Poverty in Bangladesh
Between 2000 and 2016, Bangladesh lifted 8 million people out of poverty. According to a World Bank report, the rate of poverty in Bangladesh went from 44.2% to 13.8% between 1991 and 2017. Improvements include increased life expectancy and nutrition, easier access to electricity, safer water and sanitation and broad-based expansion in education that is accessible to more than 164 million people. The road to ending poverty in Bangladesh is a challenging one, but the country and several organizations are making efforts to accomplish this.

History of Poverty in Bangladesh

About 61% of the country is rural while 39% of the population is urban. The urban regions experienced their turnaround from poverty at a slower pace than the rural regions with the help of industrial services, which resulted in solving the problems quicker and better for those living in the urban regions. Despite the 1:4 ratio of people still suffering from poverty, the progress has been remarkable. In fact, Bangladesh’s rural areas experienced a 90% decrease in poverty.

With the improvements that the country has made toward ending poverty in Bangladesh, the nation’s finance minister Mustafa Kamal has announced that the nation should expect to be poverty-free by 2030. With plans to improve more vulnerable, urban areas, the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) have been key contributors in investing to rebuild the nation by creating 10 million jobs over the next decade. SEZs are areas in a country that is subject to economic regulations that differ from other regions in the same country. For instance, since the urban regions have a slower rebuilding process than the rural, that means that they may be more favorable towards the urban region which has not caught up to the rural region in terms of progress, despite the improvement regarding poverty. With job creation on its agenda, Bangladesh could earn $100 billion in remittance from now until the deadline to wipe out poverty, which equals $1 trillion.

Pizza Hut and KFC

To make matters better, corporate food chains Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken have formed a partnership to launch a campaign called the World Hunger Relief, which supports the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). Founded in 2009, the WFP not only raises funds to provide vitamin and mineral fortified biscuits among other snacks to children in small rural areas, but it also promotes the importance of basic education to help others rise from poverty in the long run.

Yum Incorporated owns Pizza Hut and KFC and has been using its network to raise awareness in the hopes of making a difference on top of the improvements that Bangladesh has made independently. Its success rate has included reaching more than 4 million children and calling for customers of the respective food chains to make a contribution. This campaign will be a key asset to ending poverty in Bangladesh by the start of the next decade and preventing it from returning.

The Investment Component for Vulnerable Group Development (ICVGD) Program

The WFP has also partnered with the Bangladeshi government to help women break away from their gender roles through livelihood training and food assistance programs. The Investment Component for Vulnerable Group Development (ICVGD) program’s participants come from all 64 districts of the country, which tend to be remote areas where natural disasters are likely to occur. The implementation of this program received positive feedback after improving food security, income and diet variation in those districts.

The organization is now bringing focus to financial management, life skills and personal hygiene. There is a training period where the women will receive a grant of $180, as well as fortified rice as their rations. The ICVGD is part of the Vulnerable Group Development program that the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs runs, which boasts the largest safety net to aid poor women and children across the country.

Tom Cintula
Photo: Flickr

World Hunger Relief farming
World Hunger Relief is a nonprofit organization that has dedicated itself to lessening food insecurity and malnutrition through community development and sustainable agriculture. Since its inception in 1976, the Waco, Texas-based nonprofit has educated individuals on sustainable agricultural development. Additionally, World Hunger Relief has international partnerships in Liberia and El Salvador. By using sustainable agriculture to alleviate food insecurity and malnutrition, the nonprofit is improving livelihoods and helping reduce poverty in some of the poorest countries in the world.

International Partnerships

World Hunger Relief trains interns from across the world how to produce and maintain a sustainable farm. The hands-on approach is especially beneficial for those that come from countries where subsistence farming is a popular occupation, such as Liberia. Job Carpenter is one intern from Liberia that visited the Waco, Texas farm in 2013 and used what he learned about sustainable agriculture systems for his current occupation.

Carpenter is the agricultural director at Ricks Institute, which is one of World Hunger Relief’s international partners. At Ricks Institute, Carpenter helped strengthen food security for the local school in Liberia and the surrounding community. Student health also increased through the efforts of Ricks Institute. Liberia, for reference, has a poverty rate of about 50 percent. More than 60 percent of Liberians are farmers, so the nonprofit’s outreach in Liberia potentially helps many locals who are malnourished and in poverty.

Local Work Goes Global

In addition to international endeavors, World Hunger Relief works locally in Waco. The 40-acre farm near Lacy Lakeview uses organic insecticides and fertilizers. Cover crops are another method to control pests, erosion and weeds. To complete the cycle, the farm uses compost from farm animals not only as fertilizer but also as a way to reduce diseases and pollution, improve the soil structure and increase soil nutrients. It was at the farm in Waco, Texas that Nicodemus Emus learned sustainable farming. Emus interned at the farm and brought his knowledge of sustainable agriculture back to Nairobi, Kenya. There, he began his own sustainable farm. So far, there have been more than 360 interns covering 20 countries at the World Hunger Relief farm.

The farm includes crops such as pumpkins, okra, beans, squash and cucumbers. It also teaches animal husbandry, particularly techniques in raising animals with little resources available. Goats, rabbits and hogs are among the animals on the farm. On working and living on the farm in a team of interns and various full-time members, Garden Manager Gala Gerber said, “We can see that we can make a difference together.”

The Ultimate Goal

World Hunger Relief continues to achieve its goals of alleviating food insecurity and malnutrition through its efforts on its farm and through international partnerships. One reason why world hunger has declined from 32.6 percent in 2000 to 22.2 percent in 2018 is the combined efforts of nonprofits, governments and other organizations. World hunger is declining, though people can do more. The United Nations proposed ending world hunger by 2030. More organizations are working together in order to accomplish this goal.

Lucas Schmidt
Photo: Flickr

State of International Food Insecurity
World hunger and food insecurity are on the rise. Food insecurity is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life” — the number of malnourished people grew from 777 million people to 815 million in 2016.

State of International Food Insecurity

The world population is projected to rise to around 10 billion people by 2050, and according to the U.N.’s “Sustainable Development Goal 2,” food production needs to grow by 50 percent for everyone to have enough food to survive on a day-to-day basis. It was estimated that global food insecurity had declined over the last decade — so why is it slowly growing now?

While food insecurity is a difficult and complex situation to solve, there are several factors that created the current state of hunger and malnutrition of society.

Why Has Global Food Insecurity Increased?

In 2017, there were a number of famine incidents that struck parts of South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen. Al Jazeera, a global news network that covers news in the Middle East, reported that nearly two million Nigerians have been displaced, and “Northeast Nigeria now faces one of the world’s worst food security crises, with around 3.8 million people who will face critical food insecurity and around 7.7 million in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance this year” due to Boko Haram attacks in the region. Violent conflicts around the world have also created a shortage in food production and availability for those hit hardest by food security issues.

The state of international food insecurity is not an optimistic one, but it does require action. Groups such as the United Nations World Food Programme and the Zero Hunger initiative fight to provide much-needed assistance to those living in the hardest-hit areas. Much of their work to help worldwide food security consists of coordinating efforts between governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), corporations and individuals.

Aid Organizations and Opportunities

On-the-ground groups such as the Lutheran World Relief focus on bringing water to communities while building cheap irrigation systems that provide water for crops and livestock. Another organization, the World Hunger Relief, Inc., focuses on teaching communities sustainable farming techniques and bringing vegetables to communities in food deserts. There is also work done out-of-country to help fight global hunger.

The Borgen Project works to influence policy in the U.S. so that aid can be given to those in need at a lower cost and quicker rate. The combination of overseas organizations and on-the-ground efforts has proved to be important in fighting hunger worldwide. But even if one doesn’t have time to join an organization to fight world hunger, there are many things every individual can do to help.

Some ways include: volunteering at food drives that aim to send food abroad or to communities in-need, donating to a local food bank, signing up to help sort food within food banks or food drives or writing to, emailing or calling elected officials to support food aid reform.

The Importance of Everyday Effort

The Borgen Project uses the latter strategy to facilitate policy changes over the years that make aid to foreign countries an easier task for the U.S. Even taking a few minutes out of a day to write an article or two about world hunger can raise awareness and help stop the tide of food insecurity.

All in all, today’s world has a growing population still facing the problem of global food insecurity. With the state of international food insecurity at risk, it is up to us as a society to step up and help others have a secure food source.

– Michael Huang
Photo: Flickr

In 2007, Yum! Brands Inc., the world’s largest fast food restaurant, created the World Hunger Relief program. Using its nearly 40,000 stores and 1.5 million employees, Yum! Brands Inc. leads the most expansive private sector hunger relief effort. The World Hunger Relief and international superstar Christina Aguilera are teaming up to help save the nearly 1 billion people around the world who are hungry.

Consisting of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurant chains, the company uses its network to raise awareness and funds in order to benefit the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) that reaches more than 90 million people worldwide. Since its inception, the World Hunger Relief program has raised over $150 million for the WFP and other hunger relief organizations, breaking their annual donation record every year. Every one-dollar that’s donated provides four meals for hungry children at school.

In 2012, the World Hunger Relief provided 132 million meals in more than 45 countries. This was attributed to the record-breaking $33 million raised by the program.
The World Hunger Relief takes advantage of Yum! Brands Inc.’s huge employee base that enlists friends and family to volunteer for hunger relief efforts. Together, they have logged millions of volunteer hours in communities around the world.

The aid provided to emergency operations conducted by the WFP has helped thousands of men, women, and children. Other achievements of the World Hunger Relief include:

• Directed $1.5 million to relief funds in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan

• Providing assistance so that a school feeding program in Ethiopia, reaching 438,000 primary school age children, can continue for one year

• Those affected by floods in Bolivia were given fortified meals for one month

• Those affected by civil conflict in Somalia were provided fortified meals for one month

• Provided 132,000 people affected by floods with fortified meals for one month

• After a major earthquake in Peru, 80,000 survivors were provided with rice for one month

• Following Cyclone Sidr, victims in Bangladesh were provided with fortified meals for one month

– Sunny Bhatt

Sources: Hunger to Hope, Business Wire, World Food Programme
Photo: BGR