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TikTok in Africa
TikTok, the popular video-sharing social media platform, has taken a unique approach to enter the African market by empowering young Africans to take a stance as influencers. Many users on the site share short entertaining videos of themselves or friends singing and dancing along to popular songs. They can connect to others based on shared viewing interests. Some users of TikTok in Africa have decided to take things a step further and use the platform to share their support for certain ideas or causes.

TikTok for Good

One way the company encourages activism on its platform is through the TikTok for Good program, where users receive encouragement to share hashtags across the site that promote causes they are passionate about. “TikTok wants to inspire and encourage a new generation to have a positive impact on the planet and those around them,” the company wrote in a statement on its website. By uploading videos with a hashtag that represents a specific cause or campaign, users can become influencers and advocates and continue to share videos within the trend.

Some of the most successful TikTok for Good trends in the past have been #PetBff and #CreateForACause. #PetBff celebrated International Homeless Animals’ Day in 2019 in partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). TikTok encouraged users to share videos of their pets, and for every video that it posted from Aug. 19 to Aug. 22, 2019, the company donated $1 to the ASPCA. According to the TikTok website, the trend had over 490,000 videos created and raised $75,000, the company’s maximum pledge amount. Similarly, #CreateForACause encouraged users to use special holiday filters in their videos in support of DoSomething.org, a completely youth-led nonprofit organization that advocates for social change; Best Friends Animal Society, a nonprofit organization in support of animal welfare and Oceana, an international ocean conservation advocacy group. TikTok pledged a $2 million donation to the charities during the campaign.

#DanceforChange Inspires Advocacy

A popular advocacy trend on TikTok in Africa has been the #DanceforChange challenge in partnership with the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). IFAD is a Rome-based U.N. agency that works to encourage individuals, companies and countries around the world to invest in more sustainable agriculture in order to improve food security across the globe. According to its website, IFAD has given $20.9 billion in loans and grants towards 1,069 sustainable agriculture projects that it has supported in partnership with 125 governments. In total, it has reached approximately 483 million people around the world with its programs.

The #DanceforChange challenge encourages users to post dancing content to the site with the hashtag. The videos act as a virtual petition that IFAD uses in support of greater investment in sustainable agriculture across rural African communities. “IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience,” the organization said in a statement on its website.

Sherrie Silver, IFAD’s advocate for rural youth and an MTV award-winning choreographer, partnered with the popular African recording artist Mr Eazi to highlight the TikTok campaign in the hopes of inspiring more African youth to take action using the site. “We are dancing to capture the world’s attention and to share a message with young people everywhere: our generation can end global hunger, but only if our leaders invest more in agriculture and the next generation of young farmers,” Silver said in an interview with IFAD.

The #DanceforChange challenge goes further than other TikTok for Good trends by both offering African youth a space to showcase its talents and giving them the opportunity to advocate for themselves and their communities to a global audience. The platform allows users of TikTok in Africa to catch the rest of the world’s attention and ask for help addressing issues like hunger and inefficient agricultural practices that they still face in poverty.

TikTok in Africa

The Chinese-based company quickly gained popularity in the United States and across Europe, though TikTok is now focusing on the African market. Along with the #DanceforChange challenge, TikTok has begun moving some company operations into Africa. For example, in 2018 TikTok partnered with Nairobi Garage, a co-working space in Nairobi that offers meeting rooms, club space and private offices, to offer educational sessions on creating content and safe practices while using the platform. The company also began hiring local staff for TikTok in Africa throughout Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in order to both provide jobs within each country’s business sector and connect to the local African market from within.

By moving TikTok into Africa, the company has been able to offer formal employment opportunities at its new office spaces, which in turn helps to reduce poverty levels in those countries as incomes and quality of life increases. Additionally, TikTok is able to create a more inclusive audience as African creators and influencers join the platform to share their culture.

TikTok in Africa continues to make a positive impact both within the country and across the globe by connecting people from impoverished backgrounds to the same creative spaces the rest of the world is able to access. Not only does the app inspire users around the world to advocate for development in Africa, but it also empowers youth within Africa to take their own action to fight hunger because they have a chance for others to hear and see them.

– Myranda Campanella
Photo: Flickr

The Link Between Agriculture and Poverty Reduction
The link between agriculture and poverty reduction has significant documentation. Developing countries that have risen from high levels of extreme poverty have seen improvements in agriculture and an increase in farmers’ wages that cooccur with drops in the poverty rate. According to an OECD report, one can attribute 52 percent of poverty reduction to growth in agriculture incomes. In addition, for a measure of 1 percent GNI growth, agriculture contributed the most to poverty reduction. The policy that seemed to work the most was significantly increasing the protection of agriculture exports by reducing high taxes on exports and reducing overly inflated exchange rates. The greatest advantage of improving agriculture is that the poorest of society benefits the most. The lower the literacy rates, the stronger the poverty-reducing effect.

Vietnam

Changes in Vietnam over the decades exemplify the link between agriculture and poverty reduction. It lifted its people out of extreme poverty by focusing on improvements in its agriculture sector. The poverty rate was northward of 60 percent in 1990 and fell to just 20.7 percent in 2010. Vietnam lifted an estimated 30 million people out of poverty in total. During that time, the government incentivized farmers to invest in their land. Instead of food shortages, the country was able to export its commodities at a surplus. Multilateral trade agreements formed, and the country moved from a closed economy to one open to trade. In the 1980s, Vietnam had food shortages, and today it is a major exporter of rice to world markets.

Indonesia

Some developing countries did not focus on developing their agriculture sectors. In addition to this, those countries experienced the opposite trend. In contrast to Vietnam, Indonesia slowed in poverty reduction last decade. Overall growth in this sector has been weak with researchers making little progress. The poverty rate declined by only half a percentage point in each 2012 and 2013, which was the smallest declines in the last decade. One of the reasons might be a recent trend where small farmers experience eviction from their land in favor of large companies. These companies then use the land for palm oil and rubber. However, are signs that suggest that the agriculture sector may be rebounding. In 2017, there was an increase in both agriculture employment and production. Currently, 32 percent of Indonesians work in the sector. Additionally, rice production went up to 75.4 million tons and up from around 70 million tons in 2014.

Guinea

Guinea is another country that focuses on other sectors for its economic growth. Mining makes up 80 percent of Guinea’s exports, and agriculture makes up the rest. Despite mining being a lucrative industry, it only employs 2.5 percent of the working population. Based on simulations using the 2014 population census, the poverty rate increased to 57.7 percent. Surprisingly, experts often cite Ebola as one of the causes, but low agriculture productivity is an equally large problem.

There is plenty of room for growth in this sector, both in terms of technology and land area farmed. In addition, farmers use very little agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and mechanization. In contrast, there are signs that agriculture is becoming more of a focus. The country has decided to invest in agriculture. In 2018, Guinea allocated 12.5 percent of its budget to agriculture, up from the current level of 7.3 percent. Additionally, IFAD and the Guinean government reached an aid agreement that will raise wages for 65,000 rural farm families and aims to increase family farm production.

For the poorest nations, choosing the sector to focus on reducing poverty is important. Evidence suggests that the link between agriculture and poverty reduction is strong. Developing countries that invest in the agriculture sector and promote policies that benefit farmers tend to fare better in this respect than countries that focus on other sectors.

Caleb Carr
Photo: Flickr

 agricultural sector

Kyrgyzstan is a mostly mountainous country situated between Kazakhstan and China. Its population is mostly Kyrgyz, with an Uzbek minority. Most of the population lives in the flatland regions, with only sparse settlements in the mountains themselves. The country also ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world, with numerous contributing factors to its low GDP, including the agriculture sector in Kyrgyzstan. Since leaving the Soviet Union, Kyrgyzstan has lacked a reliable source of resources and funds beyond their own borders; and despite trade, they struggle economically with exports.

Compounding poverty, the agricultural sector of Kyrgyzstan also remains underdeveloped despite the nation’s progress. Despite accounting for 40 percent of the country’s labor force, agricultural workers experience widespread poverty and food shortages, especially those living in rural areas. The lack of progress and modernization in this area is coupled with a combination of economic weakness and lack of oversight from a shifting government to create a stagnant environment. However, the aid programs discussed below are boosting the agricultural sector.

Agriculture in Kyrgyzstan is mostly a local affair. Families grow food for themselves in what is called “sustenance farming.” Large-scale commercial farming is still small compared to similar operations in other countries. Despite this, several foreign aid programs have been implemented to improve the agricultural sector.

Aid Programs – IFAD

IFAD is an organization dedicated to helping rural communities in developing nations. Through low-interest loans and investments in helping poor households and communities, they help spur growth in these sectors and countries. In Kyrgyzstan, they focus specifically on improving livestock productivity and improving livestock farmers’ access to better markets.

The funded programs provide training in techniques for rural farmers while guiding them to better markets. These programs teach better business practices, which leads to greater earning potentials for families. Finally, natural disaster insurance is also provided for these same households and communities, protecting families against extreme weather.

USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer program

One of two major agricultural endeavors in Kyrgyzstan, the Farmer-to-Farmer project was a program implemented over five years, finishing in 2018. Similar to IFAD, the program focused on families and communities who relied on small farms and agribusinesses for income. This included providing agricultural training to improve yield as well as business training to improve market reliability and profit. Without proper training, small farming businesses often yield small quantities of product not enough to constitute “food security.”
By the time the program was complete, 21 agricultural education assignments were completed. These included the education of local businesses – leading to newly established guidelines and quality standards for food – as well as students and graduate students of agriculture. The program reached a total of 4,320 recipients, with 3672 successfully trained.

Agro Horizon

The other major agricultural endeavor of USAID in Kyrgyzstan, Agro Horizon, is still ongoing. Partnering with several corporations, Agro Horizon has provided over $30 million dollars in aid. The focus has been on the commercialization and industrialization of Kyrgyzstan’s agriculture in an effort to make it more profitable.
The program’s investments have taken several forms, both in modernizing production and processing methods, as well as grants and training opportunities for over 100,000 households. Thanks to a partnership with a local agricultural producer, the first commercial-scale production of safflower seed was launched. Similarly, the first Kyrgyz modern slaughterhouse following international standards was established. The program has already helped establish 1,200 jobs providing more stable income than previous.

There are still many opportunities to improve agriculture in Kyrgyzstan. Areas of untapped potential and continued aid stand to make agriculture in the country not just sustainable, but profitable. So long as aid for the agricultural sector in Kyrgyzstan continues, Kyrgyztan’s agriculture sector might be able to pull itself up from its current state.

– Mason Sansonia
Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Comoros

Although 44.8 percent of Comorians were below the poverty line in 2004, a few organizations have fought causes of poverty in Comoros to reach satisfying results. In 2009, the Comoros Poverty Reduction Strategy (CPRS) was approved and implemented from 2010 to 2014. Its goals were to stabilize the economy, improve health and promote education. In light of these efforts, among others, the island nation’s GDP grew 3.17 percent between 2000 and 2014, with 1.22 percent of that growth occurring from 2010 to 2014.

Agriculture
After merely a year of the CPRS influences, Comoros saw progress in agricultural production. Luckily, CPRS was not alone in its efforts. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provides four loans and two grants to Comoros to protect and increase agricultural production. Because of IFAD’s efforts in cultivation, 60,855 households benefit each year.

Due to an increased level of agricultural production, food prices increased. Thus, the Gross National Income responded with a one percent increase from 2010 to 2014. With the higher food production rates came a higher labor demand, establishing a need for more women in the labor force. By attacking one cause, like farming, CPRS was able to improve multiple aspects of the economy.

Health
Another focus of the CPRS is Comorian health and safety. Combating disease is a major implementation of the CPRS, as it prevents death and strengthens Comoros’ economy. One of the strategies was to “ensure appropriate allocation of resources by levels of service and equality of access to health services.” This led to a decrease in infant and maternal mortality rates. Cases of malaria also decreased from 42 percent in 2006 to 36 percent in 2011 as a result of the malaria ACT and efforts to grant free bed nets. Comorian life expectancy steadily rose from age 60 in 2006 to 63 in 2014.

Education
The CPRS envisions a basic education plan in place until 2020 to alleviate future causes of poverty in Comoros. The strategy emphasizes gaining high enrollment and completion rates, but battles with gender inequalities. The Gross Enrollment Ratio decreased favorably from 107 percent in 2008 to 103 percent in 2014 because of the increase in students completing basic schooling. The quality of education in Comoros has also been a focus of the CPRS by encouraging proper training for teachers, but also by holding teachers accountable for students’ performances.

The combined efforts to improve agriculture, health and education within Comoros has ignited a motivation for change. With continued efforts on behalf of the government and other organizations, soon the people of Comoros will have the opportunity to rise above the poverty line.

-Brianna White

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in El Salvador

El Salvador is a country about the size of New Jersey, with a population of just over six million. In the past decade, poverty levels in this Central American country have dropped significantly. But 36 percent of rural Salvadorians still live in poverty. Why? These are three of the biggest causes of poverty in El Salvador:

1. An Unproductive Economy
Levels of poverty in countries are nearly always tied to the vitality of that country’s economy. And while El Salvador’s economy has made strides in recent years, it still suffers from stagnation. This is particularly evident in the agricultural sector. Salvadorian coffee crops have been damaged by coffee rust, a fungus that kills coffee beans. As coffee exports decreased, the economy suffered. Many rural Salvadorians were plunged into poverty. This sluggish economy is particularly detrimental for youth populations, who struggle to find employment. Fortunately, organizations like the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are offering help. Between 2015 and 2021, IFAD plans to invest 41 million US dollars into El Salvador’s agriculture community. IFAD’s strategy is a community-based approach, another sign of their commitment to Salvadorians. In short, IFAD’s intentional aid is helping eradicate the causes of poverty that plague El Salvador.

2. Crime
El Salvador is the most violent country in the world. Much of El Salvador’s crime is attributable to rampant gang violence and drug trafficking. According to World Finance, “approximately 70 percent of businesses in El Salvador are subject to gang-related crime.” This extortion stunts the El Salvadorian economy, leading to widespread poverty. The World Bank estimates that in 2011 alone, crime cost El Salvador’s government over two billion US dollars, 10.8 percent of the country’s GDP. By 2014, the cost of crime increased to 4 billion US dollars, 16 percent of El Salvador’s GDP. These levels of crime lead to massive instability and cripple the economy. These outcomes inevitably increase poverty levels.

3. Climate Change
Climate change is the most silent of all the causes of poverty in El Salvador, but is just as dangerous. El Salvador is highly susceptible to changes in weather due to its location. As the Earth’s temperature’s rise, El Salvador’s crop yield is expected to drop by 30 percent by 2050. Salvadorians are already beginning to feel the effects of climate change. Drought has affected over 80,000 people. As climate change continues, farming in El Salvador will become harder and harder. Agriculture accounts for 17.3 percent of total employment. As farming becomes less viable, more rural Salvadorians will find themselves in poverty.

Understanding the causes of poverty in El Salvador is vital for discovering routes towards change. Organizations like IFAD and Salvadorians themselves have already begun the work of development. But more needs to be done, and you can help! All it takes is a phone call or email to your representatives. Urge them to support aid and investment in developing countries, including El Salvador.

Adesuwa Agbonile

Photo: Flickr

China's Poverty Reduction PlanThe 11th ASEAN-China Forum on Social Development and Poverty Reduction took place in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. During the meeting, over 120 government officials, experts and scholars from China and ASEAN countries gathered together. They discussed China’s poverty alleviation plan and most successful practices.

The Country Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Cambodia, Nick Beresford, praised China for their poverty-reduction methods, which have lifted “hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” According to the China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, more than 700 million Chinese citizens have transitioned out of poverty. In addition, the rural poor population in China has declined to 43.35 million in December 2016.

The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gilbert Houngbo, also believes that China’s poverty reduction plan presents an excellent model for other countries to implement within own their economies. China’s economy is the second largest and accounts for 14.8 percent of the world economy, right behind the U.S. economy. With 1.38 billion people, China also has the largest population in the world.

“Even as a symbol,” President Houngbo stated, “China’s economic transition offers hope to other developing countries that want to do the same thing.”  The primary component of China’s poverty reduction plan is steady income growth for the bottom 60 percent of households in rural China. This plan has four underlying factors:

  1. Increased industrialization and urbanization throughout the country has transformed an agricultural surplus labor force into urban employment in China.
  2. Equally distributing land between the bottom “quintile households” and the top income households is another goal. The equal distribution of land enables the lower income households to proportionally benefit from the payments the state provides to support agricultural development.
  3. Universal social development programs are making contributions to increase income growth for bottom households. China has successfully implemented several social development programs designed to improve educational, medical and income growth.
  4. Targeted poverty reduction programs will develop the physical infrastructure and increase social development. They will also generate income to assist poor households.

A global market research and consulting firm called Ipsos conducted an international survey titled, “What Worries the World.” The 2017 survey documented answers from 26 different countries. They asked a random sample of 18,557 adults, aged 16 to 64, if they believed China had been making the right decisions for its citizens.

China has the highest percentage (87 percent) of people believing their country is going in a positive direction. In the survey, China was the only country to list “moral decline” as their top issue. A majority of the other 25 remaining nations listed “health care” or “unemployment” as their country’s top issue.

In a distant southern Chinese village, China’s poverty reduction plan is being tested. The Yi ethnic group has a unique language and culture from mainstream China. They reside in a geographically remote location. Many of them are illiterate and have a value system distinct from traditional money and prospects. Years of government intervention have failed to alter the Yi ethnic groups way of life.

In the village of Liangshan, more than 400,000 people are “classified as poor, meaning their yearly income is less than 340 dollars.” The Communist Party of China believes that lifting the Yi ethnic group and others out of economic hardship is critical to achieving the country’s goal of ending poverty by 2020.

While insufficient schools and language barriers present large issues, many locals believe that job creation for minority groups would be more successful than simply giving them money.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About the IFAD
The IFADs work is a critical component for addressing food security across the globe and helping to reduce poverty.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency under the umbrella of the United Nations. It works to educate families in developing regions and to provide them with access to resources for sustainable agricultural practices. Here are 10 facts about the IFAD.

10 Facts About the IFAD

  1. The fund started in 1977 as a specialized agency of the United Nations. The framework came out of the 1974 World Food Conference in Rome.
  2. Continuing to pursue the vision of five presidents before him, Gilbert F. Houngbo has been leading the fund since April 2017. A Togo native, Houngbo has dedicated 30 years to working with the world’s poor in rural areas. Houngbo led field operations in over 100 different countries as the deputy director-general of the International Labour Organization. He served as prime minister in the Republic of Togo from 2008 to 2012.
  3. The IFAD currently has staff members in over 40 countries and subregional offices. There are more than 600 people on staff.
  4. The agency works to provide developing nations with low-interest loans and grants used to fund agricultural projects in developing rural areas. It focuses on passing on integral skills and essential access to natural resources to individuals and families in developing nations.
  5. The agency falls under the jurisdiction of a governing council and an executive board. A president and vice-president manage it, including an array of departments such as financial operations and corporate services.
  6. Rome, Italy houses the IFAD headquarters.
  7. The fund is one of three multilateral institutions working to improve agricultural practices in Africa. It is also the only institution that has an exclusive focus on smallholder development — meaning a focus on farmers who cultivate small plots of land and rely on family for labor. IFADs outreach stretches across five continents, where impoverished rural areas benefit from a focus on smallholder development.
  8. Ongoing projects are located in areas of Asia and the Pacific, East and Southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East, North Africa, Europe, Central Asia and West and Central Africa. These areas receive financial support and agricultural technologies.
  9. Thus far, IFAD has distributed over $12.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans, leading to 860 different projects, and impacting more than 370 million people. Those benefiting from the fund’s efforts have been able to achieve better food security for their families.
  10. IFAD is working to mobilize more funds and resources to be invested in developing rural areas and to improve the quality of its programs through partnerships with other nations. The fund looks for the best ways to address each country’s evolving needs with Agenda 2030, a global initiative working to eradicate poverty and hunger. Agenda 2030 will work to further expand IFADs outreach, starting in 2016 and continuing through 2025, and will focus on sustainable agricultural models.


Leah Potter

Photo: Flickr

Desertification
According to the U.N., desertification is one of the greatest environmental challenges people face today. Often a poorly-understood phenomenon, desertification can mean hunger, economic crisis or death for those living in poverty. Below are the answers to common questions about desertification.

Desertification FAQ’s

  1. What is desertification? Desertification refers to the process of fertile land becoming unproductive. This means that the land struggles to grow any type of vegetation due to lack of minerals and nutrients in the soil.
  2. What causes it? Desertification can be caused by many factors, including deforestation, overpopulation, poor agricultural practices or climate change.
  3. What are some misconceptions about desertification? Although the word “desert” is normally associated with sand, desertification does not necessarily mean the land is becoming sand-covered. Instead, desertification occurs when a dryland ecosystem, or ecosystem that lacks water, becomes unproductive due to the tolls of the environment or human beings.
  4. Where does it happen? Desertification can happen anywhere as long as there is land with soil. Typically, the phenomenon is seen in drylands that suffer from droughts or heavy amounts of migration.
  5. How are desertification and poverty connected? According to the U.N., there are roughly two billion people who live and depend on dryland ecosystems, and up to 90 percent of those live in developing countries. These dryland ecosystems are prime environments for desertification to occur.
  6. How does desertification affect poverty? A population in poverty that suffers from desertification can become further impoverished due to the lack of sustainable land. Desertification can lead to starvation in developing countries.
  7. What does it mean for everyone else? When desertification threatens those in poverty, it also threatens global security. It can influence war, political unrest and mass migration.
  8. What can be done to prevent it? To prevent desertification caused by humans, it is beneficial to work with farmers to apply sustainable farming practices before desertification occurs. Preventing overpopulation is also important.
  9. What can we do to aid those in poverty who suffer from desertification? According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the most efficient way to aid those in poverty is to work with them to restore their own land. This restoration includes three approaches: resting, reseeding and planting.
  10. Can desertification be reversed? Reversing desertification is challenging, but it is possible with dedication. In 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was established in order to manage and develop land that has succumbed to desertification. Strategies such as reforestation, soil hyper-fertilization and water management have been implemented in order to begin salvaging lands affected by desertification.

In 2003, then-U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan declared desertification to be “both a cause and a consequence of poverty.” Using sustainable farming methods, we can fight the consequences of desertification and work to end poverty around the globe.

Morgan Leahy

Photo: Flickr


The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) generated an innovative program, FARMS (Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement and Rural Stability), to address the needs of host communities and increase economic opportunities for displaced individuals.

The IFAD is an international financial institution created to provide assistance during global droughts and famine. Since 1978, IFAD has contributed more than $10 billion in grants and low-interest loans that have aided more than 300 million people living in poverty. The loans and grants are used to increase household incomes and provide essential needs for families. The IFAD is primarily a U.N. agency in partnership with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and various developing countries. Currently, the IFAD supports more than 200 programs and collaborative projects in 81 developing countries.

According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, the total number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people has reached 65 million globally. In the Near East and North Africa region, 10 percent of agricultural communities consist of men and women who have been displaced and were forced to relocate. Most displaced individuals originated from rural areas and are currently living in host communities outside their native country. Global financial and medical assistance has vastly increased due to recent years of extreme violence and other violations of human rights.

At the U.N. World Summit on Migration, held in September 2016, the IFAD announced the creation of FARMS to counter the escalating and ongoing displacement crisis. Khalifa Bouzar, director of the NENA division, controls FARMS. She confirmed that FARMS will cover “both international refugees (people displaced across borders) and internally displaced people (forced to flee their homes due to conflict or other extraneous factors but remaining within their country).”

Specifically, Bouzar will focus on host areas and support local communities as they adjust to the influx of displaced men and women. The FARMS mission is to promote agricultural sustainability and increase crop production. As a result, the program will provide displaced individuals with financial grants to help them contribute back to their host communities.

Another portion of FARMS mission focuses on the creation of “One Million Days of Work,” which will generate a minimum of 20,000 job opportunities for local youth. This will be achieved by implementing 500 community infrastructure projects, strengthening community and regional governments’ ability to manage agricultural and economic development. Once initial development is stabilized, FARMS aims to improve the management of natural resources, primarily land and water.

Ultimately, the FARMS mission is to assist in the implementation of long-term peace and development of dividends. “It is paramount,” Bouzar states, “to create a healthy climate for economic opportunities, and enable displaced people to return to their communities.” The program has secured $20 million of its $100 million goal.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in TurkeyTurkey has a rich history of being a global leader in humanitarian efforts to reduce poverty. The nation is now one of the World Food Program’s (WFP) largest contributors despite needing aid about ten years ago. 

However, Turkey still has a long way to go to reduce poverty and hunger domestically — malnutrition is prevalent in its rural regions.

The rural poverty rate in Turkey is 35% compared to the urban poverty rate of 22%. The extreme poverty rate in rural households is at the root of growing hunger in Turkey.

Living in poverty impacts food security, secure employment, education and healthcare — all of which are easier to attain in urban regions of Turkey.

The recent influx of Syrian refugees also placed pressure on food security in Turkey. Turkish communities hosting Syrian refugees have expanded by up to 30%, which increased competition for employment and increased rent prices.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) implemented a plan in 2006 that focused on job-creation to bolster economic prosperity and improve living standards in rural areas to address hunger in Turkey.

The IFAD plan aims to increase participation in Turkey’s labor force by supporting small businesses and encouraging self-employment that generates incremental income.

This strategy also works to improve agricultural initiatives in remote areas of Turkey through the spread of farm mechanization and processing plants.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the Ardahan-Kars-Artvin Development Project (AKADP) to further reduce poverty in Turkey.

By working with local farmers from rural, eastern provinces of Turkey, the AKADP would introduce and encourage sustainable agricultural practices to reduce rural poverty and hunger in Turkey.

The AKADP claims to benefit those living in rural Turkey by increasing livestock and crop productivity, improving knowledge of farm management and strengthening both economic and social infrastructure.

Turkey is making remarkable advances toward reducing hunger because of the UNDP and IFAD projects. The WFP recently acknowledged Turkey for reducing its total undernourished population by half.

The IFAD also recognized Turkey as one of the 79 developing countries that achieved their hunger target of reducing malnutrition and the proportion of underweight children under five years old.

The Turkish government and humanitarian organizations have made it a priority to continue to uplift those in rural areas out of poverty. It is possible to reduce hunger in Turkey by investing in rural areas, which will help its inhabitants forge brighter futures.

Mariana Camacho

Photo: Flickr