I wish that I could begin writing this on a lighter note, but the truth is that hunger affects an estimated 815 million people worldwide and it’s a crisis that has only gotten worse in recent years. When I hear that I think of three things. First, I am sad for all those people that go to sleep hungry or don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Secondly, I understand that there are region-specific challenges that add up to create the global crisis. The third and final thought I have is that I am so thankful for the organizations that are providing solutions to those challenges so that fewer people have to go hungry every day.
There are so many examples of how Global Impact charity partners help feed malnourished families and, more importantly, collaborate with communities for sustained nourishment even after the charity is gone. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how different charities are responding to hunger in four countries around the world: Philippines, Haiti, Cambodia and Ukraine. Each country has unique challenges matched with customized efforts within its borders to ultimately diminish the hunger crisis globally.
Philippines: World Food Program USA
At a humble elementary school in Talisawa, the students often came in with low energy from hunger. Many were malnourished and only had one meal per day: lunch at school. In the region, nearly half of the children have stunted growth. Long-standing conflict, increased natural disasters and complications from the COVID-19 pandemic all got in the way of children returning to school.
In response, World Food Program (WFP) partnered up with the local government and parents last year to organize and serve warm, locally sourced meals to the children. This is how the pilot program works: WFP works closely with the government to source produce and protein from local farmers. Then, parents volunteer in shifts to cook warm, nutrient dense meals based on the weekly menus created by health workers and nutritionists.
“It’s a win-win situation. Sourcing food locally means that children can enjoy healthy, sustainable meals, while farmers here can rely on an additional – and dependable – source of income, with the government buying their produce.”
– Brenda Barton, WFP Country Director in the Philippines
Since the pilot program launched and COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, teachers noticed that students were motivated to attend for the guaranteed meal and were much more engaged in their lessons now that they have enough energy.
Haiti: Food For The Poor
The civil unrest in Haiti caused blockades that forced Food For The Poor to shut down for two weeks in October of last year. After that, the charity knew they needed to move fast to reach the hungry families once they were operational again. Especially because the conflict caused many of the families to be displaced in a country that already had so many challenges following the 2021 earthquake.
Through Food For The Poor’s partnerships with 66 churches and 13 organizations in Haiti, they were able to rush aid in the form of food. The partners oversaw distribution of 8,078 bags of rice, 1,226 bags of beans and 841 bags of MannaPack rice meals. Haiti continues to face conflict, disasters and poverty. But Global Impact charities like Food For The Poor are there to meet immediate needs like the desperate hunger described above. And they are also able to shift focus to long term solutions, working with the communities to make sure they are continuously nourished in the future.
Cambodia: Heifer International
Heifer International’s Poultry Project of National Pride is aiming to lift more people in Cambodia above the poverty line by transforming the poultry production system in the country. Instead of the traditional way of farming, the program includes smallholder farmers in order to generate a living wage for them. As the program continues to grow, it will assist 53,300 households directly and affect 529,800 families that are organized in cooperatives or self-help groups.
The program benefits these farmers and families by providing inputs, specialized training, assistance and capital access. With that, the farmers in Cambodia are able to create enterprises and connect to markets where they can sell chicken eggs and meat that is grown on their farms. Thanks to the investment and guidance from Heifer International, more households will be able to not only feed themselves with their yields, but also make enough income and close the wage gap in Cambodia.
Ukraine: International Relief Teams
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, it has been extremely difficult for nonprofit organizations to get aid inside the borders of Ukraine. Of course, charities including International Relief Teams have been doing everything they can to help the people of Ukraine. That includes providing supplies and services to the millions of refugees that fled to nearby countries. But, when it came to reaching those that are still in Ukraine, International Relief Teams overcame the obstacles by partnering with other organizations that have the best understanding of how to effectively deliver urgent supplies amongst the hostility.
International Relief Teams’ partners have four primary focuses: Health services, displacement support, financial transfers and food supply. Among all the urgent supply needs, food and water are arguably the most pressing. Beyond the basic food and meals that we typically think of, the International Relief Teams partners include baby food and formula – an absolute necessity for new mothers. In addition to the food supply focus, meals are served in the displacement centers and the financial transfers allowed families to buy what they need most, often groceries.
Whether it’s poverty, climate disasters, disease, conflict or – more often – a combination of those challenges, hunger happens for several reasons. The difficulty isn’t that there’s not enough food. The truth is there is plenty of food in the world to feed everyone on earth. So, just like the problem, the solution to world hunger isn’t simple.
After 10 years of steady decline, extreme hunger is rising again because of the added stress caused by COVID-19 and conflicts. That’s why it’s even more important now to get to the root of the hunger crisis and support charities that are providing communities with the tools they need to fight hunger. We will be exploring this topic further with a few of the charities mentioned above this month at “From Seed to Plate: Addressing the Global Hunger Crisis.” It is a free, online event with Heifer International, Food For The Poor and Feed My Starving Children. Join us on May 18 at 2 p.m. ET.
Are you looking for more ways to reduce hunger around the world?