Top 10 Facts About Hunger in New Zealand
One of the most tragic effects of poverty is large populations of people going hungry. Many poor people cannot afford to feed themselves or their children. While New Zealand might not be on the list of countries in dire need of poverty assistance, families there are suffering. The top 10 facts about hunger in New Zealand highlight this.

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in New Zealand

  1. A study in 2017 discovered that 23 percent of the elderly population in New Zealand were malnourished.  Many elderly citizens find it difficult to access the supermarket and purchase groceries. This leads to the inability to cook meals and they end up being hospitalized due to malnourishment. However, once elderly citizens are moved to hospitalization or residential care, they have better access to food and nourishment.
  2. In 2016, the need for help from the Salvation Army had gone up by 9 percent. The organization handed out over 54,000 emergency parcels to citizens of New Zealand in the span of a year. There were 319 new individuals who required help each week. The head of ministries of the New Zealand sector stated that requests for aid came not only from those who were in extreme poverty but also from those living off minimum wage.
  3. In Auckland City alone, the request for food parcels went up almost 50 percent between the middle of 2015 and the end of 2016. The City Mission, a volunteer-based program in Auckland City, exceeded its budget by $100,000, leaving a huge hole in the city’s budget. According to the City Mission, with rising housing costs, bill costs and changes in other benefits, people were more inclined to cut back on their food spending to cover the price of every bill.
  4. According to The New Zealand Herald, The Red Cross used to have a program that fed children breakfast every day in low-income communities. However, due to lack of support from funders, the program had to end. This created a dramatic rise in hunger among children. In 2011, it was determined that this rise in hunger was due to a 7 percent rise in the cost of food. So, the 2.6 percent rise in income did not help most families
  5. Two programs, Kickstart and KidsCan, replaced the Red Cross breakfast program and went on to feed almost 40,000 children in schools across the country. This number was almost a fifth of the child population in schools which was around 229,400. At the time, there were 20,000 children on a waiting list to join the program since the government did not have enough funding to feed more than 40,000. To fix this, the community members pledged $15 a month to the program.
  6. Another one of the facts about hunger in New Zealand is that growing food on their own is not a simple solution for many who go hungry.  In order to grow a sufficient garden, you need quite a bit of resource. According to the Spinoff, a New Zealand paper, low-income citizens find it difficult to get access to the needed resources. Also, since they have to work hard to earn, they do not have enough time to invest to grow a garden.
  7. Housing in New Zealand is not as permanent as American housing. On average, families move every 15 months. To build a sustainable garden that will provide food for a family, people need to live in the same place for longer than 15 months. Also, growing a few plants in small pots is not enough for a family.
  8. Some claim that one of the reasons for hunger in New Zealand possibly comes from the “media bombardment” of eating healthy or dieting. Cutting back on food and exercising works for people who have plenty of nourishment, but when citizens who are already malnourished see this, it makes them feel as though the small amount of food they can manage is not good enough.
  9. On the other hand, there are reports on how fast food is killing the impoverished population in New Zealand. Fast food is cheap and easy to access but does not provide enough nutrients. It is also creating the opposite problem of hunger: an obesity crisis.  If elementary schools conducted nutritional education programs, it would help battle obesity problems as well as problems of malnourishment.
  10. On a brighter note, The Hunger Project, an NGO based all over the world, has a special division in New Zealand. They are aiming to cut back the hunger significantly by 2030 to meet the poverty reduction goals set by the United Nations. In New Zealand, the organization has been working since 1983. It has helped lead a strike against hunger with various communities across the country.

The crisis is not as bleak as the facts about hunger in New Zealand may make it seem. The government is aware that things need to be changed and that the focus needs to be on children who go hungry. Various bills geared towards government-funded food programs have gone through the system. Also, the Salvation Army and other nonprofit organizations are working together to bring relief. New Zealand, thus, hopes to see a reduction in hunger by 2030.

Miranda Garbaciak
Photo: Flickr

 ShareTheMeal App
This year, The Shorty Awards, an awards program that recognizes the best of social media, expanded their reach to include Shorty Social Good awards. The Shorty Social Good awards honor initiatives, projects or programs designed to combat lack of food or shelter. ShareTheMeal, a smartphone app, was among this year’s winners in the Mobile Campaign, Poverty & Hunger and nonprofit categories. The app shows us how to fight global hunger by reaching donors through smartphones and social media sharing.

Fighting Global Hunger with ShareTheMeal App

According to the Food Aid Foundation, approximately 795 million people around the world don’t have enough food to live a productive lifestyle. Beyond this, lack of proper nutrition is life-threatening for children worldwide.

Malnutrition is responsible for 45 percent of deaths for children under the age of five. Put more simply, around 3.1 million children every year die from poor nutrition. However, it costs as little as $0.50 to feed a child for an entire day. The ShareTheMeal app fights global hunger by focusing on microdonations and empowering users to donate from anywhere using their smartphones.

As an innovative part of the World Food Programme, ShareTheMeal mobilizes users to give through social media. Starting with donations of just $0.50, users can fund a child’s meals for an entire day. When someone donates, The United Nations’ World Food Program, in turn, supplies the meals to hungry children.

The food assistance provided varies according to the situation in the donor’s choice country. While children in more stable countries may receive school meals, children in high-risk situations may receive staple foods, designed to fortify basic nutrition. Donors may also opt to join The Table, a monthly giving club that receives regular updates and focused stories on global hunger.

Managers of the World Food Programme, Sebastian Stricker and Bernhard Kowatsch, developed the app in 2014. Though it began as an independent startup, it quickly earned the backing of the World Food Programme.

The founders wanted to expand the demographic of donors for programs fighting global hunger. They focused on social media and smartphone technology since they saw great potential for growth among millennial donors.

During its first trial run, the app earned nearly $850,000 to fight hunger in Lesotho. This successful trial run lead to a global launch focused on feeding Syrian refugee children in Jordan. With that initiative, ShareTheMeal fed 20,000 refugee children for a year.

Since then, the app has grown tremendously. Now, there are more than 1.1 million users worldwide and the app fights global hunger in various developing countries. According to ShareTheMeal’s data, nearly a third of their users are millennials, so the app has reached its target demographic.

Making Donations Easy and Personal

ShareTheMeal has innovated the World Food Programme’s donations, by making donations easy and personal. Each user can choose where to direct their donation by swiping through pictures of individual children in need of meals. These pictures give the donations a personal character, backed by information about the status of global hunger in that country.

The app also provides a constant tally of the total meals shared so far which allow donors to see the app’s progress. As of now, users have shared over 26 billion meals through the app and the number is constantly growing.

Beyond merely working through smartphones, the ShareTheMeal app fights global hunger via social media. Individuals can mobilize their friends and family through social media platforms, such as Facebook, by creating teams. These teams invite others to donate together and track their progress as a group.

Finally, the app also offers an innovative tool called Camera Giving. This feature capitalizes on food photos shared on Instagram and similar platforms. By taking a photo of their meal and donating through ShareTheMeal, users gain access to a #ShareTheMeal filter which they can use to publicize their food photo as well as their donation to ShareTheMeal on social media. With tags like “this picture fed a hungry child,” ShareTheMeal not only gains publicity through the Camera Giving feature but also it turns the food photo trend into a vehicle for positive change.

Moving Forward: How to Fight Global Hunger with Technology

In today’s technology-driven world, there are 20 times more people with smartphones than children suffering from hunger. Wondering how to fight global hunger with technology? The ShareTheMeal app fights global hunger by connecting lots of people to the problem.

Anyone around the world with a phone, iOS or Android, can download the app in nine different languages with donations payable in 27 different currencies. With the mere tap of a button, users are connected to global hunger from anywhere and at any moment. ShareTheMeal is turning social media into social good.

– Morgan Harden
Photo: Flickr

ArmeniaIn Armenia, hunger has been a problem faced by its citizens since the country gained independence in 1991. However, through steady economic growth and the implementation of strategies from global agencies, the country’s hunger issue has been slowly reducing. Here are the top ten facts about hunger in Armenia:

  1. Hunger is closely related to poverty, as people that live under the poverty line tend to be the most food insecure. As of 2015, six percent of the Armenian population was undernourished. Hunger in Armenia tends to rise and fall as a result of the country’s economic stability. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, food insecurity in the country has almost doubled, as an estimated 16 percent of families were classified as food insecure in 2015.
  2. Armenia is a low to middle income, landlocked country that relies on imports for most food. Because of this, the country and its citizens are reliant on other countries for stability. When surrounding countries are in financial downturn, it takes a negative effect on Armenians as well. The country has had slow economic development since 1991 when borders with neighboring countries Turkey and Azerbaijan were established post-Armenian independence. Due in large to its slow economic growth, 29.4 percent of Armenians lived in poverty as of 2016.

  3. In Armenia, the effect of hunger is visible in two main ways: stunted growth and being overweight. Approximately 9 percent of Armenian children under five have had their growth stunted while 14 percent were overweight as of 2015. To some, it may be surprising that people can be overweight while still food insecure, but it is more common than one might think. Because many people who are food insecure are also impoverished, they tend to purchase food based on quantity over quality. This results in the intake of less-nutritious foods in low-income areas. In countries like Armenia, it has resulted in many of its poorer citizens becoming overweight.

  4. Armenia has reduced the country’s poverty rate from 54 percent in 1998 to 28 percent in 2008. After a brief rise and stagnation in the poverty rate, at approximately 32 percent after the global economic crises, the country’s poverty rate has again begun to fall.

  5. Organizations like the World Economic Forum and the World Bank are considering ways to reanalyze the causes behind Armenia’s hunger problems. More reasons for hunger, like education, health and labor, are being examined in addition to poverty.

  6. As Armenia’s hunger problem is examined from various perspectives, new solutions are being presented to combat the country’s food insecurity.

  7. One solution from the National Strategic Review of Food Safety and Nutrition is to apply healthcare, social protections and regional policies in order to reduce the disparities in hunger and malnutrition throughout Armenia. These policies will target hunger and food insecurity with strategies not traditionally used in the country.

  8. An additional solution is to raise public awareness about healthy nutrition and how to make better decisions about food choices. These public awareness and education campaigns would take place in remote communities where food education is not prevalent, giving way to unhealthy choices. The education campaign will also serve as a preventative measure against malnutrition and undernourishment by focusing on sustainable food choices.

  9. The solution to hunger and food insecurity in Armenia may be in the revision of policy that would protect the most underserved people. Part of this solution will include commencing vouchers to the unemployed, social assistance programs to children 3-5 years of age, as well as monetary and non-monetary plans to ensure nutritious food intake to beneficiary families of assistance programs.

  10. Armenia is a country still growing and recovering from many outside factors that have hindered the young country’s development. However, with newly proposed sustainable solutions and the promise of continued economic security, the country is beginning to address its hunger and food insecurity problem.

Armenia’s hunger problem is a complex and multi-causal issue. However, through steady advancement and changes to its economy and food programs, solutions are possible. These strategies are only a few of many to relieve hunger in the country. These top ten facts about hunger in Armenia are a brief way to understand a longstanding problem.

– Savannah Hawley

Photo: Flickr

Biggest World Issues
World issues range from a variety of different factors; it could be anything from an environmental problem to a global health risk or an international conflict.

10 Biggest World Issues

  1. Malnutrition and Hunger: Malnutrition and hunger continue to be issues in developing countries, such as the Central African Republic, Chad and Yemen. According to the Food Aid Foundation, 795 million people in the world are not receiving the proper amount of nutrients. Additionally, hunger is the leading health problem among children and adults, causing approximately 45 percent of children’s deaths.
  2. AIDS: HIV/AIDS is an epidemic, in which more than 36.7 million people are living with the disease. About 2.1 million children currently have the disease, and in 2016 alone, one million people have died. The prevalence of AIDS is still alive; however, many international organizations have contributed to its decrease in recent years.
  3. Malaria: Malaria is a major health risk in tropical, developing countries, such as Kenya and the Congo. Approximately 3.2 billion individuals are vulnerable to Malaria — this is half of the world’s population. Young children are the most susceptible, and about 445,000 people died from Malaria in 2016.
  4. Air Pollution: Air Pollution is a global environmental problem that causes health issues and food shortages. Pollutants harm food supplies and crops, which further create problems for malnutrition and hunger. Pollutants also directly harm human life. According to Conserve Energy Future, 65 percent of deaths in Asia and 25 percent of deaths in India are due to air pollution.
  5. Lack of Human Rights: Political systems hinder human rights and liberties that are inherent to every individual regardless of his or her demographic, religion, culture, gender, race, etc. In 2014, Amnesty International recorded that more than a third of governments imprisoned its citizens who were exercising their rights. Abuse and conflict occur on every continent — from state-sponsored killings in Syria to repression of speech in Russia.
  6. Lack of Education: The right to education is not guaranteed within developing countries because of issues such as inequality among different ethnicities or classes, interstate or intrastate conflict, and poverty. 72 million children are unschooled, and about 759 million adults are illiterate. Additionally, girls are the least likely to receive an education.
  7. Gender Inequality:  Due to gender inequality, education and economic opportunity are inaccessible to many women of all backgrounds. About 150 countries have laws that discriminate against women’s rights. Underrepresented in governmental bodies, women only hold an average of 23 percent in parliamentary seats.
  8. Conflict and War: There are still many active conflicts in today’s world that have devastating effects for citizens living within war-stricken areas. The total number of casualties from the Syrian Civil War is about 465,000 individuals, and one in four children are the victims of war. In addition, international tension with North Korea has become the leading determinant of the United States’ international agenda and foreign policy. There is a multitude of other conflicts that have detrimental effects on civilian livelihoods and international peace/security.
  9. Displacement: The number of individuals who were forced to flee their homes has skyrocketed drastically in recent years. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (iDMC) reported that 31.1 million individuals were displaced in 2016. Displacement could occur after natural disasters or throughout war. Unfortunately displaced individuals have increased to approximately 59.5 million due to continuing conflict in the Middle East. In Syria alone, there are about 11 million refugees, which include young children.
  10. Global Poverty: Poverty is an overarching world issue that affects infrastructure, health, education, human rights, etc. Roughly one billion children live in poverty, and 80 percent of people live on less than $10 a day. Additionally, every 10 seconds, citizens across the globe die due to poverty-related issues. Dismally, the gap between economic and income disparity among countries is widening.

Fortunately, world issues have solutions, and a multitude of organizations are fighting to alleviate pain that has been afflicted by these problems. The International Affairs Budget is one of many solutions that funds development and helps fight diseases, prevent hunger, and create new jobs, while solving many other issues around the world.

If you would like to get involved in helping prevent these world issues, join The Borgen Project in supporting the protection of The International Affairs Budget from proposed budget cuts by sending a letter of support.

– Diana Hallisey

Photo: Flickr


Hunger in East TimorThe situation in Timor Leste (East Timor) has been characterized by war and oppression for decades. In 1975, after Portuguese colonialism finally abdicated control of the region, there began a brutal war between the people of Timor Leste and neighboring Indonesia.

The war resulted in a 24-year Indonesian occupation of Timor Leste, and a cumulative death toll of 200,000 people – nearly one-quarter of the current population. Throughout the country’s occupation, there were guerilla movements working to remove Indonesia from power. However, the final decision to leave Timor Leste to its own devices came after a change of leadership occurred in Indonesia and U.N. intervention.

The Timorese voted for independence in 1999 – the result was a 78 percent majority. Unfortunately, the vote was far from respected. Those who did not wish to be independent of Indonesia instigated yet another insurgency against the majority of Timorese, necessitating more direct United Nations involvement. Finally, in 2002, after two years of U.N. Peacekeeping presence, full independence was attained.

However sweet this victory may have been, it did little to alleviate the problems of poverty, malnutrition and hunger in East Timor. Hunger is arguably the country’s most urgent problem. It affects nearly 100 percent of the population.

In 2010, 57.7 percent of children under the age five were classified as stunting, a term used to describe the condition of weighing too little for your height. Other indicators of malnutrition, such as wasting and generally being underweight, are prevalent, indicating that the situation is dire.

One of the many organizations working to mitigate the effects of hunger in East Timor is Oxfam Australia. The work they do is primarily aimed at educating the public, generally women and children, about the effects of malnutrition and specific ways to increase their family’s consumption of important nutrients.

In classes which they term “supplementary feeding courses,” they demonstrate how to cook nutritious meals, process fresh food so it lasts longer and which ingredients have the highest protein content.

This program, coupled with the organization’s efforts to work with local farmers on improving agricultural yields for their farming cooperatives, has been a formidable attempt to arm Timorese communities with life-saving nutritional and agricultural knowledge.

-Katarina Schrag

Photo: Flickr


malnutrition in venezuelaA humanitarian hunger crisis has struck the country of Venezuela. The economy has hit rock bottom and moderate to severe child malnutrition in Venezuela has reached 11.4 percent for children under the age of five. The World Health Organization states that a threshold of 10 percent must be surpassed in order to declare a crisis, and Venezuela has well exceeded that threshold. Venezuela’s continuously unstable economy is to blame for the decrease in food and the increase in hunger.

When Venezuela struck massive amounts of oil during World War I, its economy skyrocketed. Its success with oil reserves led to a blossoming economy that assisted in providing its people with what they needed to thrive. However, Venezuela had only relied on the income from the oil industry to fuel its economy. With no economic backup plan, Venezuela was heading down a path of economic destruction.

Venezuela’s economy began its dramatic decline in the 1980s. After the oil price collapse and the accumulation of internal and external government debts, it became apparent that the country had a major financial burden to address. Economic policies to solve this issue were failing and the government was falling deeper into corruption, causing more economic instability.

The coming years would not be any brighter for Venezuela. Ongoing economic mismanagement led to increasing poverty levels. Venezuela went into a recession in 2014, invoking more worry for the country and putting more pressure on the government to make the right economic decisions. The government’s dysfunctional way of solving the country’s money problems eventually led to the worst economic decision to date.

Venezuela’s inflation levels became one of the highest in the world, reaching a record high of 800 percent in December 2016. This hyperinflation came after the Venezuelan government’s decision to enact an internal embargo on food imports, completely cutting off outside sources of food and causing massive food shortages. These food shortages caused an increase in food prices to an unattainable amount. People could not buy food anymore, as a basic food basket could cost up to 16 times the amount of minimum wage.

A popular food item bought in Venezuela is cornmeal. Used to make an arepa, the previous cost of a two-pound bag of cornmeal was 190 bolivars. Now, the cost is 975 bolivars per two-pound bag. This astronomical increase in price hinders the ability to purchase the essential ingredient to make a wholesome meal.

Food shortages directly affect child malnutrition in Venezuela. In just four short years, child malnutrition has gone from three percent to as high as 13 percent in some parts of Venezuela. Families are scavenging the streets to find any morsel of something edible, or standing in line all day only to receive two to three morsels of food to feed their entire family. Today, eight in 10 families eat less than before, and six in 10 families go without food on a regular basis.

Business Insider conducted an interview with Venezuelan resident Lilian Tovar. She weighed in on her personal experience with hunger, stating “If we eat breakfast, we don’t eat lunch, if we eat lunch, we don’t eat dinner, and if we eat dinner, we don’t eat breakfast.” Compromise has become a mindset of the Venezuelan people, deeply affecting both themselves and their children.

Malnutrition can have a lasting effect on a child’s life. When there is limited access to food, children can become deficient in nutrients needed for proper body development. Some of the 20 essential nutrients needed for a healthy body include calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin K, boron and manganese. These nutrients are found in many plant-based foods and grains. Unfortunately, these products are not easily found, and if found they are at a price that no family can afford. Therefore, a child who is lacking these essential nutrients has a higher risk of bone growth problems and will likely never reach their full growth potential. Inadequate nutrition can also lead to a weak immune system, allowing the body to become more susceptible to diseases and infections later in life. In the worst cases of child malnutrition, normally involving gastrointestinal infection, death is imminent.

Caritas, a crisis-centered organization whose work is now heavily dedicated to Venezuela’s malnutrition crisis, states that “The response to the food crisis must be a social and economic priority, taking the politics out of protecting the most vulnerable people and facilitating the relief work of all those who, officially or unofficially, have direct contact with those most in need throughout the country.” Caritas’ thorough research studies across the four Venezuelan states of Distrito Capital, Vargas, Miranda and Zuliahave have led to their decision to put their full foot forward in rehabilitating the country.

Caritas’ main priority is children under five. They supply malnourished children with food supplements that include protein and iron. Children are brought into Caritas’ makeshift facilities for regular nutrition check-ups in order to provide them with nutritional and medical attention.

Caritas is sending out a desperate plea for the sake of child malnutrition in Venezuela. Their efforts cannot be accomplished alone. Families are suffering and every day more children are being diagnosed with malnutrition. This is now a worldwide cry for help, a call to action and a need for involvement. To eradicate child malnutrition in Venezuela, this call must be answered. Children are the future and with the help of the people, the future is what these children will see.

– Brianna Summ

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in UzbekistanHunger in Uzbekistan remains a serious issue, yet it is not recognized as a national one.

Close to 75 percent of the working-class population in Uzbekistan live in rural areas, and thus the income of this stratum of the population typically remains low, which exacerbates the lack of food security. This level of poverty has its roots in Uzbekistan’s independence.

Both the domestic and foreign policy of Uzbekistan are inimical to any significant changes that would address the hunger that plagues the country. Since the main priority of such policies is to keep the ruling regime in power, securing food and combating hunger is simply not a huge priority.

Another cause of the lack of food security is the slow growth of the gross domestic product (GDP), which in recent years was as low as seven percent, which is not sufficient for the steadily increasing population.

Furthermore, the economy of Uzbekistan, in regards to agriculture, is largely confined to producing cotton. This lack of diversification exposes Uzbekistan to increased economic risk. This problem is exacerbated by rising food prices as well.

Despite all of these indicators painting a bleak picture of Uzbekistan in the long run, recent reports have shown a decrease in hunger. From 2000 to 2014 the number of undernourished Uzbeks were reduced to less than half of what they previously were. Currently, this number is at around 1.7 million. While much work has to be done, this is a great improvement.

Additionally, unlike the GDP, the rate of agricultural production increased gradually at about 6 percent every year from 2000 to 2007. Furthermore, the wheat production grew nine-fold from 1991 to 2006. These stark improvements are largely a result of the isolationist approach Uzbekistan has adopted in terms of its foreign policy, which has both its pros and cons.

One of downsides that the Uzbeks have experienced as a result of this foreign policy has already been mentioned: the aversion of the rigid regime to take chances that may benefit its population but would otherwise risk its own stability, such as lifting restrictions on trade. The pros of this are increased self-sufficiency that has spurred the growth in certain aspects of the agricultural sector.

There is much work that needs to be done in order to reduce hunger in Uzbekistan. The country has improved in some ways but further work is needed in order to develop a sustainable model that adequately addresses the needs of the citizenry.

– Mohammad Hasan Javed

Photo: Flickr


VALID Nutrition Fights Malnutrition in Africa
Global malnutrition rates “remain alarming” in 2017, according to research done by UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the World Bank. Fourteen million children in Africa are too thin for their height, and 4.1 million of these children are said to be in critical condition. Fifty-nine million are “stunted” or failing to grow both physically and cognitively due to acute malnutrition. In 2016, one-third of the world’s stunted children under the age of five lived in Africa.

Progress is being made to find innovative and cost-effective ways to get starving and stunted children the nutrition they need. Ready-to-use therapeutic foods such as pastes and pills providing protein, vitamins, minerals and fat are given to individuals suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The nonprofit VALID Nutrition fights malnutrition in Africa as the first organization to develop, manufacture and distribute such foods exclusively on the continent.

Funded by the Global Innovation Fund, VALID Nutrition received a grant of over $155,000 to test a new supplement in Malawi. The new high-nutritional food is made of local ingredients to reduce the cost of manufacturing.

According to VALID Nutrition, the nonprofit “sources ingredients for its products from indigenous smallholder farmers and local suppliers. This brings major advantages in terms of food security for farmers and, critically, a developmental multiplier effect to local economies— a sustainable approach in the broadest sense.”

Currently, two-thirds of all ingredients for ready-to-use therapeutic foods are sourced from developed countries, whereas only one-third is sourced from crops in developing countries, according to VALID Nutrition.

In Malawi, the nonprofit built a factory in the capital city of Kanengo, which in 2016 produced 8.5 million units of ready-to-use therapeutic foods. This food then treated 80,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. VALID Nutrition fights malnutrition in Africa on a large scale, which continues spread to other countries.

In 2016, VALID Nutrition launched a new ready-to-use therapeutic food supplement in Malawi with the aid of Dr. Peter Kumpalume, MP and Minister for Health, Malawi.

“VALID Nutrition’s Social Enterprise model, whereby they source and manufacture locally, is one we very much admire,” stated Kumpalume in a press release. “Not only does it contribute to economic development and avoid the need to import, but thanks to the innovative approach, the company has also got the potential for export.”

VALID Nutrition’s business model pushes for further engagement in the private sector, engaging other non-governmental organizations. Since established, the VALID Nutrition factory in Malawi has produced 40 million units of ready-to-use therapeutic foods which treated 400,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition. VALID Nutrition fights malnutrition in Africa by utilizing local resources that go directly to those in need.

Riley Bunch

Photo: Google

Hunger continues to be the world’s biggest health problem. Hunger is one of the most emblematic images of poverty: the picture of stunted, malnourished children tends to resonate empathetical feelings in almost anyone. Just thinking of an image like this shows how, in one way or another, society knows how much suffering world hunger causes. With this information, the real question is how many people die from hunger each year.

This year, 36 million people will die from starvation. Essentially, that equates to a person dying of hunger every second of the year. Of these 36 million inhabitants, children are especially vulnerable. Every minute, 12 children under the age of five will die of hunger.  This fact represents a death every five seconds.

The question itself of hunger, not just hunger-related deaths, is just as equally an important issue. The Oxford English Dictionary defines hunger as the want or scarcity of food in a country. The current world population is more than seven billion, and 795 million people, or one in every nine people, suffer from hunger. Almost all of these people are living in developing countries. Countries in Asia suffer from this problem more than any other region, with 525 million people suffering. Sub-Saharan African countries follow with a combined 214 million.

These regions are the most susceptible to conflict and drought, and usually, these tragedies end in famine.  All of these factors are a direct relation to hunger. Consequently, 50 percent of all hungry people are families that depend on agriculture.

While there may have been an extreme spike in cases of hunger from 1995 to 2009 (an increase from sub-800 million hungry citizens to more than one billion in 2009), there has been a stark and continual decrease from 2009 to 2017. Currently, the world is seeing the lowest number of hungry people since 1995. There are 200 million fewer people suffering from hunger than there were 25 years ago.

With the understanding of how many people die from hunger each year and how many people still suffer from it, the question is how can this issue be addressed? One method to fight against global hunger is by supporting The Borgen Project. The Borgen Project places its focus on alleviating global poverty.  By ridding the world of poverty, there will directly influence those who are also suffering from hunger.

James Hardison

Photo: Flickr

Namibia is an upper-middle income country that has sustained positive growth between 2000 and 2015. Plagued by HIV, tuberculosis and malnutrition, lower-income earners experience conditions of poverty. Recurrent natural disasters along with drought keep food production inconsistent.

For that reason, there is a heavy reliance on imports. This makes Namibia very susceptible to increases in food prices and is a key reason that 42.3 percent of the population is undernourished.

Low-income earners are susceptible to these changes and the prevalence of food insecurity continues. As a result, malnutrition has become a hindrance to sustainable growth. Hunger in Namibia is so serious that it is rated among four other African countries as one of the highest when it comes to the amount of population that’s undernourished. Income-disparity levels play a large part in why that statistic is true, as the country is also ranked among the top in that category.

The unemployment rate is also high at 29.9 percent leaving many without a sustainable source of funds. This contributes to the hunger in Namibia.

The heavy prevalence of HIV/AIDS is an additional factor contributing to food insecurity. With a rate of 13.5 percent, Namibia ranks as the sixth-most affected country by the disease. Those infected have a hard time working and providing support for their families.

Recently hit by the biggest drought in 35 years, Namibia declared a state of emergency. An already arid environment became much worse and, coupled with existing conditions of poverty, the situation prompted a response. The government has taken initiative in trying to recover damages from recurrent droughts. From April 2015 to March 2016, $916 million has been spent on a drought relief program. This is a serious problem in the country.

With food production continuously dropping, prices on food imports will continue to plague the population. The government has taken positive steps with regards to agriculture, but more is needed to combat hunger effectively.

Nick Katsos

Photo: Flickr