their planes and making yearly donations to UNICEF. In the 10 years since they began working together, Norwegian Airlines raised over $2.5 million for UNICEF.

The ‘Fill A Plane’ Program: Central African Republic

The partnership between Norwegian Airlines and UNICEF escalated in 2014 with the maiden voyage of their first “Fill a Plane” program. Norwegian and UNICEF boast that they fill every inch of a 737 Dreamliner with humanitarian aid. This humanitarian aid includes medical supplies, medication and education supplies. The destination of “Fill a Plane’s” first flight was to Bangui, the capital city of the Central African Republic.

Norwegian Airlines posted a touching Youtube video in 2014 about their first humanitarian flight. In the video, they noted that 8.5 tons of humanitarian aid were loaded onto their 737 in Copenhagen and flown to Bangui in the Central African Republic. This aid went to the thousands of internally displaced people under the care of UNICEF.

The ‘Fill A Plane’ Program: Jordan and Yemen

In 2015, Norwegian Airlines again sent another flight under their “Fill a Plane” partnership program. This time the plane was sent to Jordan to deliver humanitarian supplies to Syrian refugees in the Za’atari refugee camp. Norwegian Airline’s CEO, Bjorn Kos, opens the video by stating that, at the time, Za’atari was the world’s second-largest refugee camp. The contents of this flight focused heavily on educational aid.

There were no flights in 2016, so in 2017 Norwegian Airlines sent two. The first mission was to Bamako, Mali in March 2017. Here school supplies were an important part of the mission. The video shows Norwegian Airline employees taking part in classes as well as bringing food from the flight to the children’s hospital. The second mission was to bring aid to Yemen. Tons of food and cholera medication for 300,000 children were loaded onto the 787 Dreamliner, a much larger plane than the previous 737’s. The aid had to be offloaded in Djibouti due to the dangerous conflict in Yemen.

Future Flights

The future of the partnership between Norwegian Airlines and UNICEF looks promising. In 2018, Norwegian Airlines sent its largest “fill a plane” flight to Chad. The plane held over 13,000 kilos, over 28,000 pounds, of humanitarian aid to Chad. This flight also included the Norwegian Minister of International Development, who is shown in the video helping the Norwegian Crew members and other employees load the cabin with boxes of supplies.

In every video, the Norwegian Airlines CEO, Bjorn Kos looks genuinely happy to help his company do its part in humanitarian aid around the world. The CEO does not charge when he gives speeches and seminars; he only asks that a donation is made to UNICEF. With recognition from his own government and on the world stage, hopefully, the partnership between Norwegian Airlines and UNICEF will continue to grow and more flights can be sent each year, helping those in need.

Nicholas Anthony DeMarco

Photo: Google

Food Security in Nigeria
Malnutrition has been labeled Nigeria’s silent crisis by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health. The most vulnerable group affected are children as up to one million children under the age of five are affected by severe acute malnutrition in Nigerian each year. Policy predictions about future access to nutrition continue to place food security in Nigeria as a pressing issue for government, NGOs and local organizations.


Oscar Ekponimo, a Nigerian entrepreneur, had personal experience with hunger as a child that led him to develop a cloud-based software app called Chowberry. When he was a child, his mom used to remind him that hunger was not forever, and he cites this reminder as one of the reasons that kept him going every day. The idea for the app came as he walked the aisles of a grocery store and came across a can of tuna about to expire. With the goal of reducing food waste by redirecting it to those in need, Chowberry combines technology with the missions of local NGOs to address the momentous issue of food security in Nigeria.

In fact, this app allows retailers to monitor and track food product expiration in order to allow customers to access deep discounts through the app’s algorithm. The discounts become larger the longer the food waits on the shelves. The beta version – a 3-month trial of the app – connected 300 users with 20 retailers that provided nutrition to approximately 150 orphans and vulnerable children through partnership with orphanages. This pilot program was a success as it allowed participating orphanages to cut down on spending by more than 70 percent.

The app also reaches non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are able to purchase food at reasonable prices and acquire more food for distribution. The app logs a list of the NGOs’ preferences and notifies them when it receives the type of food the charities need for their food distribution programs. As of right now, Ekponimo’s biggest challenge is fighting ‘red tape’ that makes larger companies slow to adopt the necessary technology.

Powerful Partnerships

There has been a growing demand for Chowberry’s services over the past few years, and the organization now has a team of nine in Abuja that works with 20 retailers. Chowberry partners with three local charities to enhance food security in Nigeria: the Afro Global Care Foundation, Hold My Hands Women and Youth Development Foundation and Thrifty Slayer.

Ekponimo doesn’t stop his social activism with Chowberry; he also delivers free training and mentorship to school-age children on how to tackle hunger, malnutrition and achieving sustainable development. His social entrepreneurship and commitment to addressing food security in Nigeria won Ekponimo the 2016 Rolex Award of Enterprise and the title of being named one of Time magazine’s Next Generation Leader for 2017.

Creating Sustainable Innovations and Improvement

Although Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest and most populated country, more than half the people residing in its borders live below the poverty line. Furthermore, Northern Nigeria has the third highest rate of chronic undernutrition of children in the world, and the International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that approximately 300,000 children are expected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria over the coming year.

Food security remains at the forefront of challenges within th enation, and there is thus no doubt that the need exists for innovations like Chowberry.

– Georgie Giannopoulos
Photo: Flickr


Of the challenges of the 21st century, one of the largest in terms of magnitude and prevalence is food insecurity. The term food insecurity is used loosely to define inconsistent access to food, due to limitations of resources.

The issue is unfortunately highly prevalent in not only the developing world but in the United States as well. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 in 6 Americans faces food insecurity. This translates to roughly 50 million Americans in total.

These staggering numbers are indicative of what most of us are already quite familiar with: the issue of global hunger. However, the interpretation of its causes, and consequently the approach to its solutions, has been controversial. Many scientists, particularly biotechnologists, regard higher food production as the solution; and in many instances, it is effective.

As a result of agronomical developments, the world today is producing more food per inhabitant than ever before. However, the strides made in scientific innovation have not paralleled the alleviation of global hunger.

In fact, the implications of these discrepancies lie in the inequality of food distribution. For many people, food remains unavailable despite the copious amounts of food that go to waste each day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost 35 million tons of food were wasted in the United States in 2013. Estimates by the National Resource Defense Council have estimated that 40% of all food produced in America is wasted.

To tackle the issue of wasted food, a Seattle-based startup has come up with a creative solution based on smartphone technology: Leftover Swap. Leftover Swap is a smartphone app that allows users to share their leftover food with others before it goes to waste. The users can snap a photo of their leftovers, and upload it on the app with a location tag. Anyone looking for food can then find all the shared food in their location. To make the app safer for users, it allows for instant messaging within the app where users can agree on a location to pick up food. The app also does not allow any user to charge for their leftover food.

The benefits and the range of applications for the app remain dubious: people who own smartphones are not necessarily the ones in dire need of free food provision. However, as smartphones become cheaper, it may be possible to reach marginalized populations. Moreover, it can be a way for food recovery networks to salvage more food that would have otherwise gone to a landfill.

Many people are also concerned about the degree of safety of food. The Health Department does not evaluate this food, as it is not technically being sold. In spite of the app’s continual reminders to only share food one would eat itself, the hygienic status of the food cannot be positively reaffirmed. The co-founder of the app, Dan Newman, contends that there is a certain degree of faith that needs to be put into this effort, as would be the case if one was being given food as a guest.

The app is to date the only app of its kind and faces some hurdles before it can reach the objectives of sustainability and food equality that it intends. However, it is a step in the right direction, and as interest in the app increases, it is more than likely that we will see improvements both from this app and potential competitors.

Atifah Safi

Sources: Washington Post, NPR, , NRDC, Feeding America, USDA, Leftover Swap
Photo: Newsana

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, ranking behind paper, food is the second largest source of waste.

Twenty-five-year-old Komal Ahmad, who graduated from the University of California at Berkley in 2012, is solving this problem by feeding millions of people with her phone app, Feeding Forward.

In 2011, Ahmad was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money. Instead of cash, Ahmad offered to take him to lunch. As they ate, she discovered he was a returned soldier who, after some bad luck, now made his living begging on the streets.

Ahmad was overwhelmed by his situation. Determined to help others like him, she started a program at UC Berkley where cafeterias donated excess food to homeless shelters. Soon after, the program expanded to 140 colleges across the United States.

But Ahmad didn’t stop with the food recovery program.

“Imagine a football stadium filled to its brim,” Ahmad says. “That’s how much food goes wasted every single day in America.”

In 2012, Ahmad collaborated with a developer and they launched the Feeding Forward mobile app in 2013. The app originally targeted restaurant owners and event planners in San Francisco who could use the app to donate leftover food to homeless shelters. By entering their location into the app, a Feeding Forward driver picks up the leftover food and delivers it to shelters in the area.

In addition to the app, Feeding Forward has its own website.

Since Feeding Forward launched, Ahmad has recovered more than 691,896 pounds of food, which fed more than 570,000 people.

Now the CEO of her nonprofit organization, Feeding Forward, Ahmad says, “We need to figure out how to establish sustainable solutions that can distribute the food we already have faster and get it to people who need it faster and safely.”

Ahmad’s mobile app is proof that quick and successful distribution can feed the hungry.

In early June 2015, Feeding Forward partnered with the Bite Silicon Food Valley food-tech conference in Santa Clara, California. Over the course of three days, celebrity chefs prepared a wide range of meals. After the event, Feeding Forward collected 5,135 pounds of food which fed more than 4,279 people in eight different homeless shelters.

Around the world, the Feeding Forward app is praised and desired.

“I didn’t expect it to blow up,” Ahmad says. “People as far as Nairobi, Bangalore and Hong Kong have wrote us asking us to expand Feeding Forward to their cities and countries. They’re like, ‘Tell me what I can do to get it here.’”

The mobile app is currently being revamped. It will be available again in August 2015. The website, however, is still up and running.

Feeding Forward offers hope for other countries struggling with hunger and food distribution.

Ahmad says, “These are huge cities that have absurd amounts of food thrown away every day. We are trying to make the Bay Area a case study to say ‘Hey, if it works here, it can work anywhere.’”

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: CNET, Daily News, Feeding Forward, News Everyday
Photo: Architect Africa

Scholars have discovered that the issue with world hunger is not a food shortage, but the logistics behind food distribution. We need to improve access to food by looking at production strategies, trade agreements and food aid. Here are 10 quotes on world hunger.

“We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” – Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States.

“Close to a billion people – one-eighth of the world’s population – still live in hunger. Each year 2 million children die through malnutrition. This is happening at a time when doctors in Britain are warning of the spread of obesity. We are eating too much while others starve.” – Jonathan Sacks, jewish scholar.

“We are a country that prides itself on power and wealth, yet there are millions of children who go hungry every day. It is our responsibility, not only as a nation, but also as individuals, to get involved. So, next time you pass someone on the street who is in need, remember how lucky you are, and don’t turn away.” – Lesley Boone, actress and social activist.

“When you share your last crust of bread with a beggar, you mustn’t behave as if you were throwing a bone to a dog. You must give humbly, and thank him for allowing you to have a part in his hunger.” – Giovanni Guareschi, Italian journalist.

“When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political, or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu, Anglican bishop and social activist.

“It is important for people to realize that we can make progress against world hunger, that world hunger is not hopeless. The worst enemy is apathy.” – Reverend David Beckmann, president of Alliance to End Hunger.

“There are genuinely sufficient resources in the world to ensure that no one, nowhere, at no time, should go hungry.” – Ed Asner, actor and social activist.

“The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock–food for the well off–while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.” – Dr.Walden Bello, 2003 Right Livelihood Award winner.

“The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.

“The first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” – Norman Borlaug, biologist and humanitarian.

Stephanie Lamm

Sources: Bits of Positivity, Do One Thing, Second Harvest Food Bank

Customers engage in heated negotiations over tomatoes and beans, chickens cluck loudly, and a thick cloud of smoke surrounds tables. These tables sit on a dirt road, as meat rots in the heat. At this Zambian market, every farmer can sell a product and every customer can barter for a more affordable price.

And, yet few miles from the Bauleni market, customers stroll the aisles of a local Pick ‘n Pay.

The rise of supermarkets in Africa holds the promise of dramatically reducing poverty this region. These stores attract both farmers and customers. For farmers, this business offers a more reliable – and higher – income.

More than sixty small farmers currently produce food for a local Zambian Pick ‘n Pay. Agriculture dominates the economy in Zambia, providing more than 60 percent of the jobs.  The manager reportedly receives five or six calls a day from local farmers. To ensure quality products, the company visits each farm, checks the water supply and offers further training.

These chains also offer men and women the opportunity to work in the store. For instance, women often chop and package food for the shelves.

Large commercial farms, however, pose a threat in some African economies. In Zambia, the Farmers Union holds significant political power, and lobbied the government for fair opportunity in the industry. The government negotiated with the supermarket chains and as a result, set the requirements for companies in the region. Chains like Pick ‘n Pay must purchase at least half of the products from Zambian suppliers.

In other nations, though, small farmers face less government assistance. In Lesotho, more than half of the two million residents farm. Yet these supermarket chains import an estimated 99 percent of goods from large South African businesses.

A small minority benefit from this current supply structure. If farmers live more than a few miles from the supermarket, participation is not feasible.  Many do not have the refrigeration or transportation capabilities to meet the demands of a partnership. To include these farmers, companies must continue to expand or provide transportation.

One chain, Shoprite supermarkets, increased sales by 28 percent in the year. This chain established 47 new African stores, primarily in Nigeria and Angola. The expansion of may benefit or harm small farmers; more stores offer greater opportunity to sell produce, but also infringe on land traditionally used for farming.

Alone, small farmers cannot meet the quantity or quality demanded by these chains. However, those near a store partner to produce goods for a Pick ‘n Pay or other business. For instance, nearly sixty farmers consolidate produce in an independently-owned storehouse. Men and women from across the region deliver tomatoes, beans or onions in trucks – at times, wheelbarrows – to contribute to the business.

To continue to profit, these South African chains must tailor goods to the economic status of customers. For instance, customers in the cooper belt of Zambia purchase luxury chocolate bars or a sack of maize, a working class staple. The chains must offer a wide range of products, depending on the income of the region.

Six African nations rank among ten-fasted growing economies in the past decade. These supermarket chains help farmers capitalize on existing agriculture, offering a more secure income to those in poverty.

– Ellery Spahr

Sources: Marketplace, The Economist
Photo: Boag World