BOMA Project

According to the U.N., the majority of people living in extreme poverty are women. This unfortunate reality is commonly referred to as the “Feminization of Poverty.” Lack of resources, education and income for women are among the various reasons this phenomenon exists. However, organizations like The BOMA Project are fighting to end this gender disparity among the world’s poor by empowering women in poverty.

The BOMA Project is a U.S. non-profit organization as well as a Kenyan NGO. The organization was recently chosen to receive a prestigious grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Notably, the organization seeks to help impoverished women in drought-prone areas. The BOMA Project is currently operating in two Kenyan counties: Marsabit and Samburu. Both of these areas suffer from arid climates that make it difficult for their residents to thrive.

The BOMA Project’s two-year program is known as the Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP). This program empowers and educates women to sustain small businesses.

The organization states that REAP, “replaces aid with sustainable income and helps women ‘graduate’ from extreme poverty by giving them the tools they need to start small businesses in their communities.”

REAP is accomplished through five major phases:

  1. Targeting the most vulnerable women within communities using a wealth ranking system.
  2. Assigning village mentors who assist in writing business plans as well as visit monthly over the two-year period.
  3. Providing two installments of grants to help women acquire the necessary resources to start their businesses.
  4. Training women how to run their businesses successfully.
  5. Forming savings associations comprised of 3 to 4 other BOMA businesses.

The BOMA Project also teaches women how to keep track of daily budgets, be secure during unexpected shocks and save for future purchases. This all-encompassing system has been the foundation of the organization’s success since its beginnings in 2009.

Since then, 9,432 women have enrolled in the program. Of the women who have already completed their two-year training, 93 percent are no longer living in extreme poverty (according to the organization’s criteria) and 98 percent now have savings.

While these numbers are promising, The BOMA Project is aiming to expand its reach, helping 100,000 women and children by 2018 and 1 million by 2021.

Saroja Koneru

Photo: Flickr

How to Solve World Hunger

In 2010, former World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Josette Sheeran boldly stated, “We can end hunger. Many hungry nations have defeated hunger. It doesn’t require some new scientific breakthrough. It’s not rocket science.” Sheeran’s proposal on how to solve world hunger in 10 steps is still relevant today:

  1. Humanitarian action: Natural disaster impacts the world annually. According to World Vision, in 2015, the worst natural disasters recorded were (i) An earthquake — Nepal, (ii) A flood — Chennai, India, (iii) A heat wave — southern India, (iv) Typhoon and monsoon rains — Myanmar, Bangladesh and India (v) Floods — Malawi and Mozambique and (vi) A drought — Ethiopia. In 2016, the American Red Cross and other organizations are still providing direct relief for the survivors. Sheeran advocates for volunteerism in communities affected by natural disasters to help with relief and reduce world hunger.
  2. School meals: This is an affordable approach to promoting development and reducing malnutrition. Individuals can donate online to organizations that provide school meals or they can provide direct relief.
  3. Safety nets: A “safety net” is comparable to a backup plan for when natural disasters strike. For example, the Red Cross is considered a safety net based upon their annual direct relief efforts. Safety nets should be linked to schools and farmers in case of an emergency such as a famine or flood.
  4. Connect small farmers to markets: According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), small farmers produce 80 percent of the world’s food supply. However, the majority barely make enough income to survive. By connecting small farmers to markets, they can increase their income potential and learn best practices such as drip irrigation and soil tillage.
  5. Nourish children during their first 1,000 days: The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are the most important for development and growth. Nourishing children is an investment that can help to increase trade and expand job creation.
  6. Empower women: Women in South America and Asia are more likely to go hungry than men. When hunger affects women, hunger affects children. Women make up the majority of agricultural manual workers, therefore empowering women creates greater food security for the entire household.
  7. Technology revolution: Iraq refugees began to use text messages on mobile phones in 2010 as a means to get food by WFP food vouchers saving money and travel time. Now, refugees do not have to journey to a distribution center and return with over a month’s worth of food.
  8. Build resiliency: Hunger is highly correlated with disaster. According to the WFP, “It is essential to help build the resiliency of vulnerable communities so that when emergencies strike, they are strong enough to cope.” The organization provides disaster relief for over 80 million people in over 60 different countries.
  9. Make a difference as an individual: Social media is booming in today’s world. Anyone can help bring awareness to global hunger by accessing these tools. For example, people can tweet, Instagram or Facebook post about their favorite global poverty awareness organizations to get their friends to donate. Awareness is a powerful first step to solving world hunger.
  10. Show leadership: WFP honored President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as a “Global Champion for the Fight Against Hunger” award. “President Lula has shown leadership in the fight against hunger by pushing the needs of the poor and the undernourished to the very top of the international agenda,” stated Sheeran.The above steps provide an excellent guideline on how to solve world hunger. The WFP continues to encourage individuals and organizations globally to take a stand now in order to end the hunger crisis for future generations.

  • Rachel Hutchinson


Young Entrepreneurs

The future of poverty and hunger alleviation may rest in the hands of today’s youth. Young entrepreneurs embarking into the business world have immense power in aiding those in need. Creative thinkers and digital-savvy youth have unique skills and ideas that may give them an advantage in giving back.

In an article recently published by The Huffington Post, it was found that many of the world’s hunger-aiding programs were inspired or founded by the youth of today. Young entrepreneurs are starting programs such as “The Future Isn’t Hungry” and “3B Brae’s Brown Bags” to counter national poverty in the United States, with many working to expand internationally.

Three young entrepreneurs, Jake Harriman, Beth Schmidt and Leila Janah, have already made their mark in the fight against poverty. While Harriman’s NGO works to end world hunger, Schmidt’s organization is reducing poverty by helping people living in poverty have better access to college. Janah’s company works with American companies to crowdsource staff from developing countries, providing countless people with jobs to lift them out of poverty.

All three of these entrepreneurs recognized a call for action and drastically changed their lives to help give everyone a fighting chance. These are just a few of today’s young entrepreneurs using their skills to combat poverty and hunger.

In a report published by the Overseas Development Institute, it was stated that teaming young entrepreneurs with volunteers between the ages of 18 and 25 can combat unemployment around the world. Volunteering abroad can help young business owners acquire new skills and knowledge to better understand the developing world. In turn, volunteers working with business people can help them gain a better understanding of business tactics that they can apply to the volunteer work they do internationally.

The study uncovered a positive correlation between young entrepreneurs volunteering or working abroad and the development of skills necessary to end poverty. Volunteers and entrepreneurs worked in countries, such as Tanzania and Nicaragua, where their skills and businesses were put to the test. In the end, both the entrepreneurs and the citizens of these countries benefited in the study.

The initiative to increase the number of entrepreneurs working to give back has already begun and is continuing to grow. In Africa alone, multiple NGOs are working to unleash the continent’s untapped potential through educational, microfinance and health nonprofits. And many of these are run by or work with young entrepreneurs. Jake Harriman’s goal, along with the world’s young business people who are following in his footsteps, is to alleviate poverty by 2030.

Julia Hettiger

Photo:  Flickr

David BowieDavid Bowie was unique among famous figures. Not only was he a superstar in the music world, he was also a superstar in the world of helping the hungry, sick and poor. His death in January 2016 came as a blow to both worlds.

David Bowie’s charity work involved supporting causes related to disadvantaged children and youth, human rights, poverty and hunger, women’s issues, disaster relief and AIDS relief/reduction.

According to Look to the Stars, David Bowie took part in many charity activities, including 21st Century Leaders/Whatever It Takes, Every Mother Counts, Keep a Child Alive, Save the Children, the Lunchbox Fund and War Child.

According to their website, 21st Century Leaders is a nonprofit foundation with the mission of influencing well-known people “to raise awareness and funds for international development causes, thereby leading the way in promoting positive environmental and sustainable human development solutions.” David Bowie was one of their leaders.

Whatever It Takes is a project through which artists donate artwork or sign products to raise money to fund global development causes, including environmental protection, the alleviation of poverty and the provision of child services. Bowie designed a plate for Whatever It Takes.

Every Mother Counts is devoted to making pregnancy and birth safe for every woman. Bowie donated a song to their cause, which raises money to help maternal and childcare programs all over the world.

Bowie also performed songs for Keep a Child Alive, a nonprofit organization with the mission “to realize the end of AIDS for children and families, by combating the physical, social and economic impacts of HIV,” according to its website. The organization works in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and India, helping 70,000 people a year.

Bowie also contributed to Save the Children and the Lunchbox Fund. In 2014, Save the Children worked in 120 countries and helped 166 million children. The Lunchbox Fund is a nonprofit organization focusing on “education via nutrition by providing a daily meal for orphaned and at-risk school children in township and rural areas of South Africa,” according to its website. The lunchboxes simply provide a meal to a child who goes to school, offering an incentive to stay in school.

David Bowie donated songs to albums for War Child. War Child is an organization that “works toward a world in which no child’s life is torn apart by war,” as stated on its website. The group has helped almost 100,000 children and adults directly and 500,000 indirectly.

Through these charities alone, David Bowie’s charity legacy lives on and continues to have an effect.

Rhonda Marrone

Sources: Look to the Stars, 21 Century Leaders, Whatever it Takes, Every Mother Counts, Keep Child Alive, Save the Children, The Lunchbox Fund, War Child
Photo: The Imaginative Conservative

World Hunger Action Month
Established five years ago, World Hunger Action Month has been an international holiday aimed at raising awareness and inspiring people to donate to one of the several causes on World Food Day.

This holiday takes places throughout the month of October with World Food Day occurring on Oct. 16, 2015; in the spirit of this holiday, the list below describes several prominent organizations for those who are inclined to donate:

  1. World Food Programme – The World Food Programme was created in 1961 as part of the UN in order to aid countries susceptible to malnutrition. Its mission is to create a world where one has access to his or her daily needs at all times. Operating with sister agencies in Rome, the UN and with NGO partners, the WFP routinely affects more than 80 million in 75 countries with food assistance.
  2. UNICEF – Originally founded in 1946 to aid post-war countries, by 1954 its mandate adopted the needs of children who also lived in the developing world. Today, working in roughly 190 countries, UNICEF provides nutrition, safe water, sanitation and immunization to the world’s extreme poor; approximately 90 percent of revenue goes straight to the programs it supports.
  3. Stop Hunger Now – Stop Hunger Now is a relatively new foundation that began in 1998; despite this, the organization has since become a major influence by providing more than 180 meals to recipients in 65 countries.
  4. Action Against Hunger – This is a highly rated organization. The effects of this charity can be seen in more than 45 countries, and it aids around 13 million people annually. Reportedly, for every dollar, 93 cents are invested in relief programs.
  5. Freedom from Hunger – Freedom from Hunger is a longstanding organization focusing its efforts strictly where poverty and hunger are paramount issues. Today this organization reaches 24 countries across the world.
  6. Save the Children – Beginning in 1919, Save the Children was founded by Eglanyne Jebb to assist war-torn Europe. After the Second World War, its revitalization then spread from continent to continent, ceaselessly expanding even through today with the undertaking of the Millennium Development goals.
  7. FHI – Food for the Hunger International Federation began in 1971 founded by Dr. Larry Ward; it was not registered as an international NGO until 1987 in Geneva.The FHI provides various services depending on the need of the locals, yet focuses on health (including nutrition), sanitary water and agriculture.
  8. Hunger Project – The Hunger Project is an innovative organization that attempts to empower men and women in rural regions to become self-reliant and sustain their own development.Its work has reached 24,000 communities, affecting roughly 20.6 million individuals.
  9. Bread for the World – This organization produces change by advocacy. Bread for the World was founded in 1974 and reaches out to elected officials through letters in order to produce responses among the congressional leadership.
  10. Heifer International – Established in 1944, this organization provides livestock and training to those in poverty in order to break the cyclic struggle to access food.

Emilio Rivera

Sources: WFP, UNICEF, Stop Hunger Now, Action Against Hunger, Freedom from Hunger, Save the Children, FHIF, THP, Bread, Heifer International
Photo: Flickr

The United Nations has called for the end of world hunger by 2030 in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In Goal 2, of 17, the UN outlines the need for the promotion of sustainable agriculture that will improve food security and nutrition while protecting the ecosystem and fighting climate change. Although a tall order, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) along with the Austrian think tank, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, believes that the goal is attainable.

“I don’t think it’s all that ambitious to eliminate hunger,” said Jomo Sundaram, assistant director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). He told Reuters he attributes his optimism to rising incomes in much of the world, improvements in the transportation of food, and new technologies that are keeping yields of many key crops on an upward trend.

But in order to achieve the goal of eliminating world hunger, food waste and the inefficiencies of the livestock industry need to be addressed.

Despite the fact that there is currently enough food produced globally to end world hunger, much loss and waste occur postharvest. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), about 24 percent of all calories currently produced for human consumption are either lost or wasted.

The WRI reports that by reducing postharvest losses there will be more food available to farmers and communities, making food more affordable and accessible to the poor and food insecure. This can be done, the group states, through attainable solutions for developing nations such as pest-resistant packaging and cooling-cellar storage.

Changing dietary habits is another important solution to ending global hunger, particularly shifting from raising cattle as a source of protein to growing fruit, grain, and vegetables. According to the FAO, the amount of human-edible protein that goes into raising livestock is higher than the human-edible protein yielded from livestock. The group estimates that 26 percent of the world’s land that is being used for livestock grazing could produce better and more nutritionally valuable yields if converted to growing plant-based food for human consumption.

In addition to increasing the yield of protein-rich crops, reducing the number of grazing livestock, particularly cows, will also lower annual greenhouse gas emissions. According to the FAO, “Livestock contributes both directly and indirectly to climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.” The FAO estimates that 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock.

By implementing better waste prevention systems and simply eating less meat from grazing animals, the fight against global food insecurity could indeed be attainable.

Claire Colby

Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization 1, Food and Agriculture Organization 2, Huffpost Impact, The Physics Factbook, The World Bank, The World Factbook 1, The World Factbook 2, The World Factbook 3, World Resources Institute
Photo: fao

In 2013, the United Nations reported that eating insects could reduce world hunger and food insecurity.

Eva Muller, a Director of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says, “Insects are not harmful to eat, quite the contrary. They are nutritious, they have a lot of protein and are considered a delicacy in many countries.”

In fact, scientists have discovered over 1,900 edible insects. Some of these include beetles, wasps, caterpillars, grasshoppers, worms and cicadas. Scientists also claim that insects have more protein than beef and other meats.

Insects may also be better for farming than pigs and cows. Not only are insects easier to raise, but they also require less water, feed on waste materials, and produce less greenhouse gasses than cows and pigs. Insect farming could even provide income-generating opportunities for people in rural areas, which ultimately could decrease poverty and end world hunger.

After the report was published, Muller said, “Consumer disgust remains one of the largest barriers to the adoption of insects as viable sources of protein in many Western countries.”

Recently, however, eating insects has gained more popularity.

Daniella Martin, author of the blog Girl Meets Bug, says, “At any angle you look at it, insects have the advantage. They’re ecologically sustainable, use fewer resources and are a high-protein option. It’s also cleaner than livestock.”

Insect recipes are proving to be incredibly trendy, but most importantly, accepted by consumers.

With this in mind, perhaps more researchers can perfect technologies to grow insects in large numbers to feed people all around the world.

Bugs can do more than save the lives of the hungry, but can also conserve our planet.

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: Armenpress, Business Insider 1, Business Insider 2,
Photo: BugsFeed

usa food wasteWhat’s the number one risk to worldwide health? The answer may surprise you–it’s not AIDS or malaria, but hunger and malnutrition. One in nine people in the world do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. And yet, in countries like the United States, there remains a shocking excess and waste of food products that could be used to feed millions around the globe. As people become increasingly conscious about recycling and the environment, they should also take a moment to turn their attention to how much they put on their plates. The following points are seven eye-opening facts that shed light on just how extensive the problem of American food waste is.

1. Let’s Talk Calories

The volume of American annual food waste might be better understood in terms of calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that each year, a staggering 141 trillion calories are gone unconsumed. This is equivalent to around 1,300 calories per capita, per day. This is approximately the number of calories consumed by a small adult or child in a day, meaning that these wasted calories could go toward nourishing several hungry people.

2. Just How Much Food Is 141 Trillion Calories?

Not everyone likes to count calories, and even fewer know what exactly a calorie is. To put it in different terms, over a third of the entire U.S. annual food supply is wasted, a total of 133 billion pounds. That equals more than 20 pounds of food per person per month. Most everyone knows what pounds are, and that’s a lot of them.

3. Americans Waste Some Foods More Than Others

According to the USDA, the top three kinds of food thrown away in 2010 were dairy (25 billion pounds), vegetables (25 billion pounds) and grains (18.5 billion pounds). These are three of the essential food groups on the food pyramid.

4. The U.S. Navy Throws Away What It Can’t Fit In Its Boats

The government provides the brave men and women of the U.S. Navy with the food and drink necessary to make their sea excursions bearable, but sometimes it isn’t possible to get all the food that is given to them into the storage space of their vessels, which are often very small. One might suppose that when this happens the food is donated to a local homeless shelter or food bank.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Because the U.S. government could be held liable for any sickness that might result from the consumption of a donated food product, the Navy is forced instead to throw surplus provisions away. The extra microwave pizzas and cereal pouches might not seem like much, but this wasted food could be used to feed a family in need.

5. Americans Throw Out More Food Than Pretty Much Anything Else

Food waste makes up over a fifth of American garbage, and half of the waste accumulates at landfills. America tosses more food into the trash than paper, plastic, metal or glass—with 5 million tons as the smallest discrepancy.

6. Food Waste Hurts The Environment

The aforementioned landfills are filled with decomposing organic waste that produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide. These landfills are the largest producer of methane emissions in the United States, making up almost a quarter of the total emissions, according to the NRDC.

7. On the Bright Side…

The amount of food wasted, not only by the United States but by other nations as well, suggests that alleviating world hunger isn’t a matter of producing more food. Instead, it is a matter of better managing the food that is already produced, by preserving it and distributing it more thoroughly. There is enough food to feed all 7 billion people in the world. It just needs to get to put in mouths instead of in the trash.

Katharine Pickle

Sources: NPR, Washington Post
Photo: Wikimedia Commons


1.76 billion tons of food is wasted globally each year. Food waste is caused by buying or preparing more food than necessary, and not cooking or eating food purchases at all.

To solve this problem and to alleviate world hunger, a group of Swedish master students created FoPo Food Powder. The product is created by turning cheap, nearly expired produce into powder form. By freeze-drying the food, pressure is lowered and water is removed, which results in longer-lasting nutrition in powder form.

Team members Kent Ngo, Gerald Marin, Vita Jarolimkova, Lizzie Cabisidan and Ada Balazy hope that their discovery can help end world hunger and minimize food waste.

The team has three objectives: reduce food waste by turning it into an innovative food product that can be used by people all over the world; extend shelf life while preserving all the nutritional properties and taste; give ugly and expiring food a chance.

“We are not into using a new product or new technology, but creating value out of the inefficiency of the food system,” Marian says.

So far, the powder comes in three flavors: banana, raspberry and mango. The powder retains 30-80% of its nutritional value and can be topped on yogurt and ice cream, baked into recipes, and blended into smoothies.

FoPo Food Powder also offers benefits for food producers and retailers. They can donate or sell their unsellable food, buy FoPo and incorporate it into their recipes, and sell FoPo for a source of good nutrition without additives.

Even further, FoPo offers hope for disaster relief, military and space needs, and providing nutrition to impoverished locations.

Since beginning their project in December 2014, the team has discovered that powdered food is becoming more accepted by consumers, and freeze-drying preserves nutritional value better than other techniques.

FoPo won the Ben & Jerry’s Join Our Core crowd-funding and placed runner-up for Thought For Food Summit, a challenge that helps students with projects to make the world a better place. Currently, FoPo is a finalist for MassChallenge, a community that helps early-stage entrepreneurs with their projects.

FoPo also receives support from both the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the Philippines. They are currently launching a test run in natural disaster areas of the Philippines. Local farmers near the test sights will also be donating fruits such as pineapples and mangoes to the trial run.

The team continues to raise awareness and money about their product. With funds, they can find a manufacturer, acquire legal advice and perform further safety testing.

The team hopes to sell to grocery stores and online to big manufacturers in the near future. They also hope to create more flavors of FoPo, see more consumers interested in their product, and feed 9 billion people healthy and nutritious food produced from wasted food.

Kelsey Parrotte

Sources: FoPo Food Powder, Mashable, Mother Jones
Photo: FoPo Food Powder

The U.N. released its latest annual report on world hunger this week with some encouraging results: the number of chronically hungry people in the world has been reduced by 216 million since 1990.

That still leaves 795 million hungry today. However, considering the world’s rapidly growing population, a decrease in hundreds of millions of hungry people is a testament to the continued success of anti-hunger measures worldwide.

These measures are included as part of the U.N.’s eight Millennium Development Goals. The first goal seeks to “halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.”

According to the report, 72 of 129 nations monitored by the U.N. have met this goal. Progress was greatest in Latin America and parts of Asia.

Success in hunger reduction has been attributed to three important developments, the report states. They include: improved agricultural productivity, economic growth and the expansion of social protection.

Agricultural productivity and economic growth are both driven by investments in education and technology. In China, rapid economic growth was responsible for decreasing an enormous number of hungry people.

However, the report found inequality to be partly responsible for global hunger, which is why economic growth must be inclusive. Growth must also be harnessed into social protection programs, which have kept 150 million people from extreme poverty, according to the report.

In a press release, Executive Director of the World Food Programme Erthain Cousin stated, “healthy bodies and minds are fundamental to both individual and economic growth, and that growth must be inclusive for us to make hunger history.”

While these gains are noteworthy, problems still continue in sub-Saharan Africa and India.The report says almost one in four people go hungry in Sub-Saharan Africa each year. India, meanwhile, has the most hungry people in total. An estimated 194.6 million Indians suffer from undernourishment.

This leaves more work to be done.

In a press release, José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, urged the world to continue its progress. “We must be the Zero Hunger generation,” the director said. “That goal should be mainstreamed into all policy interventions and at the heart of the new sustainable development agenda to be established this year.”

The report, titled “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015,” was produced by three related U.N. agencies: the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme.

– Kevin McLaughlin

Sources: International Business Times, FAO 1, FAO 2, U.N.
Photo: Applied Unificationism