World Hunger Day Marked as Millions Survive on Less than $1.50 a Day
Ethiopia School Feeding Programme encourages mothers to send their kids to school where they are given two free meals a day. (The HungerProject UK)
Millions of people around the world survive on a income equivalent to less than $1.50 a day and there are an estimated 800 million people who are undernourished. World Hunger Day has been launched by the charity The Hunger Project to mark progress towards ending hunger and poverty. VoR's Tim Ecott spoke to its executive vice president, Dr John Coonrod.
“It clearly is good news. The world has made a great deal of progress. The vast majority of the 842 million people who go hungry each day are themselves food farmers. They are working very hard every day to feed themselves and their families and they have been making progress. They have improved their education, they have improved governance in their communities, they have improved healthcare.
“There is a lot left to do, but progress is being made. The number of children dying each day has been reduced by three quarters since the Hunger Project began in 1977."
Inspiring images from some of the Project's initiatives
“The biggest [improvement] is women’s education, because most of the hungry people are women and girls. They have grown up in societies that really thwarted their aspirations, kept them out of school, doing chores, taking care of siblings. And that changed.
“Women and girls being educated, having the opportunity to improve their own health and nutrition has been attributed to most of the progress in reducing hunger.”
Birth rates also put a great strain on food resources
“When families don’t know that their children are going to live, they have more children. So as you educate women and girls and improve survival rates, you see birth rates go down and population stabilise.
“The other issue is the drop in child marriage. Having girls educated means they will wait longer before getting married. They will wait longer before having children and that also contributes.”
Where did the Hunger Project start?
“The Hunger Project and a number of other groups really started in the wake of the Bangladesh famine in the 70s, and the first world food conference. Since then, our mission has been to pioneer approaches to empowering world communities to solve their own problems, to end their own hunger.
“To do so on a sustainable basis, we’ve pioneered those strategies in India and Bangladesh and big countries of Africa, Mexico and Peru.
“We participate with hundreds of like-minded organisations around the world and work in partnership with communities to support people to end their own hunger.”
It is too early to draw a line under hunger and poverty around the world?
“We do need to keep worrying about. The progress has probably been made in the easier parts if hunger. There are still lots and lot of people and it is costing those countries billions of dollars to have that human potential lost.”
See the original at VoR
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