Who Are The Hungry?
Most of the world’s hungry live in developing countries. According to the latest Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics, there are 870 million hungry people in the world and 98 percent of them are in developing countries. They are distributed like this:
- 578 million in Asia and the Pacific
- 239 million in Sub-Saharan Africa
- 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean
- 37 million in the Near East and North Africa
- 19 million in developed countries
What Causes Hunger?
- Nature – natural disasters, famine, and climate change are major contributors to unstable food supply.
- War – sporadic access to food sources, displacement and submission through starvation are all ways conflict can lead to hunger.
- Poverty Trap – those in poverty do not have enough money to either buy or produce food for themselves and their families. Because they are under nourished they tend to be weaker and unable to produce enough to buy more food. Ultimately the poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in this position.
- Agricultural Output – By improving agricultural output in the long-run there is a good chance to improve access to food. Unfortunately many developing countries are not improving their agricultural infrastructure opting instead to focus on urban development. Without supply roads, warehouses, irrigation and support for farmers it is much more difficult to create food security.
- Over-exploiting Environment - Poor farming practices, deforestation, overcropping and overgrazing are exhausting the Earth’s fertility and spreading the roots of hunger. Increasingly, the world’s fertile farmland is under threat from erosion, salination and desertification.
Programs such as the World Food Programme are working to feed the world’s most vulnerable populations. They do this many ways including school food programs such as in Bolivia. In the United States the school lunch program was started by President Harry S. Truman in 1946 as a measure of national security. He created the program after reading a study that revealed many men were rejected from the draft in World War Two because they had medical conditions related to malnutrition as children. More than 180 million lunches have been served to American school children since that time. In the 1960′s the program expanded to include breakfast and summer meal programs for low-income children. This initiative and more like it are helping bring the same stability and opportunity to children around the world.
The World Food Programme is offering a unique way to become connected with the children who will be benefiting from this new program. Too often the face of need is maligned by donation asks and sad infomercials. Instead send a student a question and get to know him or her! Questions will be selected, translated to Spanish and emailed back to the original person who asked. Ask your question here. What a great way to see how food can affect someones life!
I am writing this post as a member of Mom Bloggers Global Team of 200 Moms for Social Good. I will be blogging about social justice issues regularly for the next year. I am not compensated in any way for this post.