Though there are many causes of death in regions of poverty within developing countries such as AIDS, cancer, unclean water or other diseases — the number one cause of death continues to be hunger.

To understand hunger, however, one needs to first understand the definition of hunger. According to the Oxford dictionary, hunger is a feeling, discomfort or weakness caused by the lack, or severe lack of food. Global hunger refers to the latter — a severe lack of food.

A closer definition of world hunger comes from World Hunger, which describes hunger as being the scarcity of food in a country.

Hunger also leads to the lack of nutritional supplements necessary for human health. One out of three people in the world suffer from vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin A, iron and iodine.

A lack of vitamin A can cause blindness and reduce the effectiveness of the human immune system. The lack of iron is the cause of anemic, malaria and worm infections. The lack of iodine negatively affects mental health of children while the lack of this supplement during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, premature death in babies.

As it stands, though the world is producing enough food to feed the growing human population, those living in poverty do not have enough income to supply food for their households.

According to a slew of statistics, as you are reading this article, 820 million people are suffering from hunger, over 7000 people die of hunger everyday in India alone and one child dies every five seconds. Moreover, with the climate changing in recent years, many natural disasters have occurred, further pushing a large number of people into poverty.

Humanity is fighting a tough battle against global poverty, especially when concerning world hunger.  Though with the help of the world’s population, the future continues to look bright.  One person alone might not be able to make a difference, but if people are united under the same flag and want to make a difference, the world will change significantly.

This battle is, in fact, a drawn out war — and humanity is winning. With everyone’s support, this war can be won in twenty years, thus allowing the world tree to bear the fruit of freedom and strong economic growth for all nations.

– Phong Pham

Sources: Hunger Notes, Bhookh Relief Foundation

Nicaragua has reaped recent success in reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth as of late. With one of the highest growth rates in all of Central America, Nicaragua has seen its economy grow by 30% since the Sandinistas returned to power in 2006. Such news is encouraging, as the 2013 Human Development Index ranks Nicaragua 129 out of 187 countries. Currently, 12% of all children under five suffer from undernourishment in Latin America and the Caribbean forcing the nation to refocus its goal.

Recently, the World Food Programme announced that they will do their part to help break this threatening pattern by implementing programs for prevention, reduction, and treatment of nutrient deficiencies in children under five as well as other vulnerable populations. At a recent Regional Nutritional Meeting, an updated strategy for the New Year was introduced to help maximize nutritional value in meals delivered through social programs. In 2014, WFP will aid efforts in Nicaragua by implementing five initial activities:

1. With the assistance of the Nicaraguan government, WFP will utilize locally produced products high in nutrients.

2. Supporting country models, WFP will address chronic malnourishment by conducting applicable evidence surveys.

3. Piloting a national review of current social protection programs.

4. Preparing regional studies for the financial costs of solving chronic malnourishment.

5. Conducting another review of national monitoring and evaluation systems concerning nutritional challenges.

WFP Deputy Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Alzira Ferreira, spoke about the ongoing war on child undernourishment. “If young girls and boys do not receive adequate nutrition to properly develop, the damage to their bodies and minds could be irreversible. Later in life those children may develop health problems and perform poorly in school, consequently limiting their capacity to contribute to the well-being of their families, communities, and countries. We can avoid that by making nutrition central to all our interventions.”

This new Regional Nutrition Strategy will help allow Nicaragua and other governments suffering from a similar plight to focus on child nutrition from the womb to two years of age, where receiving sufficient nutrients and calories can be critical. This comes on the heels of a lucrative memorandum of understanding between Nicaragua and a major Chinese telecommunications company, which will fund a build an interoceanic canal and freight railroad across the country rivaling the Panama Canal. Recent optimism and support has allowed Nicaragua a chance at achieving stability and a new healthy nutrition standard.

Jeffrey Scott Haley
Feature Writer

Sources: World Food Program, Tico Times, The World Bank
Photo: Bastyr University

Action Against Hunger Foundation
Action Against Hunger | ACF International (ACF) is recognized as a leader in the fight against malnutrition. It’s a global humanitarian organization with missions of saving the lives of malnourished children in the world and bringing impoverished communities out of poverty.

ACF integrates activities in emergency nutrition, longer-term food, security, and water, sanitation & hygiene. So far, the organization has run life-saving programs in about 40 countries and benefited around 5 million people annually for 30 years. More than 4,200 professionals work around the world, helping ACF bring solutions to scale to save millions of lives.

Although the programs run by ACF may vary from country to country, they all share the same strategies, which are “context-specific, needs-based and customized through direct community participation.”

ACF is on the frontline and reach out to many destitute communities in the world. For example, in 2012, ACF treated more than 157,000 seriously malnourished individuals and helped 662,000 people reach essential water, sanitation and hygiene solutions in Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Sudan, D.R. Congo and Pakistan.

In Congo, it trained thousands o health workers, equipped hundreds of hospitals and health centers and provided lifesaving therapeutic care for over 42,000 severely malnourished kids.

In Nigeria, ACF worked with Nigerian government to strengthen the capacity of its health systems and ensure access to nutritional care for children. The number of children treated for malnutrition was also tropled from 12,000 t 36,000.

Also, about 550,000 farmers in the world were provided with tools after drought and displacement in 2012.

ACF, due to its contributions to global poverty, has been named one of the top nonprofits of 2012 by Great Nonprofits reviewers.

Liying Qian

Sources: ACF International 1, 2, 3

American Foreign Aid USAID
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a successful program engineered to combat poverty. USAID has focused on diminishing poverty in several aspects. Improving nutrition, assisting in food aid, and advancing water supplies are all important USAID goals. These three issues are connected on a deeper scale, as improving nutrition levels is conjoined with clean water supply and food aid assistance.

Proper nutrition is a basic necessity for every human. Malnutrition leads to approximately 2.6 million deaths per year, deaths that could be prevented if steps were taken to counteract malnutrition. USAID has partnered with Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) to help achieve basic nutritional improvement in impoverished areas throughout the world.

USAID and SUN have laid out a strategic approach to achieve their goal. They plan to prevent malnutrition through a package of maternal, infant, and young children programs. USAID and SUN will also combat malnutrition by targeting supplementation to vulnerable groups, managing malnutrition through community based projects, providing nutritional care for those living with HIV/AIDS, and improving the quality of food in the food assistance programs.

USAID is not only well prepared to handle global malnutrition levels; they are also prepared on the food assistance front. USAID works with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to effectively deliver lifesaving aid to food-barren areas. USAID and WFP have developed a working protocol that efficiently delivers food supplies to shortages worldwide.

USAID and WFP are constantly upgrading their food science programs, allowing them to deliver greater amounts of healthy food to needy areas. USAID is using a supply-chain management system that allows food to be sent out more efficiently. The programs have also combined to implement an emergency food service, which allows USAID and WFP to purchase emergency food in disaster-stricken areas. In addition, USAID also funded the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS), which is highly regarded as one of the best early-warning systems in the world.

Food and nutrition are two basic necessities in life. These epidemics are two of the most common problems known worldwide, yet a third is often overlooked. Lack of clean water supplies is just as important, and it receives a similar amount of attention from USAID. USAID has a specifically laid out plan to implement clean water supplies in needy areas. USAID focuses on increasing access to a sustainable water supply for all communities, finding a way to sanitize the water supplies, and teaching the community key hygiene behaviors to keep the water sanitized.

Through the actions of USAID, positive results can be seen in all of the targeted areas. In 2011, 3.8 million people had better access to clean water. USAID and affiliated programs provided over 1.5 metric tons of food to communities in 2012. The nutrition programs have been equally effective, with predictions that malnutrition will decrease by 20 percent in the next two years in targeted countries. The progress can be easily seen; all of which were made possible by the foreign aid budget that often falls under much criticism.

– Zachary Wright

Sources: USAID, USAID: Food Aid, USAID: Nutrition
Photo: Flickr

Project Concern International (PCI) is an organization which seeks to to prevent disease, improve community health, and promote sustainable development worldwide. PCI was founded in 1961 by Dr. James Turpin after saving the lives of two children suffering from pneumonia while working in a Tijuana clinic. This experience inspired the young doctor to go on and forever change the lives of millions. PCI envisions a world in which resources are abundant and shared, communities are capable of providing for the basic health and well-being of its members, and children and families can achieve lives of hope, good health and self-sufficiency. PCI conducts its work through field offices in host countries where directors can live in the area and get an intimate understanding of local needs.

Working in 16 countries, PCI hopes to reach at least 5 million people per year with its services. Overtime, PCI has expanded its reach through increased funding: from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to government grants to the Starbucks foundation, PCI has a well rounded list of supporters. PCI’s ultimate goals include addressing the root causes of poverty and poor health; working with the community to leverage their assets, capabilities and goals to create community-inclusive solutions; implementing holistic solutions; cultivating long-standing relationships with community leaders, investors, and stakeholders to catalyze the impact of aid spent; and developing tools which measure the long-term success of such programs. PCI addresses poverty through programs focused on women’s empowerment & poverty, children’s health, disease prevention, food & water programs, and disaster relief & recovery. Between 2013-2016, PCI hopes to reach over 10 million people worldwide and become a leader in building community capacity, resilience and self-sufficiency.

In addition to its programs worldwide, PCI also has a series of initiatives to further promote its goals. These intiatives include: Women Empowered, Legacy, Who Cares? and SHE.

  • Women Empowered: Established in May of this year, Women Empowered is an initiative in support of women’s equality, human rights and success. PCI believes that women are the solution to poverty, poor health and vulnerability and that through WE, women can attain social and economic empowerment. WE programs are currently being implemented in Guatemala, Bolivia, Botswana, and Malawi. One such success story comes from Maweta in Zambia. After raising six children of her own, Maweta returned to parenthood to raise her grandchildren after their parents died from AIDS. Without a steady source of income, Maweta struggled to provide for her grandchildren. After attending a community orientation hosted by PCI, Maweta began mobilizing women in her community to form a self-help group. Nine months later, Maweta has learned how to read and write, perform basic accounting and save $60 by selling mangoes to her community. Maweta has since received a loan to start a small business. Maweta buys food in bulk, repackages it into smaller quantities and sells these to her village. Since starting the business, Maweta has been able to provide for her grandchildren’s basic needs and education.
  • Legacy: PCI’s Legacy Programs focus on maternal/child health and nutrition, as well as economic empowerment. As the name suggests, ‘Legacy’ for PCI means consistent and compassionate commitment to the communities involved. These programs include: Well Baby clinics, Ventanilla de Salud (VDS), Casa Materna, and the Street and Working Children Program. Ventanilla de Salud (VDS) targets at risk immigrant populations near the border, by providing basic health and community services, while these families are waiting for service at the Mexican consulate. VDS has reached more than 41,000 people with health education information and nearly 20,000 with HIV/AIDS prevention messages. However, the VDS program suffers from a lack of funding and has been scaled back by more than 25 percent.
  • Who Cares?: An online campaign which celebrates, recognizes and encourages those who are giving back to the greater good. Who Cares? provides volunteers with the opportunity to network, share stories, or just get motivated about a cause. Who Cares targets the youth and young adults because they believe that the ability of today’s youth to mobilize others is huge, yet largely untapped. In addition, Who Cares provides tools to help the youth mobilize others and make their efforts pay off.
  • SHE: SHE, which is short for Strong, Health and Empowered, is a group of ambassadors who dedicate their time to PCI’s projects across the globe. These ambassadors work within the community to promote women’s empowerment and find innovative solutions to ensure that women lead strong, healthy lives.

To learn more about PCI’s work, explore for more info.

– Kelsey Ziomek

Sources: PCI Global, The San Diego Foundation, Washington Global Health Alliance, Coronado Eagle

5 Easy Solutions to Global PovertyWith 1.3 billion people living under the poverty line, ending global poverty seems like an insurmountable task. However, the developed world has the resources to achieve it. It is not simply a matter of throwing money at the world’s poor, though. There are simple and concrete methods that will end global poverty:

  1. Empowering women in developing countries. 60 percent of the world’s poor are women; 80 percent of agriculture in Africa and 60 percent of agriculture in Asia is done by women. Yet, it is more difficult for women to get credit from banks, making them unable to afford fertilizers and better seeds which would increase their crop yields. According to UN estimates, giving women access to credit could feed up to 150 million people. Addressing hunger is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty. Women also tend to reinvest more of their wealth in their own communities, further lifting their communities out of poverty.
  2. Providing nutritional school meals with local crops. The effect of this is twofold:  children are fed in school, and they are then more inclined to stay in school, leading to more education and thereby more development in society. Parents of girls in the developing world in particular are much more likely to send their daughters to school if there are meals provided. Also, locally sourced school meals mean that farmers, communities, and local economies all benefit from the purchase of these local crops.
  3. Improving access to water. Much of the world’s poor consist of subsistence farmers and the only way these farmers can rise out of poverty is by selling more crops. But when one of the small farmers who make up the world’s poor needs to water their crops, it often means trekking miles to the nearest water source, grabbing what water can be carried, and heading all the way back to their plot of land. Improving water access through water pumps, storage, conservation, and irrigation systems allow farmers to produce enough to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.
  4. Building local grain storage facilities. This helps communities store excess food which can later be sold at better prices. This also improves a community’s resilience to natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, and storms, as it enables the community to maintain productivity and nutrition despite damage or other adverse circumstances.
  5. Advocate for the world’s poor.  Lack of leadership from the White House and Congress is the biggest obstacle to solving global poverty. The US is the first country ever to have both the ability and political influence to end poverty. All that is needed is for the US to lead the developed world in dedicating itself to tackling poverty. US congressmen need to be pressured by their constituents to increase poverty-focused aid and make ending global poverty a priority in US foreign policy. If US government officials see that their constituents care about ending global poverty, they will take the lead in addressing global poverty.

– Martin Drake

Source: The Borgen Project, Reuters
Photo: Flickr

nutrition4_optThe Global Nutrition for Growth Compact has brought politicians, business people, and philanthropists together in an effort to fight global malnutrition. The Compact, signed in London on June 8th, dedicates $4.15 billion over the next seven years to the cause of ending under-nutrition.

The Global Nutrition for Growth Compact was established with the understanding that malnutrition needs to be combated just as much as malnourishment. Malnutrition occurs when a person has an adequate amount of calories but consumes a diet that is lacking in nutrients that are essential for growth and development. On the other hand, malnourishment is a condition resulting from a lack of calories in a diet. While malnourishment can directly lead to death through starvation, malnutrition more than doubles a child’s likelihood of dying due to weakened bodily functions. Poor nutrition is believed to be the primary cause of 45% of child deaths overall.

Fortunately, the number of children in the world who are stunted (or never reach their potential height) as a result of malnutrition dropped from 253 million to 167 million in the two decades between 1990 and 2010. The improvement is credited to a greater understanding of nutritional regimens that prevent malnutrition. Programs that combat malnutrition focus on remedies that emphasize breastfeeding and provide vitamins and nutrients to pregnant women and developing children. Adequate nutrition is critical for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, as it provides the components needed for infant development and healthy weight gain. Likewise, it is essential that developing children receive vitamins and nutrients for healthy mental and physical growth.

Researchers believe that a million lives could be saved each year through the implementation of a malnutrition reduction program. In addition to saving lives, the program will also provide children with the nutrients they need for full brain development, a component that helps children be successful in school.

– Jordan Kline

Source: IRIN News
Photo: Action Against Hunger

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Poverty in Rwanda
Rwanda has made vast improvements in reducing poverty in the past decade. Nevertheless, the majority of their population lives below the poverty line. Discussed below are the leading and somewhat surprising facts about poverty in Rwanda.


Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Rwanda


The Bad News

1.  57% of Rwandans live below the poverty line and 37% live in extreme poverty.

2. Rwanda is the most densely packed country in Africa. With an annual population growth rate of around 3%, the population will have an additional 12 million people by 2015.

3. The 1994 genocide, which killed about 1 million people, changed the demographic structure of the country. Women now account for 54% of the population, and women and orphans were left as the heads of many households.

4. 44% of Rwandan children suffer from stunting. This means that they are unable to grow to their full potential because of a lack of adequate nutrition.

5. Agriculture employs 80% of the labor force, but only accounts for a third of the country’s GDP. Nearly half of Rwandan agricultural households experience food insecurity.


…The Good News

6. At least 1 million Rwandans have been lifted out of poverty in the last five years. This has been attributed to an increase in agricultural incomes and income transfers.

7.  Between 2006-2011, Rwanda posted an average annual growth of real GDP of 8.4%. This was driven mainly by higher productivity in the agricultural and industrial sectors.

8. Since 2005 the mortality rate of children under 5 has been halved from 152 to 76 deaths per thousand.

9.  Immediately following the genocide, 100 percent of the government budget came from foreign aid. In 2011, the figure had fallen to 40%.

10. Participation in secondary schooling has doubled since 2006, and primary education has far exceeded the set target.

Rwanda still has a long way to go, but the recent successes provide hope for the 10 million people living within its borders. A combination of government programs, foreign aid, and a continued focus on agricultural production promises to bring more and more people out of poverty in Rwanda every day.

– Kathryn Cassibry

Sources: World Bank, Rural PovertyFeed the FutureUNDP
Photo: The Telegraph

USAID_ Food_Security_opt
Just over a year ago, President Obama announced the launch of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a joint commitment by the G8 nations, African countries and private sector partners. This week, a reflection over the last year celebrated the remarkable progress that has been made by the alliance in farming communities in Africa.

The initiative, launched on the eve of the G8 summit last in 2012, aims to lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022 by implanting inclusive and sustained agricultural growth. In a speech last week, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah said, “In one year, the New Alliance has grown into a $3.75 billion public-private partnership that embodies the principles of Grow Africa, an African-owned and led platform for catalyzing reform and mobilizing private investment.”

Over the last year, the alliance has provided support to six African countries in order for them to facilitate trade, stimulate new markets, and create new jobs. Techniques such as expanding seed production and distribution, and developing infrastructure, have helped spur agricultural growth, and have aided smallholder farmers with increased access to commercial markets. In 2013 alone, three new programs have been launched; the Agricultural Fast Track Fund, the Open Data for Agriculture, and a Technology Platform that will assess the availability of improved agricultural technologies for farmers in developing countries.

Food security and nutrition is vital in these farming communities; as Administrator Shah remarked in her speech, “long-tern food security is defined not only crop yields and vibrant markets, but also by the health of a child and the resilience of her community.” Although there are still many issues facing farmers in African countries, the New Alliance remains positive about the future. “By introducing innovation across the entire continuum from farm to market to table,” Shah said, “we have the opportunity to tackle extreme poverty by the roots and shape a world with far more partners in trade than recipients in aid.”

– Chloe Isacke

Source: USAID,Feed the Future
Photo: IFAD


According to a campaign called Think.Eat.Save by the Save Food Initiative (a partnership between NEP, FAO and Messe Düsseldorf),  a third “of all food production world-wide gets lost or wasted in the food production and consumption systems. Almost half of this quantity is the result of retailers and consumers in industrialized regions who discard food that is fit for consumption.” This food is often discarded because it is considered unsellable by retailers or is bought and uneaten before reaching its expiration date. However, all of this food disposal adds up.

On a global scale, tackling food waste would save over $1 trillion dollars annually. Over 1.3 billion tons of food could be saved and used to help feed the approximately 900 million people that suffer from global hunger. According to the UK non-profit and food sustainability organization Waste & Resources Action, average savings are around $1,090 USD for individual families. Food waste is not just throwing away expired or funny shaped fruits and vegetables but also throwing away water, land, and agricultural efforts.

Think.Eat.Save is campaigning to make people more conscious shoppers, more aware of expiration dates, less likely to buy on impulse, and more accepting to funny shaped, yet edible, fruits and vegetables. Doing this, one can expect, will impact global hunger for the better, getting more edible food to those who need it and leading everyone to consume more carefully and consciously.

– Angela Hooks

Sources: NY Daily News, Think.Eat.Save
Photo Source: NY News Daily