The most important thing to understand about hunger is that it IS solvable. Small, low-cost interventions can have an amazing impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.
From the World Food Programme (WFP)
Combating anaemia on the ground in Peru - with chicken blood!
Traditional Peruvian cooking has turned out a secret weapon in the fight against anaemia: chicken blood. High in iron and low on cost, “sangrecita” is the key ingredient of many of Peru’s favourite dishes. WFP has published over 40 in an anti-anaemia cookbook with recipes from local mothers and world renowned chefs.
Colombian Panaleros fighting poverty
“Mercedes Bohorquez has made panela, the main ingredient in Colombia’s favourite thirst-quencher for as long as she can remember. But, unable to sell her product herself, she remained trapped in poverty. Now, with a helping hand from WFP, she and her fellow paneleros are solving that problem.”
Food for work – rebuilding after a disaster
Since a typhoon destroyed their home last year, Mildred's family has been living on a beach. Their fishing boat damaged and their savings exhausted, they had nowhere to turn. But their fortunes are changing with a programme that takes care of food needs as they rebuild their lives.
Food assistance gives farmers a boost
Bakhtawar Mai turned in a great harvest this year, which means she finally grew enough food to feed her family. This was possible because a little food aid at the right time enabled her to cover her immediate food needs and, at the same time, buy enough seeds for the year ahead.
Women leading the way in El Salvador
Hurricane Ida left behind a trail of destruction when it slammed into El Salvador last November. In the town of Monte San Juan, women’s groups are spearheading the reconstruction effort with the help of a programme that keeps their families fed. The project has helped women like Carmen Perez become community leaders.
Overcoming “Hidden Hunger”
- Senegal: Women Salt Producers Lead Iodine Drive: Iodine deficiency is a major problem in Senegal where it causes birth defects in children and goitre in adults. Women salt producers are leading the charge against this form of malnutrition with the help of a WFP programme that helps them to enrich the salt they harvest with iodine and trains them as business leaders.
- Sizzling Vitamins Bring Nutrition To Egypt's Poor: A project to bring nutritionally-enhanced vegetable oil into the homes of some 60 million people got underway this week in a bid to stem widespread malnutrition in Egypt. The joint effort makes use of Egypt’s vast subsidized food system to ensure that the country’s poorest get the vitamins and minerals they need.
School Meals – a long-term investment
WFP has been providing school meals to children in Kenya for over 20 years. Today, a new generation of graduates is turning the rewards of those meals into stronger communities. Anthropologist Timothy J. Finan, author of a new report on school feeding in Kenya, tells us how.
From the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Supporting smallholder farmers is one of the best ways to fight hunger and poverty and there are plenty of good news stories around. By studying successful efforts and lessons learned, examples of best practice can be used in other countries.
The following examples from Pakistan, Brazil and Malawi show creative approaches to reducing poverty and hunger and prove that the battle against hunger can be won.
a) Using fewer pesticides to reduce poverty in Pakistan
Pests can devastate a crop in a short time and the solution has usually been to often spray using highly toxic chemical pesticides. This has been dangerous for farm workers, is bad for the environment and expensive for the farmer. One small cotton farmer, Muhammad Younis, aged 27, describes common practice in Vehari, Pakistan:
Before, we used to follow what the neighbours did in spraying pesticide. Last year, I used six to seven applications and this year, after observing my field, I used commercial pesticides only three times and biopesticides like neem and aloe vera twice. The crop looks as good as last year, and I've saved money on the pesticide.
Mr Younis learned field ecology in a Farmer Training School pioneered by FAO. Farmers attending one of these schools spend one morning a week in a typical field, observing insect behaviour and plant growth rates. They see how beneficial insects often devour pests, removing the need to spray pesticide. Farmers with little formal education gain confidence and rely on their own judgement, even when pressured by agricultural agencies and pesticide sellers to spray often.
Farmers can see the benefits clearly: a better crop yield, reduced environmental damage, improved health for the women cotton pickers and a lower outlay.
b) Zero hunger in Brazil
The government of Brazil has set a target of zero hunger within a short time through guaranteed access to food for all and a nutritionally adequate and sustainable diet. It aims to achieve this with a series of concrete measures.
- A conditional cash transfer to all poor families with a supporting school meals programme.
- Local food distribution outlets through people’s restaurants, community kitchens and food banks to provide low cost food and support farmers’ markets.
- Health and nutrition education to promote healthy eating and supply vitamins and minerals to those whose diet is deficient plus cisterns to provide clean water.
- Small farmer programmes to create markets, disseminate appropriate farm technologies and make holdings viable.
Over five years Brazil has reduced the number of undernourished people from 16 million to 12 million, many of them children. It can be done.
b) Maize growing in Malawi
Maize is an essential part of the staple diet in most of southern Africa, including Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries. But many small farmers in Malawi cannot grow enough maize and when harvests are poor they become reliant on food aid.
To reduce this dependency, an Agricultural Input Subsidy programme allowed these farmers to buy the fertilizers and the improved seed they need to combat food insecurity and increase food and cash crop production. The aim is to achieve food self-sufficiency.
The maize production programme has been a success and while more needs to be done Malawi has achieved a major reduction in the proportion of its undernourished people from 49 percent to 29 percent.