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How the UN World Food Program Endeavors to End Hunger Through Access

How the UN World Food Program Endeavors to End Hunger Through AccessAccording to the United Nations World Food Program, food production has risen to a point that enables the entire planet to be fed, even as the population is expected to grow. Yet, the world’s supply disproportionately meets the needs of all its inhabitants. Starvation kills more children in developing countries than some of the deadliest communicable diseases that are disseminating upon the impoverished. If the solution to starvation is not production than the solution must be to end hunger through access. The U.N. has put three plans into action based on this solution.

Warehouses of Hope

Warehouses of Hope is the U.N.’s first plan to end hunger through access. The former executive of the U.N. World Food Program, Josette Sheeran coined the phrase “Warehouses of Hope” which are essentially banks for food. The villages manage these banks. In addition, it can be unlocked with three different keys, entrusted to three different villagers. Although food assistance can help many people in many countries, food banks provide a more sustainable answer. Hundreds of villages have been able to independently provide for themselves and their children with these warehouses. The program is successful to the point that the villages established school feeding programs for the village children.

Lean season in developing countries is the time between harvests. It is when jobs, earnings and food all are in short supply. As a result, this can lead to severe cases of hunger and devastating effects on the community. The idea behind Warehouses of Hope is to take the food that is supplied in the banks out during the lean season. Additionally, the villager can put some of the food back during harvest with interest by adding 5-10% more to the warehouse. When the next lean season comes, the cycle repeats. the village can consistently end hunger through access.

One Meal in Exchange for Staying in School

The second plan to end hunger through access is One Meal in Exchange for Staying in School. School feeding programs have become much more of a priority in developing countries because it will set major advancements in motion towards reaching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While the program benefits are gaining more recognition, some communities face major obstacles in their ability to implement a school feeding program. The initiatives are costly. At the same time, in order for these programs to last, the communities need to be sure that they will be able to acquire local and consistent proportions of food.

In addition to supplying food, the children will benefit far more if interventions were put in place such as deworming. In addition, assuring that each child receives a proper amount of micronutrients in their meals will greatly benefit them. This will enhance children’s cognitive development. Moreover, the U.N. found that by offering one meal a day to children at school in developing countries, the enrollment escalated significantly, especially in young girls. Not only did it encourage attendance while providing crucial nutrition to these girls but it prolonged the span of their education. The program also decreased child marriage and nourished those who were pregnant. This will in turn decrease the risks of malnourished babies and concerning developmental consequences.

Digital Food

Digitial is the third plan of U.N.’s solution to end hunger through access. When food is available, the prices will rise. Consequently, this can still lead to scarcity amongst families in developing countries. The U.N.’s digital food cards replace the usual methods of food aid. Instead, it enables low-income families to go into regional markets and purchase nine items with the swipe of a card. Each purchase must be a locally produced and nutritious food item. These cards have created a significant rise in the dairy industry and a boost in local employment opportunities at shops and markets.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides us with a foundational understanding of the incapacitating effects of hunger. It very much foretells a globally dim future as hunger continues to plague society. Imagine a world where peace, security and stability allow the underserved to thrive. Without a human’s basic needs being met, that solidity will remain wishful thinking.

Amy Schlagel

Photo: Flickr