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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

Malnutrition in India
India is one of the fastest growing economies in 2017, yet it has the highest number of children suffering from malnutrition, according to World Bank data. Forty-four percent of the children below the age of five are underweight, 72 percent of the infants have anemia and 194.6 million people are undernourished.

A quarter of undernourished people in the world live in India. India’s dependence on carbohydrates with low protein in their diet is the main cause of malnutrition, according to Nobel Prize winner for economics Angus Deaton. Poor sanitation has triggered infection-borne deficiencies in nutrients.

According to United Nation estimates, 2.1 million children die in India every year before reaching the age of five and four die every minute. One thousand children die every day because of diarrhea. Forty-eight million children under the age of five are stunted. According to a study, malnutrition in India could cost the economy $46 billion by 2030. Five states and 50 percent of the villages account for 80 percent of the malnutrition.

Reasons for this challenge stem from a lack of an institutional framework to address malnutrition, a lack of monitoring and accountability in publicly funded nutrition programs and a lack of convergence among multiple governments on an approach to address this issue.

Overcoming malnutrition in India would require a multifaceted approach including education for girls, availability of safe drinking water and vaccinations and public interventions focusing on socioeconomic development. More research is required in this area to tackle this challenge.

Political commitment is essential for a well-planned and long-term project that can enhance development. Nutritional planning focused on improving production and distribution of food is needed to reach the grassroots of the society. Making food available through public distribution systems and increasing the purchasing power of people in low-income countries is crucial. Nutrition education and early detection of malnutrition are factors which can empower society against this challenge.

Although India has taken many programs including improving salt iodization, improving breastfeeding and improving large-scale food fortification, the country needs to make fighting malnutrition a national priority to overcome this tremendous challenge.

Aishwarya Bansal

Photo: Flickr

20 facts about hunger
Hunger is an issue affecting all nations. Nearly 43 million Americans faced food insecurity in 2015, and feeding the American homeless, poverty-plagued families and undernourished children are matters the U.S. government takes seriously. The following 20 facts about hunger shine a specific light on the plight of the most malnourished nations. From these 20 facts about hunger, it is clear that people all over the world are afflicted by the issue of hunger.

  1. Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. In 2012, the World Bank estimated that there were 896 million people in developing countries living at or below $1.90 a day.
  2. The world produces enough food to feed everyone. The world produced 2,790 kilocalories per person per day between 2006 and 2008.
  3. Malnutrition can lead to growth failure. Principal types of growth failure are ‘stunting’ and ‘wasting.’ Stunting is a slow process caused by a lack of nutrients and wasting is caused by insufficient protein.
  4. Around 794 million people were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 — 10.9 percent of the global population.
  5. In Angola, an African country with the highest under-five mortality rate in the world, more than 15 percent of the population is underweight and nearly 30 percent suffer from stunting.
  6. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 161 million children worldwide are affected by stunting. Suffering from nutrient-poor diets or ongoing infections, stunted children may have normal body proportions but look younger than they actually are.
  7. Iodine deficiencies during pregnancy can lead to severe mental retardation or stillbirth. Though iodized salt is common in the developed world, more than 50 countries report a serious iodine deficiency problem.
  8. With more than 30 percent of people underweight, Pakistan ranked last on the 2012 Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index for its public spending on agriculture as a share of total public spending.
  9. More than 232 million people living in Africa were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 — 20 percent of the African population.
  10. In 2013, Myanmar ranked last on the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index for access to agricultural research and extension services.
  11. Undernourished children are more likely to underperform in school and on tests of intelligence and reading.
  12. Malnutrition during pregnancy increases the risk of mental illness. Studies investigating famines reported increases in the rate of schizophrenia during periods of prolonged prenatal exposure to hunger, or “nutritional inadequacy.”
  13. The World Food Programme calculated that it would cost $3.2 billion annually to feed the 66 million hungry school-age kids around the world.
  14. There are many scientific theories of why humans get hungry. Some of them are the stomach contraction theory, the glucose theory, the insulin theory, the fatty acid theory, and the heat-production theory.
  15. Almost 780 million people living in developing regions were undernourished between 2014 and 2016 –12.9 percent of the developing nations population.
  16. Over the course of two decades, the amount of undernourished Latin Americans has shrunk by more than 30 million.
  17. The availability of water is crucial to farming and food production. Climate change may affect crops and hundreds of millions of “water-stressed” people in the coming decade.
  18. The World Food Programme calculated that it costs $0.25 daily to give a child the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy growth.
  19. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries defines hunger as “the state of not having enough food to eat, especially when this causes illness or death.”
  20. In 2011, undernutrition was estimated to be the cause of more than three million child deaths — 45 percent of all child deaths.

These 20 facts about hunger only highlight the issue on a universal level, but they can act as a guide unveiling the true lives of those who live in poverty stricken conditions on a daily basis. Knowledge can prevent many in the position to help alleviate the problem to act. With combined knowledge and aid, terminating world hunger remains hopeful.

Shaun Savarese

Photo: Flickr


The Republic of Cameroon, located in Central Africa, is one of the youngest and hungriest countries in the world. At just over 50 years old, Cameroon ranked 153 out of 188 on the 2015 Human Development Index and 68 out of 104 on the 2015 Global Hunger Index. Forty percent of the country’s nearly 24 million people live below the poverty line and 2.6 million are food insecure.

Over the past decade, more and more organizations have worked to reduce hunger in Cameroon. The Agricultural Competitiveness Project, launched in 2010, is one of these assistance programs. The organization’s goal is to boost Cameroon’s agriculture production by developing rural infrastructure facilities and investing in value chains for maize, rice and meat.

By June 2016, the Agricultural Competitiveness Project had raised rice crop yields by 16 percent, maize yields by 98 percent and plantain yields by 220 percent, in targeted areas. The production of meat for consumption had significant increases as well – annual pig live weight had a 122 percent increase, poultry live weight increased by 257 percent and average annual egg production showed a 141 percent increase.

Since 1974, Heifer International has also been working in Cameroon along with the Ministry of Livestock and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to help as much of the poor population as possible. Heifer has primarily focused on job creation in the dairy industry but has recently expanded to include other livestock species in its projects (which are located in six of Cameroon’s 10 regions).

Despite the influx of foreign aid and a public investment program by the government of Cameroon, financial stability is in question due to growing debt and low levels of private sector lead growth. The country has not seen the levels of progression that are necessary to sustain its people. From 2001 to 2014, poverty levels fell from 40.2 to 37.5 percent. Cameroon has been able to meet only one of the Millennium Development Goals, which was focused on primary school enrollment. Despite reduction efforts, hunger in Cameroon is still an issue that warrants direct attention. The programs set forth have shown obvious positive results in most cases, but progress in Cameroon should continue to grow with additional future endeavors.

Dustin Jayroe

Photo: Flickr


Recent growth and investment in agriculture in Eastern Asia and Latin America have put the regions on the path toward eliminating hunger. On the other hand, climate change, conflict and poverty have prevented more than 50 countries from reaching international food availability goals. This list of the top 10 hunger stats references in-depth studies and highlights global trends. Additionally, the list offers perspective into the effects of hunger on impoverished communities. Ahead are the top 10 hunger stats.

  1. Between 2014 and 2016, 794.6 million people faced undernourishment around the globe. This is equivalent to 10.9 percent of the global population.
  2. Of those undernourished between 2014 and 2016, 779.9 million lived in developing regions. This number is equivalent to 12.9 percent of the population of developing areas.
  3. In Africa alone, 232.5 million people were undernourished between 2014 and 2016. This represents 20 percent of the African population.
  4. Undernourishment in Eastern Asia has fallen by nearly 50 percent in the last two decades, from 295 million undernourished between 1990-1992 to 145 million undernourished between 2014-16.
  5. In 2011, undernutrition was estimated to be the cause of 3.1 million child deaths — 45 percent of all child deaths.
  6. In 2013, 51 million children under the age of five suffered from wasting, or a decrease in fat and muscle tissue, with 17 million of those affected severely. Two-thirds of those children lived in Asia and almost one-third lived in Africa.
  7. In developing countries, close to 40 percent of preschool children are estimated to be anemic, or iron-deficient.
  8. An estimated 250 million preschool children across the globe do not have adequate levels of Vitamin A. Of those 250 million children, between 250,000 and 500,000 go blind each year. Additionally, half of that number die within 12 months of onset.
  9. Conflict increases hunger. In 2012, the estimated number of conflict-affected residents represented 21 percent of the estimated 805 million undernourished people in that year.
  10. In 2013, there were a dozen countries with a rate of under-five mortality at 10 percent or higher. They are all on the continent of Africa.  The country of Angola is the only country in the world with an under-five mortality rate greater than 15 percent.

Hunger begets hunger. Many times malnutrition and undernourishment leads to low weight and poor human growth and development. These symptoms cause future health and financial problems. These top 10 hunger stats represent that while the numbers of hunger are improving, past deficiencies have stunted growth for many nations.

Shaun Savarese

Photo: Flickr

world hunger facts
While progress has been made in the effort to end world hunger, one in nine people around the world still go to bed hungry. Here are 20 world hunger facts:

Top World Hunger Facts

  1. Roughly 795 million people, or one in nine, of the 7.3 billion people in the world are suffering from chronic undernourishment.
  2. Of the 795 million suffering from hunger, 780 million live in developing countries. That is 12.9 percent of developing countries’ population.
  3. World hunger is dropping. The number of undernourished people in developing countries was reduced by 42 percent between 1990 and 2014.
  4. Hunger is most prevalent in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Two out of three of the world’s undernourished people live in Asia. In addition, one in four people in sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished.
  5. There are two types of malnutrition. The first is protein-energy malnutrition, which is a lack of calories and protein. The second is micronutrient deficiency, which is a shortage of vitamins and minerals. While both are important, protein-energy malnutrition is the focus of world hunger discussions.
  6. Every year, hunger kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
  7. Sixty percent of the world’s hungry people are women.
  8. Hunger affects women’s pregnancies. Each year, around 17 million children are born undernourished because their mother was undernourished while pregnant.
  9. Every 10 seconds a child dies due to a hunger-related disease.
  10. World hunger is caused by inequality and poverty, not a shortage of food. The world already produces enough food to feed roughly 10 billion people.
  11. Food waste contributes to global hunger. One-third of the food produced each year is wasted, which costs the global economy close to $750 billion annually.
  12. In developing countries, approximately 896 million people live on $1.90 a day or less.
  13. Food aid, not including emergency relief, is often more damaging in the end. This is because free or subsidized food shipped from the U.S. and Europe and sold below market prices hurt local farmers who cannot compete.
  14. Approximately 66 million primary school-age children in the developing world attend classes hungry. This has a negative impact on their futures, as hungry children spend fewer years in school and cannot concentrate.
  15. The U.N.’s World Food Programme works to end world hunger by providing free meals and snacks in schools around the world. In 2015, the program provided 17.4 million children with meals or snacks. This not only helps to feed children around the world but is also an incentive for parents to send them to school.
  16. People involved in agriculture are especially susceptible to hunger. Fifty percent of hungry people in the world are farming families.
  17. Gender equality is a vital part of efforts to end world hunger. Around half of the world’s farmers are women, but they do not have access to the same tools, such as training and land rights, as men. If men and women had the same resources, female farmers could increase their productivity to help reduce world hunger for approximately 1.5 million people.
  18. One possibility for reducing world hunger is sustainable agriculture, which aims to preserve the Earth’s natural resources, through things like crop waste recycling and more precise fertilizer use.
  19. Microfinance also has the potential to end world hunger. These programs help to reduce poverty and improve gender equality through providing poor people, particularly women, with credit to develop small businesses.
  20. The U.N. estimated that it would take roughly $30 billion a year to end world hunger.

Undernourishment remains a pressing issue in both developing and developed countries; however, new research and technology reveal promising solutions to help end world hunger.

Alexi Worley

Photo: Flickr


Southern Africa is currently undergoing a severe drought, induced by a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean commonly referred to as El Nino. In addition to Southern Africa, several other countries in the region are also experiencing increased food insecurity. In mid-2016, the World Food Programme (WFP) categorized the Southern Africa region as a Level Three Corporate Response – the highest level of emergency. Currently, about 16 million people in the region need emergency humanitarian assistance. Swaziland is one of the countries of concern in the region, especially since it already faces numerous challenges including poverty, chronic food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and an erratic climate.

Poverty and Hunger in Swaziland

Swaziland is a small landlocked nation, bordered by South Africa and Mozambique, and has a population of 1.2 million. It is a predominantly rural society, with most of the population dependent on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. Maize is the main crop, grown by over 80 percent of farming households.

Poverty is prevalent in Swaziland, with 42 percent of the population living below the income poverty line of $1.90 a day. This is an especially troubling figure in times of food shortages because the poor cannot afford to buy food. Swaziland is a net importer of food and is vulnerable to food price increases in the rest of the region.

As a result, the poor have had to adopt coping strategies like limiting portions, reducing meals, borrowing food and limiting the types of food they eat. Chronic malnutrition is one of the greatest nutritional concerns and presents a major developmental challenge in Swaziland. One in every four children in Swaziland suffers from stunted growth as a result of malnutrition.

HIV/AIDS

Swaziland has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, with 26 percent of adults infected. The health of people living with HIV is particularly concerning. The disease disproportionately affects main income earners and caregivers. These households are more vulnerable to drops in food production or rising food prices because their income and productivity levels are already lower due to HIV.

Erratic Climate

Swaziland regularly experiences erratic rainfall, recurrent droughts and soil degradation, all of which adversely impact food security. Since 2014, the cropping seasons in Swaziland have been characterized by prolonged dry spells that result in widespread crop losses and reduced yields. The last few years have seen some of the worst maize production on record. The WFP estimates that nearly half the population will face some food insecurity in 2017, while 350,000 people will need urgent food assistance.

These interrelated challenges all contribute to high levels of hunger in Swaziland.

Helena Kamper

Photo: Flickr


Rwanda is one of the smallest countries on the African continent. The country is known for many achievements such as being one of the only nations to have a majority of females in the national parliament and making solid progress in reducing political corruption. Despite these milestones, the country also faces rampant hunger. Most of the population of Rwanda lives in rural areas and depends on agriculture for food. Here are five facts about hunger in Rwanda:

Top Facts about Poverty in Rwanda

  1. Low crop yield is not the only factor contributing to hunger in Rwanda. Lack of access to safe drinking water also leads to malnutrition. To help remedy this problem, the Japanese government donated more than $147,000 to two Rwandan anti-hunger organizations to be used to improve water sources in Rwanda.
  2. Rwanda, along with countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar, has made the most progress in alleviating hunger between the years 2000 and 2016. The Global Hunger Index estimates that hunger in Rwanda dropped from 58 percent to 27 percent during those years.
  3. Although hunger in Rwanda has been steadily decreasing, there is still plenty of work to be done. In 2015, the World Food Programme estimated that up to 40 percent of Rwandan children still do not receive the proper nutritional care they need to become successful later in life.
  4. Violent political conflicts in eastern Congo drive many Congolese people to take refuge within the borders of Rwanda, but often these refugees also face hunger in their new homes. In 2016, Congolese refugees in Rwanda complained that U.N. rations made them sick and many starved with few other choices in terms of food.
  5. Another factor that contributed to the presence of hunger in Rwanda was the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The violent conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi people of Rwanda interrupted many farmers’ planting and harvesting routines, causing thousands of people to go hungry.

Mary Grace Costa

Photo: Flickr