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Innovations Addressing Food ScarcityFood scarcity is a major problem in the world today. Roughly 795 million people (this equates to one in 9 people) do not have enough food to survive. Specifically, developing countries face the highest levels of food scarcity These statistics, paired with the fact that 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste annually, necessitates reformation. Around the world, people have been working to help resolve this crisis and ensure that the hungry do not starve. These are five modern innovations addressing food scarcity.

5 Modern Innovations Addressing Food Scarcity

  1. SAP Digital Farming: SAP is a company that is working to combat global food shortages through revolutionary technology. After implementing state of the art sensors in crop fields, farmers would download SAP’s digital farm app. Then, the app would relay necessary information to the farmer. This information includes the supply of fertilizer, water needs, soil moisture and crop growth. Importantly, this information makes the agricultural process more efficient by helping the farmer realize optimal harvesting and planting times. Further, these additional benefits will maximize yield while minimizing costs.
  2. M-Farm: M-Farm serves as a tool to help farmers in Kenya. Often, in the case of farmers in developing countries, intermediaries between the producer and consumer will reap the rewards for a task they had very minimal involvement in. Further, the farmers will have a vast amount of their earnings usurped and will be charged ridiculous prices for necessities, carrying on the cycle of poverty. M-Farm enables Kenyan farmers to SMS the number 3555 to get relevant information. This information includes the price of their products and the ability to purchase the necessary equipment for affordable prices. Additionally, M-Farm also relays crucial trends in the local market for farmers to enhance their judgment. The app collects this information independently through location services and analysis.
  3. Share the Meal App: Developed by the World Food Program, the Share the Meal application on iOS and Android phones works to combat starvation across the world. In 2015, four years after the start of the Syrian Civil War, the organization sought to mobilize technology to feed starving children in refugee camps in Jordan. Additionally, the app enables people to donate 50 cents that will go toward securing meals for these children. Currently, the app has enabled over 48 million meals to be distributed to those in need.
  4. Plantwise: Launched in 2011 by the global nonprofit, CABI, Plantwise is a program that helps farmers understand tactics to increase efficiency and yield. CABI established a global plant clinic network that provides farmers with information about plant health. Qualified plant doctors advise farmers on techniques that will reduce the number of pests and diseases that afflict their crops. Plantwise works to disseminate information to farmers in rural areas that have little access to useful information regarding their agriculture. The goal is to emphasize healthy plant habits so farmers lose less yield and are effectively able to produce more food.
  5. Digital Green: The last of these five modern innovations addressing food scarcity, Digital Green uses modern technological advancements to uplift impoverished farmers. The project began in 2008 in India, where workers trained credible officials in villages to use video technology to convey crucial information, including agriculture techniques and market conditions. This effort was widely successful, as Digital Green reached a total of 1.8 million farmers in over 15,000 villages. In addition, this prompted the organization to expand into Ethiopia. There, almost 375,000 farmers were reached, which led to the commencement of initiatives to help farmers in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Niger and Tanzania.

Finally, it is undeniable that technology plays a very prominent role in society today. Technological innovations have revolutionized the lives of people across the world. Further, these innovations addressing food scarcity are prime examples of this rapid paradigm shift. Progress necessitates change and change is only possible through people working together to absolve adversity in the most effective way possible.

Jai Shah
Photo: Flickr

Fighting Global PovertyPeople helping people. Country helping country. Giving back to the world is not a strange concept and is a welcomed idea in most societies. A popular form of global help is foreign aid. The umbrella term commonly refers to monetary assistance provided by outlying or foreign governments. The funds are generally distributed through humanitarian organizations, non-profit groups or directly from a foreign government. As such, the aid is given to citizens in an abundance of forms, such as money, food or shelter. While some can afford to provide more than others on a purely numeric comparison, the amounts are measured or valued differently depending on the country’s economic standing. This list consists of five countries fighting global poverty who outshine the rest.

Top Five Countries Fighting Global Poverty

  1. Norway begins the list as it provides the largest amount of foreign aid in comparison to its GDP. The government put 1.11 percent of its GDP towards global humanitarian aid, spending NOK 455 million as of 2018. The country utilizes organizations such as the U.N.’s CERF (Central Emergency Response Fund), the Red Crescent Movement and the Red Cross. Recently, Norway channeled much of their funds into CERF in order to assist Venezuela in its growing refugee crisis. Norway’s contributions towards these programs effectively fight against global poverty and prove the nation should be in the top five, as its generosity in comparison to its national budget is the highest in the world.
  2. Luxembourg also contributes a significant portion of their GDP towards humanitarian and foreign affairs. Approximately 1 percent of their national budget, or about USD 413 million, is used for aid. Some of Luxembourg’s projects include poverty reduction through community development in Laos, education improvement in Burkina Faso and health care in Nicaragua. These countries receive specific help from various agencies and organizations like LuxDev and the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs. These groups and projects, though just a few select examples, show how much effort Luxemborg puts in fighting poverty.
  3. Sweden comes forward as another example of a smaller country with a smaller budget who still makes a grand impact in the world. As about 1.04 percent of its GDP, or about USD 5.8 billion, is used for humanitarian and foreign aid, Sweden holds a top ranking. While the money touches on a broad range of topics, from civil rights to education, specific Swedish projects focus on poverty issues. For instance, Sweden recently provided aid to Somalia for drought relief through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Somalia Humanitarian Fund. Sweden makes a mark on the world by not only tackling larger, conceptual issues, but by also responding quickly to disasters and world events. Such assistance highlights the country’s proficiency in the fight against global poverty.
  4. The United States is a leader in fighting global poverty as it contributes the most money towards humanitarian and foreign aid. Within the past few years alone, the U.S. contributed USD 30 billion towards various forms of international aid. The nation utilizes several different federal agencies, non-profit groups and other organizations to distribute aid. The U.S. commonly works with popular organizations such as UNICEF or the Red Cross. A prime example of the U.S. effect on the world is with the sheer number of countries it provides for, as it touches nearly 40 different nations, including Pakistan and Mexico.
  5. Germany also provides a significant amount of aid with nearly USD 20 billion contributed towards humanitarian projects in recent years. This accounts for nearly 0.70 percent of the national budget. Popular organizations and agencies include the World Food Program, which Germany utilized to provide relief to Africa. In addition to such organizations, Germany is known to donate large amounts of money to other countries, a notable example being Syria in recent years due to their ongoing crisis. Germany’s monetary generosity also makes it the second-largest donor in the world to foreign aid, falling in just behind the U.S.

Whether it’s a natural disaster or political turmoil, when a country is in need, surrounding neighbors will often step up to help.

– Eleanora Kamerow
Photo: Flickr

Malnutrition in Madagascar

Madagascar, a small island off the coast of Africa, is the fourth-most malnourished country in the world. Malnourishment can harm the immune system, bone structure and organs of the body. Below are five facts about malnutrition in Madagascar and solutions to malnourishment.

5 Facts about Malnutrition in Madagascar

  1. Natural disasters cause food insecurity. Madagascar experiences dangerous cyclones, floods and droughts every year. These natural disasters leave poor citizens in crisis (Phase 3) and emergency (Phase 4) phases of food insecurity, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network’s Integrated Phase Classification. This means that families struggle to have the minimum amount of food necessary for survival, and they experience high or very high acute malnutrition. USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) is one organization that provides humanitarian aid to Madagascar. In addition to emergency food resources, FFP also introduces malnutrition recovery techniques and food-for-assets tasks in which a household member receives a supply of food in exchange for help with water management. As of 2019, USAID estimates that the regions of Madagascar that are hardest hit by natural disasters will decrease to the stressed (Phase 2) phase of food insecurity, thanks to humanitarian assistance.
  2. Malnutrition worsens the measles outbreak. As the measles outbreak continues to worsen in Madagascar, children are at the highest risk for disease. Seventy percent of deaths caused by measles complications are of children ages 14 and under, and nearly half of the child-aged population in Madagascar is still susceptible to the highly contagious disease. Direct Relief is working with the Ministry of Public Health to decrease malnutrition in Madagascar and to fight against measles. They have implemented Vitamin A vaccines to treat children with measles, and the vitamin also improves nutrition. Since 2013, Direct Relief has been present in Madagascar to help during epidemics and to support child health.
  3. Stunting is a dangerous effect of malnutrition. Stunting occurs when a child grows up to be too small for his or her age due to a lack of necessary nutrients in infancy. Infancy is a critical stage of development, and if a child is not properly nourished, he or she will face irreversible challenges throughout his or her life. For example, stunted children tend to have difficulty focusing on tasks. If a child is stunted, he or she will earn 26 percent less income than average. This is dangerous for Madagascar because seven percent of gross domestic product is lost due to malnutrition. World Bank initiated a 10-year Improving Nutrition Outcomes Program to decrease malnutrition in Madagascar by providing nutrient interventions in infancy. The goal is to decrease malnutrition by 30 percent.
  4. Anemia is another dangerous side effect of malnutrition. Regions of Madagascar with the highest levels of anemia also have the lowest consumption rates of healthy, iron-rich foods, suggesting a link between anemia and malnutrition. Anemia in children can lead to developmental delays and decreased adult productivity, but anemia in pregnant mothers can lead to early delivery, low birth weight and even infant death. USAID currently treats anemia in Madagascar with iron folic acid (IFA) supplements for women of reproductive age. Since its implementation, anemia in women has decreased from 46 percent to 35.3 percent. In children, anemia has decreased from 68.2 percent to 50.3 percent.
  5. The World Food Programme is working to improve conditions. The World Food Programme (WFP) provides humanitarian aid in Madagascar in many forms to combat malnutrition. So far, they have reached 650,000 of the 850,000 people living with food insecurity. The organization brings nutritional and cash assistance to those living with malnutrition, daily school meals for children and seeds in order for families to plant crops. The WFP may have saved the country from plunging into famine, but more can be done to eradicate malnutrition in Madagascar.

– Katherine Desrosiers
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 facts about girls’ education in Haiti
Education reform in Haiti has provided opportunities for women and young girls to escape the conditions of extreme poverty in the country. However, girls continue to struggle in getting an affordable education and traditional gender norms challenge the potential opportunities for women. Haiti ranks 177th out of 186 countries in the world in terms of national spending on education. Advocating for the benefits of education for young girls can break these barriers. In the text below, the top 10 facts about girls’ education in Haiti are presented.   

Top 10 Facts About Girls’ Education in Haiti

  1. Girls have shown an increase in primary school enrollment. From 2008 to 2012, primary school attendance for girls has grown to 77.7 percent compared with boys at 76.7 percent.
  2. Haiti’s education system has some challenges as ineffective teaching methods contribute to low-quality education. In addition, there is a persistent shortage of qualified teachers who remain unpaid. Around half of the public sector of teachers lack basic qualifications, 80 percent of them have not received any pre‐service training and 25 percent have never had a formal education or have attained a secondary school.
  3. The 2010 earthquake left Haiti in shambles and further damaged already-weak school infrastructure. The earthquake destroyed 4,000 schools, including one of the biggest educators of Haitian women and girls, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. Schools have struggled to provide students with a quality education. In some instances, children aged 5 to 12 attended classes in one-room local churches. Following the earthquake, these were temporary measures to shelter student so they could resume their schooling.
  4. Educate a Child is an organization that implemented a project called Quality Basic Education for Out of School Children (OOSC) with the goal to increase access to education by building primary school options in Haiti, as well as expanding them. The project’s goal is to reach at least 50,000 school children or OOSC within the following sub-groups of girls and boys: in domestic servitude situations, in rural and semi-rural areas, in rural farm situations without economic means to attend school and in street or semi-street situations. Currently, there is one OOSC program in Haiti. The project benefits parents of OOSC, teachers, school officials and an estimate of 227,000 children.
  5. Young girls with little or no education are more likely to have children and be victims of domestic violence. About 70 percent of women in Haiti have been victims of gender-based domestic violence. One survey found that 13.1 percent of girls and 14.6 percent of boys between the ages of 10 and 14 who were not enrolled in school were among the estimated 150,000 to 500,000 children who lived with non-relatives as unpaid domestic servants, and 65 percent of them being girls. Girls who are unable to attend school go to domestic labor and become vulnerable to physical, sexual and psychological abuse, unlike the girls who finish primary and secondary school who are more likely to escape these conditions and marry later in their adult years.
  6. Gender discrimination continues to be an obstacle for girls seeking access to education. Children from the ages of 5 to 17 work as unpaid domestic laborers. These children are also called restavek, and the majority of them are girls. Though girls enter school on par with boys, they are marginalized and are subject to higher dropout rates.
  7. Most Haitian schools follow French education model and French is used on the national tests. This creates a language barrier since most Haitians speak Creole. Less than 22 percent of Haitian primary school children pass the entrance examination at the end of grade five. About 13 percent of girls succeed in these entrance exams, while the rest are ill-prepared and unable to proceed to secondary school.
  8. The literacy rate is approximately 61 percent- 64 percent for males and 57 percent for females. Haiti Now is an organization committed to investing in accelerated educational programs for girls vulnerable to domestic servitude and at risk to drop out. They build on literacy skills by distributing and purchasing textbooks for young girls. As of 2016, 7,246 textbooks have been distributed to classrooms throughout Haiti and 425 girls have been recipients to textbooks.
  9. Malnutrition and natural disasters pose an obstacle for girls to stay in school. The World Food Program (WFP) delivers daily hot meals to about 485,000 school children in over 1,700 predominantly public schools throughout Haiti. WFP found that girls’ education contributes to a 43 percent reduction in child malnutrition over time, while food availability accounts for 26 percent reduction. For families who struggle to provide food at home, food programs in school also ensure that girls stay in school and are focused and ready to learn.
  10. The access to primary education in Haiti has improved with 90 percent of primary school-aged children enrolled in school to date. Although these changes are an improvement in Haiti’s education system, quality education remains a challenge. Many students repeat a grade and about 53 percent drop out before completing primary school, while 16 percent of girls stop attending primary school altogether.

These top 10 facts about girls’ education in Haiti demonstrate how barriers are broken and how conditions continue to improve for girls that are eager to learn. However, gender discrimination continues to be an obstacle to Haiti’s development in education. Despite these inequities, women in Haiti continue to be the necessary leaders, caregivers, professionals and heads of households by serving their communities and responding in times of crisis. As Haiti continues to rebuild, it will be critical to providing educational opportunities for the current generation of girls to ensure sustainable development efforts are met.

– Luis Santos
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Poverty in Sudan

Located in Northeast Africa, Sudan is the third largest country of the African continent with a current population of more than 41 million people. The biggest problem country is facing is the poverty rate that is currently about 46.5 percent and continues to increase. This does not only affect men and women living in Sudan but children as well. In the text below, 10 facts about poverty in Sudan are presented.

Facts about Poverty in Sudan

  1. In 2018, about 7.1 million people in Sudan are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, while 5.5 million experience food insecurity and are in danger of starvation, according to the USAID. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) also reports that almost 50 percent of refugees in the country are experiencing food insecurity. Because of this, malnutrition rates continue to increase, growing not only above the emergency threshold, but even higher. Around 32 percent of Sudanese children are chronically malnourished.
  2. Sudan’s climate conditions such as soil erosion, desertification and recurrent droughts, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), are also causing low and variable productivity since agriculture produces 40 percent of GDP and employs over 70 percent of the labor force in rural areas of Sudan.
  3. USAID states that the consequences of the economic crisis are also fuel shortages, currency depreciation and high inflation levels. These issues have increased transportation costs and food prices, obstructing humanitarian operations in Sudan. The shortages could also increase not only food production costs but curb yields in upcoming harvest seasons.
  4. Almost 550,000 breastfeeding mothers and babies in 2010 were lacking needed additional nutritious foods. In 2015, maternal mortality rate involved 311 deaths per 100,000 live births while the mortality rate for children was 65.1 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  5. Sudan remains a high-indebted country that has accumulated sizeable external arrears. IFAD states that by the end of 2014, Sudan’s external debt was $43.6 billion in nominal terms, and around 85 percent of this amount was in arrears.
  6. In response to the rise of food insecurity and hunger in Sudan, USAID happens to be the largest donor of emergency food assistance to Sudan. The Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with WFP and UNICEF to provide emergency assistance to those in need. The FFP assistance currently supports more than 2.5 million food-insecure people in Sudan per year.
  7. According to the UNICEF, 3.2 million people were internally displaced, including almost 1.9 million children in 2016. UNICEF provided access to the drinking water supply through operation, maintenance and water chlorination services to about one million displaced persons and refugees.
  8. IFAD has prioritized Sudan for more than 20 years and their loans help increase agricultural production through environmental practices and distribution of improved seeds. Their activities include promoting land reform, harmonizing resources for nomads and farmers as well as promoting equitable distribution of resources. They also ensure representation of both women and youth in grass-roots organizations and guarantee access to microfinance for women. This is very important since 24.7 percent of women in Sudan are unemployed.
  9. WFP, thanks to the E.U. Humanitarian Aid, has been able to provide five months of nutritional support to 86,600 children under the age of five and to pregnant and nursing women in 2017.
  10. Global Partnership for Education (GPE) started the educational program that began in July 2013 and continues to improve the learning environment in Sudan, providing and distributing almost six million textbooks and strengthening the education system. Almost 1,000 additional conventional and community classrooms have been built through this program which benefits over 52,000 students. Over 3,400 communities and 4,800 students in the country also received school grants.

These top 10 facts about poverty in Sudan bring not only the awareness of the people’s lives but reflects how much change and development is being brought to the country. These issues can be solved and poverty rates can be improved.

Organizations, including the few listed in the text above, will continue to develop and come together, bringing not only hope to the people but also dedication, ensuring a better future for the people in the country.

– Charlene Frett
Photo: Flickr

The State of Food Security as World Hunger IncreasesWorld hunger levels do not merely represent the amount of food a country has available. This level lends to the disparity of class, employment and education levels in a country. For those who find access to food and consume more than others, their energy for sustained work propels them above those with lower levels of caloric distribution. This begins the procession of beneficial livelihoods that are affordable for those who live without hunger.

Not only is hunger a contributing factor to living conditions, but in many cases, living conditions can also cause hunger. In 2010 for example, the number of undernourished people in the world declined for the first time in 15 years. The decline, according to the Food and Agriculture Association, was largely attributed to the “favorable economic environment in 2010—particularly in developing countries—and the fall in both international and domestic food prices since 2008.”

In 2017, the global hunger level rose for the first time in over a decade. In 2016, the world Prevalence of Undernourishment was 10.8 percent, continuing a consistent decline since 2003. The 2017 report published by the UN indicates that the world Prevalence of Undernourishment has risen to 11 percent.

“On September 15th, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the UN World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) published the first-ever consolidated U.N. report on progress towards eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2030.”

Under the U.N. Sustainable Development goals (SDG’s) these five U.N. organizations have pronounced to end hunger, promote sustainable development and achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030.

The 2017 Global Report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World illustrates some of the biggest drivers of world hunger: armed conflict and natural disasters. “Of the 815 million chronically food-insecure and malnourished people in the world, the vast majority—489 million—live in countries affected by conflict.”

Armed conflict contributed to the onset of food insecurity in countries like Syria, South Sudan and Lebanon in 2017. In Syria, a six-year civil war has contributed to the onset of a record low agricultural production. An 85 percent poverty rate in 2016, along with the exodus of an estimated 4.8 million refugees since 2011, aggregates the lack of agricultural production and food insecurity in Syria.

South Sudan has seen inflation due to shortages, currency devaluation and high transportation costs as a result of the ongoing conflict. Lebanon is an example of how the spillover effect of conflicts in other countries contributes to an economic slowdown. The conflict in Syria has “disrupted trade routes, and declined confidence among investors and consumers” in Lebanon, which has “absorbed more than 1.5 million refugees.” Political crises thus contribute to increases in world hunger.

Natural disasters such as El-Niño-driven drought and other climate shocks lead to unfavorable agriculture conditions and food scarcity in countries like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Haiti. In Southern Africa, where countries were experiencing high levels of poverty and structural insecurity, El Niño’s dry conditions induced crop losses and reduced access to food.

The combination of insecurities in these countries prompted critical food insecurity in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. In 2015, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti and coupled with El Niño induced drought to create unfavorable cropping conditions that left “1.6 million…in need of food assistance.” World hunger thus increases due to natural disasters.

The rise of undernourished people in the world in 2017 brings attention to the multi-dimensional effects of conflict in developing nations. Armed conflict coupled with unfavorable weather conditions have risen the rate of Prevalence of Undernourishment and brought multiple nations to critical food insecurity.

The 2017 report looks at Uganda as an example of how resolving conflict can decrease food insecurity. Two decades of conflict lead to reliance on international food assistance in Uganda. Since 2011, after the end of the conflict, Uganda has increased food security and no longer requires assistance. Steps like the ones Uganda has made continue to inspire work towards reducing world hunger.

Eliza Gresh

Photo: Flickr

South Sudan Is PoorSouth Sudan is poor. In 2015, the extreme poverty rate increased to 66 percent. Only 27 percent of the population is literate, with an enormous gender gap: the literacy rate for males is 40 percent while the literacy rate for females is 16 percent. The infant mortality rate is 105 for every 1,000 births and 17 percent of children are not immunized. Roughly 38 percent of South Sudan’s people have to walk 30 minutes to access drinking water and 80 percent of the population does not have a toilet. The quality of life in this country is very low; however, with new policies the government can improve the country’s welfare.

Why is South Sudan poor? The landlocked country is isolated from humanitarian professionals and foreign investors. Poor roads make the country impassable during the rainy season. The World Food Program reported that they only have a three-month window to deliver 100,000 tons of food (roughly 6,500 truckloads) before the rains come and make many areas inaccessible.

Before South Sudan’s independence, the Sudanese government largely failed to build good roads in rural areas and left them neglected. Corruption was prevalent, causing those who controlled the companies’ capital to use those resources purely for their own gain.

The world’s newest country is still developing government infrastructure. Between 1955 and 2005, Sudan was engulfed in a brutal civil war, which left countless dead and homeless. After a failed peace agreement, South Sudan seceded from the north in 2011. However, fighting broke out in the country in 2013 and continues off and on to this day.

The new government is wracked by division and as a result does not have the ability to build roads, provide basic education or ensure the welfare of its constituents. Moreover, funds and resources are often channeled into certain areas while others are ignored. Violence also plays a key factor in hindering aid from reaching key areas.

However, conditions in the country could improve in the near future. A new government policy relying more on the country’s vast oil wealth could improve living conditions. The government has also made health and education a focus. The World Food Program is making progress in the country as well. The organization helped stave off a famine in 2014 when it dispatched 190,000 tons of food to the country and assisted 2.5 million people. South Sudan is poor, but there are many opportunities for improvement.

Bruce Edwin Ayres Truax
Photo: Flickr


Significant progress has been made on the issue of hunger in Oman, including the country already meeting eight of its Millennium Development Goals. The amount of extreme poverty and hunger has been cut in half in Oman since 1990.

The World Food Program defines hunger as undernourishment, or chronic undernourishment. Undernourishment is the result of chronic hunger, that can result in stunted growth in children, the loss of mental and physical abilities, and even death. Undernourishment affects one in six people around the world today.

Another unfortunate result of hunger is referred to as the “under five mortality rate” or the proportion of children who die before reaching the age of five. Hunger plays a large part in this rate, and Oman reduced it’s under five mortality rate by two-thirds since 1990. In fact, the percentage of children under five who were underweight was 9.7 percent in 2014, compared to 23 percent in 1995.

Maternal health is also a big beneficiary of the fight against hunger. As mentioned, undernourishment can have drastic effects on the health and livelihood of individuals, let alone those who are eating for two. Maternal mortality is a huge problem in countries where poverty and hunger rates are high, and Oman was no exception. Since 1990, the maternal mortality rate has been reduced by 75 percent.

Oman has made such strides in the past two decades, that it is now on the other side of the coin. In 2014, Oman donated $1 million to the World Food Program to be used to fight hunger in Mauritania and Senegal, two countries in Africa that are plagued by drought and constant violence.

Success stories like this on hunger in Oman should be built upon for future progression across the board. Oman was near the bottom, with poverty levels and hunger levels affecting the lives of its citizens. Thanks to collaboration from other countries throughout the world, and the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, Oman has come closer to stabilization than ever before.

Dustin Jayroe

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Somalia
Situated on the Horn of Africa and plagued by a history of instability, Somalia has fallen victim to crisis after crisis. The end result has created massive hunger in Somalia. Clan warfare, droughts, famines, and the presence of terror group al-Shabab have left much of the country vulnerable and without food.

10 Facts about Hunger in Somalia:

  1. Most recently, hunger in Somalia has worsened due to a two-year drought. Of the country’s 12.3 million people, 6.2 million are severely food insecure. In addition, almost three million cannot reach their daily food requirements.
  2. This is not the first hunger crisis to occur in the country. In 2011, an estimated quarter million people died due to a severe famine.
  3. Somalia is not the only country currently suffering from a hunger crisis. Hunger levels worldwide are at their highest in decades. Four countries, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, are at risk of famine.
  4. Somalia has been attempting to gain stability since the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991. The country has been slowly rebuilding itself, with the establishment of a transitional government in 2012 and the election of a new president on February 8.
  5. Somalia has an infant mortality rate of 13.7 percent, the third highest in the world. Malnutrition is largely to blame, according to UNICEF.

  1. The situation is worse in rural areas, as poor rainfalls have resulted in failing crops and water shortage. As a result, nearly three-quarters of the country’s livestock has died, which harms pastoralists’ livelihoods.
  2. The drought has reduced maize and sorghum harvests to about 25 percent of past averages. Food prices in Somalia have reached near record levels.
  3. Hunger in Somalia is also high among internally displaced populations (IDPs). Approximately 638,000 of the 1,200,000 IDPs in Somalia are struggling to feed themselves. IDPs are on the move and suffer from loss of income and reduced access to social services.
  4. Somalia has one of the world’s lowest school enrollment rates. Just 42 percent of children and 36 percent are girls are in school. The U.N. World Food Program operates a program that provides free school meals as a way to both improve attendance and address hunger in Somalia.
  5. “Humanitarian assistance has saved lives in the drought-affected north over the past year, but as the crisis spreads we have no time to lose,” Laurent Bukera, country director of the U.N. World Food Program told the U.N. News Service. The U.N. issued an appeal for 2017 for $864 million to provide assistance to Somalis. The U.N. World Food Program has also put together a $26 million assistance plan.

Hunger in Somalia has a detrimental impact on communities and future generations. The conflict hinders the country’s progress toward establishing stability. However, understanding the facts and conditions surrounding hunger in Somalia is an essential first step in becoming a part of the solution.

Alexi Worley

Photo: Flickr

Somali Refugees
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Somalia “remains the epicenter of one of the world’s largest displacement crises.” Of the approximately 11 million people living in Somalia, well over one million are internally displaced while another one million Somalis are registered as refugees in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Somali refugees have suffered the consequences of a “failed state,” enduring decades of political turmoil, severe drought and the presence of extremist groups.

Because Somalia is one of the countries specified in President Trump’s executive order regarding the immigration ban, it’s important to understand the implications of the country’s situation. Here are 10 facts about Somali refugees:

  1. Since 1991, when President Mohammed Siad Barre fled the country to make way for a power struggle between two warring clans, Somalia has lacked a stable government. Fighting among warlords and rebel groups has made it extremely difficult to restore peace in the country.
  2. It has been difficult to provide Somalia with the international aid that it needs. The country became so dangerous that the U.N. pulled its international aid workers from Somalia in 2001. In 2005, the U.N. World Food Program shipments to Somalia were stopped because they were being seized by rebel forces. Today, it is still difficult to ensure that aid shipments do not fall into the wrong hands.
  3. The total number of native-born Somalis living outside their country more than doubled between 1990 and 2015. The number increased from approximately 850,000 to two million.
  4. Today, there are close to 150,000 Somali immigrants and refugees living in the U.S., and under the Obama administration, nearly 43,000 Somali refugees came to the U.S.
  5. This decade, more than 260,000 people have died in Somalia as the result of severe drought, which has contributed to a lack of clean water and the disintegration of agriculture across the country. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs stated in a 2016 report that one in 12 Somalis struggles to meet their needs regarding food and water. The report also stated that approximately 305,000 children under the age of five were suffering from malnutrition.
  6. Somalia’s neighboring countries host the largest number of its refugees. According to data collected by the UNHCR, there are just under 330,000 Somali refugees registered in Kenya, 241,000 in Ethiopia and 255,000 in Yemen. Thousands more have found temporary living situations in Tanzania, Uganda, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  7. Dabaab, the largest refugee camp in the world, was home to more than half a million Somalis in 2015. The camp is located in northeastern Kenya and was initially set up as a temporary living situation for refugees fleeing conflict in Somalia and Sudan. Unfortunately for many, the camp has become more permanent. Refugees are often stuck in camps for several decades, unable to emigrate to another country or return to their own. Kenya now plans to close the camp as it has become a breeding ground for extremist groups.
  8. Islamist group Al-Shabaab has a strong presence in Somalia, initially gaining support by promising safety and security to citizens. Al-Shabaab’s credibility quickly declined due to violence and the denial of Western aid. Al-Shabaab’s presence in Somalia has contributed heavily to the refugee crisis, committing senseless acts of violence that contribute further to the chaos.
  9. According to the U.S. federal budget proposal for 2017, Somalia will receive $116.8 million in funding for security assistance and even less in humanitarian aid.
  10. Somali refugees around the world have been resettled and have succeeded in creating productive and successful lives in Western countries. Apart from the many Somalis living in the U.S., around 280,000 Somali immigrants live in European countries.

Somalia continues to be one of the most prominent sources of the world’s refugees, as it has been for several decades. The call for humanitarian assistance and the need for development in the country is at an all-time high, especially considering the possibility that, under the new administration, Somali refugees may not be allowed to enter the United States.

Peyton Jacobsen

Photo: Flickr