Hunger is one of the determinants of poverty in Africa. Hunger leads to poor health, high mortality rate, low productivity and extreme societal disability. I highly believe that if only we could work on food security in countries like Africa, we could be way up above making half of the world’s poverty level to decrease. Business could go a long way towards assisting this. People here are facing the two prime and significant problems – Extreme Poverty and Hunger.
Have you seen the children and adults of Somalia, Uganda, and Congo; all of them are malnourished and suffer from different diseases due to malnourishment – by the gift of starvation and poverty.
These are some of the poorest people in the world. Sucked into the cities in search of work, they live in shacks made of corrugated iron, near an open sewer. Though poverty is now in decline in Bangladesh, malnutrition rates are still among the highest anywhere in the world. One in every six people in the world lives on less than a dollar, or 65p, a day, and more than 800 million people are malnourished.
The people you see in these TV and newspaper pictures just happen to have been born in the wrong place. While we drink clean tap water, they drink water from a sewage-infested river. While we consume more than is good for us, they eat rice with a little chicken skin if they are lucky. We can’t help having been born here and not there; we can’t stop eating or drinking or shopping.
But if people in our street didn’t have enough to eat, we would share our food with them. Just because poverty is a long way away doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do to tackle it.
In 2000, world leaders made a promise to eliminate half of the extreme poverty levels and the number of malnourished people by 2015. They can do it – but only if we keep up the pressure. As Nelson Mandela said: “Ending poverty isn’t about charity. It’s about justice. ” This goal aims to reduce by half the number of people whose income is less than $1 a day, and those who suffer from hunger. In southern Sudan, drought and the effects of 20 years of conflict led to a severe food shortage in 2002, with many children very malnourished.
An NGO called TEARFUND responded to this emergency with a new approach called community-based therapeutic care. Traditional feeding programmes treat children suffering from severe malnutrition in feeding centres. Children and their careers usually stay in the centre, so only a limited number can be treated at any time. This new community-based approach involves setting up many smaller distribution points, often in remote areas. Local people help build and staff them. All the malnourished children admitted to the programme are examined.
If they have a healthy appetite and no medical complications, they are given supplies of a special food called Plumpynut and sent home, to be looked after by their mothers. They get regular supplies of Plumpynut from the local distribution point when they go for a weekly check up. This community-based approach reduces the time mothers have to spend away from their other children, and from their household and farming work. This was especially appreciated at the start of the planting season. Plumpynut also proved very popular with the children.
Severely malnourished children with serious health problems or no appetite are admitted to a stabilization centre for medical care until they have recovered enough to return home. This new community-based approach was a success in South Sudan, and very popular with local people. The programme was able to cover a much wider area. Hundreds more children were treated than in previous, centralized programmes. There was a high recovery rate and a very low mortality rate. Nurses who had spent over five years in feeding programmes initially found it strange to let severely malnourished children leave the treatment centre.
However, they soon became the strongest advocates for the new approach. Mothers attending the distribution points also received health education and supplies of seeds. Some have now formed women’s groups that meet each week to receive further health education. Alleviating hunger and poverty has been and continues to be the pre-dominant policy challenge facing global and national decision makers. Here we argue that policy interventions for addressing this challenge should be designed in the context of emerging global, regional and national trends.
We discuss four major trends that are shaping the future food economy and consequently the prospects for meeting the hunger and poverty goals. These trends are: i) Rapid urbanization in the developing world and its impact on food markets. ii) Increasing integration of global food markets through trade. iii) Deterioration of natural resource base and the degradation of the global and local commons; and iv) Rising transactions costs in the acquisition and use of science and technology for development.
Other ideas to meet eradicate poverty and hunger are as follows – Encourage access to micro-credit; provide free school meals for all school children, using locally produced foods; improve soil fertility through adding manure, making compost and using green manures; plant trees like moringa and leuceana that add nutrients to the soil; and encourage the use of door-sized home gardens. At the turn of the new millennium, 147 nations agreed they had the resources and the political will to eradicate the extreme poverty, hunger and disease that kills millions of people each year in the poorest parts of the world.
UNDP also mentioned that seven years ago the world came together and committed to tackle poverty in all its forms and work to build a better world for everyone. This vision was encapsulated in the Millennium Declaration and the eight Millennium Development Goals that emerged from it, which include halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2015; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment; reducing child and maternal mortality; combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability.
These Goals are underpinned by a commitment to build a global partnership for development, a compact between poor countries that commit to focus on reducing poverty, and the richer world that commits to be an active partner in supporting developing country efforts. The MDGs represent an internationally agreed set of goals that can be achieved if all actors work together and do their part.
Now, at the midpoint towards the 2015 target, it is clear that significant progress has been made in many areas. The number of people living on less than one dollar a day has fallen by roughly 250 million people and so, at the global level at least, it looks like we will meet the goal to halve extreme poverty and hunger. In some regions more children are in school – both girls and boys – and people can expect to live longer and more productive lives.
However this is not happening in all parts of the world. As I saw in my visit to Mozambique, Tanzania and Rwanda last week, while many African countries are making real progress in the fight against poverty, the challenge of achieving the MDGs and other development objectives in sub-Saharan Africa is particularly acute, where only some countries are progressing sufficiently to achieve some of the Goals.
Today, worldwide, more than one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water; 6,000 people die of HIV and AIDS each day; and more than 750 million adults cannot read – half a billion of them women. The impact of climate change also poses a particularly daunting challenge to many developing countries, especially the poorest. But this picture does not have to remain the same. Many of the Goals remain eminently achievable in the vast majority of countries.
For this to happen, though, two crucial aspects of the partnership for development must be respected. The first relates to the theme for the Eradication of Poverty: ‘People living in poverty as agents of change’, where it is clear that developing countries themselves should own their development process and that UNDP’s role is to help build the capacity to empower them to take charge of their own development. It also means that the support we provide will be more effective as it will be given in support of the priorities of poor people, and on their own terms.
The idea that people living in poverty are agents of their own change can be applied at the local level, but also extends through the national level where people can get involved in monitoring policies and reviewing budgets, as well as at the international level where poorer countries must be able to contribute fully to the global institutions and processes that can shape progress in their country. The second component of the partnership is that while poor people must be in the driving seat of their development, we have also committed to provide them with the necessary support.
Implementing the commitments that the international community has already made – on increasing and improving aid, dealing comprehensively with the debt problems facing developing countries, and delivering a trading system that puts the needs of poor countries at its heart – would go a very long way in ensuring that the MDGs can be met. The policies and actions of all countries on issues such as the environment and migration must also be made as supportive as possible of development, lest we give with one hand and take away with the other.
For the Eradication of Poverty we should recommit to achieving the MDGs as a whole, and to these two components in particular in the fight against poverty, so that the world can come as close as possible to achieving the ambitious Goals that has been set for 2015. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan also had said that – Today called for simultaneous action on both issues, warning that it will be impossible to eradicate one blight without the other. “Hunger and poverty are ugly siblings.
You cannot get rid of either unless you tackle the other as well… Hunger, after all, is both a source and a consequence of extreme poverty. A hungry man cannot think beyond his next meal… This has devastating consequences for the economic and social development of society as a whole,” Mr. Annan told government representatives and other officials at UN Headquarters. “The world has the resources and the know-how to make hunger history. What we need is political will and resolve. Let us renew our pledge to work together towards the day when no man, woman or child goes to sleep hungry.
Let us resolve to win the fight against hunger once and for all. And I think that, with determination, resolve and will, it can be done. ” Mr. Annan repeated that the theme to eradicate poverty and hunger is the need to bolster agriculture, noting that more than two thirds of the world’s hungry live in rural areas, and increased investment in agriculture is one of the most effective means to help them. He also made a warning that the world has made insufficient progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly goal number one for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.
Anyhow, global poverty and hunger are issues that affect all of us. Almost a billion people live on less than $1 a day and approximately half of the world population lives on less than $2 a day (United Nations, 2007). Since 1990, 270 million people throughout the world have died from poverty-related causes. Realizing that there are a little over 300 million people living in the United States, the figure of 270 million deaths is staggering. The majority of those that died were women and children. Every three seconds a child dies of hunger and preventable diseases (Bedell, 2005).
According to CARE (2007), an organization committed to fighting global poverty and helping people become self-sufficient, more than 840 million people in the world suffer from malnutrition. Of those people, more than 153 million are children under age 5, and tragically, six million of those children will die because of hunger. In 2000, the Millennium Declaration was adopted by 189 member nations of the United Nations. These countries committed to achieving eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 to improve the quality of life in developing countries.
Goal 1 is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Even though the international poverty line is being redrawn, the current poverty line has been set at an income of $1. 08 per day. The poverty line is the minimum income level to meet basic needs. The poverty line varies in different countries such as the United States. Nevertheless, the goal is to reduce by one-half the number of people worldwide earning less than $1 per day. Without financial resources, basic needs such as food, water, shelter, hygiene, education, and access to health care cannot be met.
Poverty is multidimensional and affects the person’s well-being and sense of worth. According to a woman in Tiraspol, Moldova, “For a poor person everything is terrible–illness, humiliation, shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of” (study conducted by World Bank Group, 2007). Some progress is being made to meet Goal 1 as the number of people in developing countries that are living on less than $1 per day decreased from 1.
25 billion in 1990 to 980 million in 2004 (United Nations, 2007). However, according to the 2007 Millennium Development Goals Report, the sub-Saharan countries are making progress but are not on target to meet Goal 1. Poverty rates in western Asia increased. Poor progress has been made to decrease childhood hunger in sub-Saharan countries and southern Asia. Efforts will need to be accelerated to meet Goal 1. Because the MDGs are interrelated, it is important to be aware of all of goals. They are: 1.
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. 2. Achieve universal primary education. 3. Promote gender equality and empower women. 4. Reduce child mortality. 5. Improve maternal health. 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. 7. Ensure environmental sustainability. 8. Develop a global partnership for development. Fighting Hunger, Poverty, and Injustice The International Council of Nurses conference in Yokohama, Japan, this summer, also discussed about other international efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger.
One of the presenters at the conference was Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam International, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty and injustice worldwide. Her presentation included content about the devastating effects of poverty and hunger. As you might expect, her photographs and stories of many of the people suffering from hunger and poverty were particularly poignant. As the late Dr. Martin Luther King said: “We have the resources to get rid of poverty. There is no deficit in human resources. The deficit is in human will. ” So let us work towards make the world a beautiful place