Topping the charts as one of the world’s most food-deficient countries, Chad ranks 184 out of 187 countries on the 2012 United Nations Development Program Human Development Index. With a population of around 11.5 million, nearly 87 percent of the rural residents live below the poverty line.

This economic instability is in part the result of several different conflicts over the last 50 years between different ethnic groups within the country. However, Chad is also hindered by a landlocked location and tough desert climate that makes it especially vulnerable to chronic food deficiencies. From erratic rains to locust infestations and cyclical droughts, Chad’s cereal and crop production has seen a severe decrease as of 30 percent in 2011, followed by an even more severe food and nutrition crisis in 2012.

It is a crisis that has continued to worsen, as refugees fleeing conflict in Sudan and the Central African Republic have flooded Chad. As of now, there are approximately 330,000 refugees in the country, all in need of food and shelter.

Currently the World Food Program (WFP), with the assistance of UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), has launched a number of different projects in an effort to combat hunger and fight malaria in the nation.

One such project is the Relief and Recovery Operation, started in January 2012 and set to last two years. The program’s five main objectives are to:

  1. To curb acute malnutrition among children 5 years of age and younger, as well as among lactating women.
  1. To prevent acute malnutrition to children under 2 years old.
  1. To meet adequate food needs for Sudanese and Central African refugees.
  1. To strengthen and build resilience among communities in regards to weather threats.
  1. To reestablish food security for communities and households most affected by external conflict.

The Relief and Recovery Operation also includes the distribution of blankets, general food and other supplementary supplies to over 2 million beneficiaries, at a cost of $412.8 million. Meanwhile, between January and December 2012, the WFP Food Assistance Program reached around 2 million people, 760,000 which were children. Approximately 62,000 metric tons of food valued around $91 million were delivered.

Steps are also being taken to end Chad’s malaria epidemic. Currently, 780,000 people are suffering from malaria, a number almost double that of previous years. Some experts have speculated that ongoing droughts and erratic rainfall, which could encourage mosquitoes to breed, might be responsible.  So far malaria has taken the lives of almost 2,057 people in the past year alone.

In the districts where malaria runs most rampant, supplies such as bed nets, medicines, vaccinations and other preventative treatments have been distributed by the Chad government, with the assistance of UNICEF and WHO. In a place where 33 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 23 months are not vaccinated and run the risk of disease and malnutrition, preventative measures and outside assistance offers Chad’s future its best chance.

– Jeffrey Scott Haley
Feature Writer

Sources: WFP: Countries Chad, WFP: Countries, Irin News, WFP: News
Photo: ABC

For those involved in the fight against global hunger, it is important to remain up-to-date on the numbers of people who are affected by hunger and malnutrition every year. Although global hunger still plagues a large portion of the world, the number of those affected decreases annually. Here are a few current global hunger statistics:

  1. 870 million people do not eat enough every day to be considered healthy.
  2. 98% of the world’s hungry live in the developing world.
  3. 15% of the population in the developing world is malnourished.
  4. One third of children’s deaths in developing countries are due to malnutrition.
  5. Hunger is responsible for more deaths every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
  6. One out of six children (about 100 million) in developing countries are underweight.
  7. One in four children in the world are stunted. This rises to one in three in many areas of the developing world.
  8. 80% of stunted children live in just 20 countries.
  9. If women received equal treatment (access to land, education, etc) as men, 100-150 million fewer cases of hunger would occur every year.
  10. By 2050, an additional 24 million children could fall into hunger because of climate change.

The good news: the amount needed to provide a child with a healthy diet of vitamins and nutrients is merely 25 cents per day. World hunger is 100% solvable.

– Mary Penn

Sources: World Food Programme, Stop Hunger Now


When most people think of world hunger, they picture the emaciated children shown on television commercials or news footage of refugees lining up for food rations. The media portrays hunger as a dire emergency directly resulting from natural disasters, war, or some other kind of unrest. These graphic examples of acute hunger do portray actual people and circumstances, but they fail to account for the 92 percent of the world’s hungry who suffer from chronic undernourishment rather than food emergencies. Though the number of people living with chronic hunger has decreased by 130 million people over the past two decades, one in eight people in the world still goes to bed hungry each night. Listed below are five facts about world hunger.

  1. Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Listed as the number one health risk on the WHO’s list of the world’s top ten threats to health, hunger causes 10 million deaths each year. That is roughly equivalent to the number of people killed in the Holocaust.
  2. If female farmers had the same access to resources as their male counterparts, the number of the world’s hungry could be reduced by 150 million people. Though women often hold responsibility for feeding their families, they face severe constraints in accessing the materials and markets needed to contribute successfully to the agriculture sector.
  3. 870 million people currently suffer from hunger. 98 percent of these people live in developing countries, with the largest proportion living in Asia and the Pacific. While the number of hungry people is declining in Asia and Latin America, it is steadily rising in sub-Saharan Africa.
  4. Another 24 million children could be hungry by the year 2050 due to climate change and irregular weather patterns. $7.1-7.3 billion is needed in order to offset the negative impact of climate change on world hunger.
  5. According to the World Food Programme, hunger is the “single biggest solvable problem” facing the world today. It costs just $0.25 per day to provide a child with the nutrients he or she needs to live, and $3.2 billion is needed to feed the 66-million school-age children who are currently hungry. While this may seem like a large amount of money, the U.S. spends more than 200 times that amount on the military alone.

– Katie Bandera

Sources: WFP, World Hunger

As thousands of Syrian refugees flood into neighboring countries, Lebanon stands out as a particularly sought-after harbor. The country’s proximity to Syria makes it a prime target for refugees and, the entourage of international organizations that come with them. Unlike their counterparts in other countries, however, Syrians in Lebanon are not living in camps—for the most part, they are looking for apartments, hunting for jobs, and otherwise acting like typical immigrants. Except that there are a million of them doing so.

Lebanon, which struggles to support its own population of four million, is staggering under the weight of the massive influx of refugees. Because the UN deliberately avoided internment as a solution, Syrians wander Lebanese streets and sleep under Lebanese roofs. Of course, a million extra people with no homes causes serious unrest, not to mention the dramatic surplus of demand that has thrown the Lebanese economy into a tailspin. As prices spike, jobs dwindle, and aid that originally flowed to the Lebanese gets repurposed for refugee relief, the Lebanese, understandably, grow hostile to the Syrians in their midst.

“At first, we were sympathetic, but now it has changed,” says one Lebanese family. “We used to get assistance, food parcels, assistance with school fees, food parcels, diesel fuel, and other aid, but we get nothing at all now.”

The growing dissent among locals signals the lack of coordination and direction of international efforts, which have collectively ignored host-side problems and thus complicated host-refugee relationships.

World Vision, one of the NGOs with the greatest presence in the Syrian refugee crisis, has been active in focusing on both short-term relief goals and longer-term development goals among host populations. The organization has long called for holistic programs aimed at refugee-host integration, increased funding for agencies that recognize the crisis’ underlying social problems, and improved consulting on the ground for more effective and coordinated response.

In response to the ever-increasing need for both relief and local development, the World Food Program launched a food voucher program in the region in partnership with iNGOS like World Vision. The program allocates aid money for expenditures in local food markets, a move designed to both feed hungry refugees and empower the poor farmers and grocers who can feed them.

Sara Pantuliano, the director of the Humanitarian Policy Group at the Overseas Development Institute, applauds the work done by organizations like Vision and the WFP. Her institute focuses on protracted refugee situations and the myriad of issues surrounding population integration, and she sees plenty of hope in their work. “We see some improvement in donor responses, in some agencies’ response,” she said.

However, she also recognizes that much of their kind of work runs against the grain of typical refugee crisis response. “They continue to be the exception in many ways,” she admitted.

– John Mahon

Sources: Devex, Overseas Development Institute, World Vision
Photo: The Electronic Intifada


Pakistan has been pummeled by three consecutive years of flooding resulting in destroyed crops and forced evacuations. Coupled with tribal violence this situation has prompted the UN to declare Pakistan in a state of food “emergency.” However, aid may be slow in coming.

Forty-five percent of Pakistan’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. Flooding in 2007, 2010, and 2012 coupled with earthquakes in 2005 and 2008 severely affected Pakistan’s food production. Wheat production, a major component of Pakistan’s food supply, was affected in 2008 but has since recovered some. However, rice production, a significant export, is still down from its high. This Spring the Indus river, providing much of the irrigation for production areas in Pakistan’s coastal district is unusually low. The colder winter has delayed glacier melt which feeds the River. Scientists believe climate change will continue to affect glacier melt and lead to increased flooding and drought.

Malnourishment is another result of these natural disasters and unrest in Pakistan. Fifteen percent of Pakistani children are malnourished. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) works to combat this nutrient deficient in Pakistan with locally produced products called “Wawa Mum” and “Acha Mum.” Programs providing children aged six to fifty-nine months with this nutrient-rich product has seen positive results. Reaching more children in the most remote parts of the country requires additional resources, however.

In addition to the crops lost to natural disasters the evacuation of rural populations also leads to food insecurity. The population dependent on sustenance farming are forced to abandon their production and livestock when moved to safe areas. The loss in this production and investment is difficult to monetize. Areas bordering Afghanistan affected by tribal violence and spill-over from conflict across the border also lead to evacuations and loss in property. Even when refugees are able to return to their homes their houses and property are often destroyed, making food production difficult if not impossible.

A program launched in May 2009 by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and implemented in conjunction with the WFP is designed to assist the rural population with food production and re-building local agricultural infrastructure. The 24.7 million Euro project targets families growing staple foods. In addition to this funding, the FAO works to assist agriculture production in conflict areas of Pakistan.

Despite these programs the WFP chief says aid for Pakistan food security has been rerouted to assist with the Syrian refugee crisis. The WFP spends $19 million monthly on Syria operations. With the increasing violence in Syria, and the refugee numbers climbing, Pakistan may see a further drop in its food aid.

– Callie D. Coleman

Sources: Global Post, Food Security Portal, WFP
Photo: Spark

Hunger in Rwanda: The Good and the Bad
In Rwanda, poverty and hunger continue to pose a major challenge for the rapidly developing country. Based on the UNDP Human Development Index for 2011, the country ranks 166 out of 187 while maintaining one of the highest population densities in Africa. The large population puts a strain on proper healthcare as well as the already limited natural resources of the country. Although the government of Rwanda, together with the World Food Program, has found that nutrition levels and food security have been improving over the last seven years, the situation is still far from optimal.

Some of the major challenges Rwanda faces with regard to poverty and hunger could be solved by foreign aid investments or direct cash donors from developed nations and foreign aid organizations. 83.7% of the population survives on $2 a day or less, and without proper disposable income, it is impossible to support families with proper food, water, and nutrition.

Up to 90% of the population engages in subsistence agriculture. This, combined with the extreme crowding and limited access to land, makes subsistence farming inefficient.

WFP’s country director for Rwanda, Jan Delbaere, weighs in on the topic, explaining that “during 2012, WFP bought 23,000 metric tons of food in Rwanda, mostly for operations in neighboring countries. This is a clear sign that Rwanda is more than self-sufficient for its staple crops. However, households with only a small area of land for cultivation simply cannot afford to access enough nutritious food to live healthy, active lives or to provide for their basic needs from their land alone.”

The WFP remains committed to supporting the government in Rwanda to increase food security and food production programs, and the country itself has chosen to sign the “Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) compact and to secure funding, thus confirming malnutrition and food insecurity as one of the government’s key priorities.” In spite of its food insecurity, Rwanda’s GDP has been growing by 7.2% annually since 2010. With proper investment and aid, these issues can be solved, and the country set further on the right track to stability.

– Sarah Rybak

Source: WFP,Hope in Action
Photo: ESB Blog

According to the World Food Program, there are 870 million people that are living with chronic hunger worldwide. The estimated cost of feeding those people is USD 30 billion, a fraction of what the United States allots to the Military and War budgets. While there has been tremendous progress in reducing hunger worldwide, today one in eight people do not get enough food to lead a healthy, active life.

Malnutrition is the number one health risk across the globe, but it is entirely preventable. Listed below are five ways to reduce poverty and help eradicate malnutrition and chronic hunger.

1. Donate to a cause or organization that will make a difference.

2. Learn the facts, spread the word, and build buzz. The more people that are involved and dedicated to ending world hunger, the better. Great sites to surf for facts are UNICEF, USAID and WFP and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

3. Call or write to Congress! A phone call or letter to state representatives and congressmen can persuade them to support bills that will protect and reduce hunger around the world. Learn how to contact state leaders at The Borgen Project.

4. Volunteer. Whether you have the time or the money, volunteering is a great way to fight the good fight and end world hunger.

5. Fundraise! Hold a garage sale, a non-event or start a fundraising website to generate awareness and funds.

– Kira Maixner
Source: WFP, The Borgen Project
Photo: SCH

Eva Longoria Impressed by World Food ProgramActress Eva Longoria, best known for her role in Desperate Housewives, visited rural Honduras this March with philanthropist Howard G. Buffett (the eldest son of Warren Buffet). The actress wanted to see first-hand the work of the World Food Program (WFP) and its Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative – to which the Howard G. Buffett Foundation is a major donor. Eva Longoria impressed by World Food Program, especially sighted the P4P ability to tailor development practices and policies for each community differently, as “there’s not a template for the world” for achieving success.

As the world’s largest humanitarian agency, WFP is also a major food buyer. In 2012, WFP bought over $1 billion worth of food – more than 75 percent in developing countries. The P4P program is a logical agenda for the WFP – its mission is to increase the WFP procurement of food through local/small scale farmers, thereby increasing rural development with the WFP’s buying power.

Through the initial pilot program in 20 countries, P4P will provide greater incentive to small farmers to invest in their production, as they will have the stability of a reliable buyer and receive a fair price for their crops with WFP’s promise to buy their crops. It is envisioned that with the WFP stabilizing and developing small-businesses, then local governments and other private companies will also start to buy on a smaller level, further increasing demand and development. Farmers are learning how to increase crop quantities and quality, how to negotiate markets, pricing and contracts, and improve their businesses. P4P also invests in capacity building in areas such as post-harvest handling and storage, which in turn yields sustainability through boosting national food security reserves.

The five years pilot P4P, 2009 – 2013, rests on three pillars:

1. Demand: Through P4P, WFP tests innovative ways to buy staple food and promote marketing opportunities for smallholder farmers.

2. Supply: P4P links WFP’s demand with the expertise and resources of partners who support farmers to achieve better yields, reduce their losses after the harvest and improve the quality of their staple crops.

3. Learning and Sharing: P4P will gather and share lessons on effective approaches to connect smallholder farmers to markets in a sustainable way and share them widely with stakeholders.

A wide range of partners regionally, nationally, and globally supports the P4P program, with the US being a key donor.

 – Mary Purcell

Source: FLickr, WFP

Take a Quiz - Feed a Family in SyriaBy taking this short quiz, participants can literally feed a family in Syria. Sponsored and facilitated by the UN World Food Program (WFP), the five questions survey will help you learn more about the crisis in Syria and how the WFP is responding.

The questions range from the cost of living expenses to refugee status. One question asks, “Of all the refugees now living in Jordan how many are women & children?” Answer: of this particular Jordanian population of 60,000 refugees – 75% are women & children. The WFP provides nutritious ready-to-eat meals for anyone in need.

The UN has just counted the one-millionth refugee coming out of Syria. More than 70,000 people have died and two million have been internally displaced since the conflict began almost two years ago. Starting as demonstrations against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the protests quickly turned violent as opponents of Mr. Assad took up arms against the brutal crackdown coming from the authorities. There is still no resolution in sight.

Find out more – and feed a family in Syria for a day.

– Mary Purcell

Source: WFP, BBC
Photo: unostamps

Malnutrition is not necessarily about not having enough to eat, but rather not having the right minerals and vitamins in what you eat. This World Food Program (WFP) video says everything you need to know about malnutrition – in two minutes.

The cycle of malnutrition starts in the womb, malnourished mothers give birth to children with health problems who grow up to be adults with health problems, then raising the next generation, and so on. The goal of the WFP is not just to treat malnutrition, but to also help it from happening in the first place. WFP realizes that it costs half as much to help a child under two, than it does to wait until the child is older and in need of greater assistance.

In raw figures, WFP indicates it would cost $3.6 billion to provide the special foods needed to treat all the moderately malnourished infants and toddlers in the world. Seemingly a large sum of money, but it is less than half of the $10 billion that Europeans spend on ice cream annually. Thus, the amount needed to treat malnourished is attainable.

Relatively, the fight against malnutrition is not that daunting; the world has the ability and the means, “the challenge is to do it.”

– Mary Purcell

Source: Youtube