Making a hungerfree world: Food to save lives

On a planet with 7.5 billion people, hunger is still a daily reality for nearly 800 million people – that is about 1 out of every 10 people. Despite decades of progress, generations of people are still stuck in vicious cycles of poverty and hunger. To be food insecure is to be unsure if you will have food tomorrow, even if you have food today. More than 100 million people are severely food insecure – living in a state of emergency and at risk of starvation. In a very real sense, people’s lives are at stake.

At a county hospital in Turkana, Kenya, little Akusi is being screened for acute malnutrition while being held by her sister Losike, age 12. ©World Vision/Jon Warren.

For a family that already struggles to put food on the table, conflict, drought, poor harvests and rising food prices put further stress on already thin resources, making families incapable of coping. In many cases, while food may be physically available in a country, it will remain inaccessible to the most vulnerable populations because of high prices or far off locations. When put in this position, families are forced to make heartbreaking and seemingly impossible choices – choices that are unimaginable to many in food secure countries.

Families may be forced to cope by eating fewer or smaller meals, purchasing low-quality foods (sometimes old or expired food), or prioritising calories over vitamins and nutrients (think diets heavy in carbs, but with limited meat, dairy, fruits or vegetables). It often means children are forced to scavenge, eat spoiled food, beg and steal, drop out of school, get married early or become child soldiers in order to survive.

In these situations, food is more than just a meal, it becomes a matter of survival.

When Mushtar was brought to the clinic in Somalia, she was significantly underweight and malnourished. She was given emergency high energy biscuits fortified with protein, vitamins and minerals. It saved her life. ©World Vision/Mark Nonkes

The first step to creating a hungerfree world is meeting the immediate need for food. In moving towards sustainable change, we must ensure the basic human right to food is met for all people – especially for those who are most at risk.

World Vision provides life-saving food assistance to the world’s most vulnerable families and children, especially in emergency situations, after natural disasters, and for refugees forced to flee violence. We boldly go to hard-to-reach places to help children who need it the most.

In 2016, World Vision provided life-saving food assistance to more than 9.5 million people across 39 countries – the equivalent of reaching a new person every 4 seconds. We provided life-saving food assistance to nearly 2.6 million displaced people and refugees fleeing violence, operating food and agriculture programming in 10 of the 12 most fragile countries in the world.

now what?

We believe that a hungerfree world is possible, but it will take all of us working together. Join us in supporting life-saving food programmes in East Africa.

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