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Between 2015 and 2016, world hunger rose by 20 million people, according to most recent estimates released in a 2016 U.N. report. This issue affects 815 million people worldwide. The single biggest cause of hunger is poverty, but there are also other heavily contributed factors. Since the turn of the century, food production has outpaced population growth, and the world now produces enough food to feed 1.5x the global population. The question of how to end hunger stretches beyond simply farming more effectively. To end hunger, we have to address the issue as more than a supply-demand deficiency.

Poverty

Only 11 percent of world hunger comes from developed countries; by far, the regions most afflicted by hunger are middle- and lower-income. In 2016, 22.7 percent of Sub-Saharan Africans were reported as malnourished. For those living on less than $2 per day, food can be too expensive to maintain a healthy diet. Economic hardship is further expounded by a lack of education and inadequate access to basic needs such as food, potable water and shelter. In this context, poverty and hunger have a cyclical nature. To reduce poverty, you have to reduce hunger and to reduce hunger, you have to reduce poverty. Take a look here to see how the Borgen Project plans to end poverty.

Armed Conflicts and Political Instability

Poverty is not the only factor in global hunger. Armed conflicts and political instability play a major role in keeping food out of hungry mouths. In recent years, conflicts have been rising, which may correspond to the increase of worldwide malnourished people.

War has also increasingly occurred in regions already vulnerable to disease and malnourishment, such as sub-Saharan and Eastern Africa. For example, South Sudan has been the site of a civil war since 2013. In 2017, the fighting played a major role in South Sudan undergoing the first declared famine in six years. Six million people (one in three residents of South Sudan) have been declared severely food insecure.

Violence takes away human capital, removing productive people from countries that need this capital the most. War destroys infrastructure, disrupts children’s schooling and creates more refugees. Peace is no easy task, but it’s a necessary one to achieve food security for all.

Steps Toward Ending World Hunger

The search for how to end hunger continues, despite the recent setbacks. Humanitarian organizations, such as Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) have worked hard to fight hunger and alleviate the problems associated with it. CARE works in 94 countries and impacts 80 million people worldwide.

Other organizations have developed more atypical answers of how to end hunger. Freedom From Hunger, a charitable organization dedicated to ending world hunger through economic empowerment, has instituted savings and micro-financing programs to people at risk of food insecurity. The goal of these programs is to help people plan for the future and pull themselves out of poverty through education, financial services and monetary savings.

The road to ending hunger will be long and hard. There will be more setbacks, but at the end of the day, it’s up to the world to pave a better future.

– Peter Buffo
Photo: Flickr

How to end world hunger

Ending world hunger is far less complicated than most people assume. In a world where one in every nine people goes to bed hungry, how do governments and their respective societies ensure people have access to the nutrition they need? Many international organizations are leading the charge to end world hunger, setting manageable goals and creating guidelines to fight against poverty. The World Food Programme’s former executive director, Josette Sheeran outlined a straight-forward approach on how to end world hunger in 10 steps.

 

How to End World Hunger

 

  1. Humanitarian action is the first and most direct solution suggested by Sheeran. Spreading resources around the world has been the most popular form of fighting hunger and it continues to grow. According to the Global Humanitarian Assistance Initiative, international humanitarian assistance reached a record of $24.5 billion in aid in 2014.
  2. Providing school meals is an efficient way of supporting both nutrition and youth education in society. Schools are already a haven for youth in developing countries. Adding school meals ensures students stay in school longer and receive a better education.
  3. A social safety net can defend people from falling back into poverty when disaster endangers their ascent. Farmers and their laborers are especially vulnerable to changes in weather patterns and natural disasters, which can destroy their crop and their wealth in one fell swoop.
  4. Connecting small farmers to markets is an essential method of increasing the income of subsistence farmers in developing countries. CNN reports that there are 600 million small farmers and herders in the world. Initiatives such as fair trade products and companies have brought more income to these small farmers.
  5. Decrease infant mortality rates. The first 1,000 days represent the most important period in an infant’s life. During this critical period, the child must receive the necessary nutrition and care from its mother in order to ensure its survival. Improving the chance that children born in poverty receive this care is essential in fighting high child mortality rates and stunting.
  6. Empowering women would unlock a new pool of human capital in the fight against poverty and world hunger. Making political and economic opportunities available to the female population in a country only improves the social institutions of the nation.
  7. With the support of safety nets, a resilient population can resist the pressures of poverty-inducing crises like economic downturns and military conflicts. Preparation can be implemented at the community or governmental level, or however hunger prevention can be mobilized most efficiently.
  8. Bringing the technological development that has occurred in developed countries to their emerging peers can accelerate the development of entire nations. For instance, the output and efficiency of farmers can be augmented by the use of various agricultural technologies.
  9. The power of the individual in a community should not be underestimated by organizations looking to fight hunger. Mobilizing just a small group of people can yield huge results through technology and communication on the internet.
  10. Finally, there needs to be some sort of local leadership in the fight against world hunger. While organizations like the United Nations and the World Food Programme have taken charge on the international level, more local groups need to lead in individual communities if world hunger is to be truly eradicated.

The United Nations, UNICEF and The World Food Programme are just a few examples of groups that have brought widespread relief to nations around the globe.

Jacob Hess

Photo: Flickr