Hunger in Costa Rica
While Costa Rica is doing fairly well as an upper-class nation, there is still a portion of the country suffering from hunger. However, many organizations are able to do a number of things to reduce hunger in Costa Rica.

A group of students from the University of Costa Rica. In 2016, as part of the International Union of Food Science and Technology competition, 11 Costa Rican Food Science majors from the University of Costa Rica developed a nutritional grain called naji which can be used to make tortillas, empanadas, high-protein smoothies and cereal. The grain can help combat malnutrition in high poverty areas and can especially help improve the health of pregnant women in the Chorotega tribe in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region.

Nadie con Hambre (No One Should Be Hungry). Nadie con Hambre is a string of non-profit Christian organizations. Their main tasks are to collect money and distribute food to low-income families in Costa Rica. One of their biggest food donations is rice; they have previously donated up to six tons of rice. Nadie con Hambre also benefits Fundacion Piedad (Mercy Foundation) which hosts six soup kitchens in low-income neighborhoods.

Costa Rica’s School Child and Adolescent Food and Nutrition Programme (PANEA).  This program is funded by Costa Rica’s central government and the Education board of each school in the country. This program is in charge of distributing healthy foods and promoting healthy eating among the students. PANEA also provides training for agricultural projects for schools to build gardens to grow their own food.

Scaling Up Nutrition. This organization promotes healthy living and nutrition in many countries, but it started operating in Costa Rica in 2014. Its main goal is to increase financial and human resources to work on malnutrition. Once Costa Rica became the fiftieth country to commit to Scaling Up Nutrition, chronic undernutrition in the country decreased.

Food for the Hungry. This federal organization fights world hunger in the name of Christian values and started its branch with Costa Rica in 2003.

ECLA World Hunger. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America helps more than 60 countries. One notable project with Costa Rica was to teach the people in El Jardin, who were working in harsh conditions and getting paid poorly, how to grow other crops and use agriculture efficiently.

There have been organizations fighting hunger in Costa Rica both internationally and regionally. Even though poverty has increased and decreased throughout the years in Costa Rica, people are still struggling, and it is important to continue to combat hunger in Costa Rica.

Emma Majewski

Photo: Flickr