World Hunger Day - A time to reflect for all of us

Published on: 28/05/2021


If we think of poverty and hunger, then we see images of Africa, children with protruding hipbones and ribs and swollen bellies, we imagine war-ridden parts of the world and we are shocked, saddened, donate money and then go about our day again. However, this is not a crisis that can be solved with a vaccine, and it is not one that we can avoid opening our eyes to.

Today, May 28th 2021 is World Hunger Day, an annual event which was created by The Hunger Project. It aims to raise awareness of the incredibly large number of people on this planet who live in severe poverty and are hungry every day. It is estimated that more than 690 million people are chronically hungry, which means that they haven’t had regular meals for a sustained period of time. Because of recent events, namely the Corona pandemic, experts fear that an additional 130 million people will be affected by hunger, too. Covid-19 amplified the problem, and has wreaked havoc not just with Western societies, but has caused most destruction and devastation in those communities where hunger is already prevalent, where people don’t have the same access to sanitation, information and healthcare, and where social distancing is just not possible. What is more, but probably unsurprisingly, it is said that 60% of those that live in poverty and hunger are women.

If we believe that hunger is solely a problem of developing countries and those nations that are less industrialised, then this is a mistake. Yes, according to Save the Children 78% of the world’s hungry people live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, but we don’t have to look too far when being confronted with high inequality and standards of living that should shock us to our core.

Amongst ourselves, in a country that is developed and industrialised, over 14 million people in the UK live in poverty.4.5 million of those are children. Marcus Rashford's fight against child hunger in the UK is probably the most recent example just how bad things are here, right in front of us. For those families, it is not even about affording life’s little luxuries. It is being constantly hungry, debating whether to be warm or to have food on the table, and some can’t afford to pay water bills, so skip meals in order to afford the basics. For children, their free school meal is often the only decent meal they have in their belly that day.
During the pandemic, life for those people has gotten worse, and food banks have seen a huge increase in people who needed their help.

So how can we play our part in combatting world hunger? Borgen Magazine believes there are 7 straightforward ways how we can alleviate world hunger.

  • You may think that the odd can you leave in the food bank cage at the supermarket won’t make a difference, but it really does. Food banks are vital in supporting those who need it most and whatever little you can afford will be essential in saving someone from going hungry.
  • We all know that over-farming land is not good for the environment, so urban farming, with gardens and plantations on roof tops and indoors seems to be the way forward. It is less reliant on the weather, farmland space and, as experts claim, could feed up to 10 billion people.
  • Talking about farming, sustainability is the key for many reasons. It is fundamental to ensure that the needs of present and future generations are met, whilst looking after our environment as well as promoting social and economic equality.
  • We all have our part to play to hold our and other governments accountable. Governments have the duty to ensure that the resources and food goes to those who need it most, the poor, especially women and children.
  • Another thing we often take for granted in the developed world is that we have a variety of birth control to choose from. This is a privilege that many of our fellow humans don’t have. Ensuring that everyone is educated and has access to birth control so they can properly plan a family will be beneficial in ensuring economic freedom and aid to combat world hunger.
  • Many of us rely on credit cards and loans, and have the relative freedom to start up a business. This is not the case for many people and they never have access to credit. Giving those people the opportunity to get a loan pays off. They contribute to the economy, are able to produce and income, feed their families and the majority pay their loans back.
  • Our kids sometimes moan that they don’t want to go to school, but education is the foundation for a successful and better future. Ensuring that every child can go to school is something that should be a cause close to all of us.

In today’s world that produces food in abundance and often so much that it has to be thrown away, hunger is not something that should be on anyone’s agenda, yet the reality is very different, as even in the industrialised countries too many millions of people don’t have enough money to buy food. We all have a part to play and can do little and big things to make a change, be it by donating, by raising awareness or how we vote. The future doesn’t look so bright on the hunger front for many, but it can be bright if we’re all willing to do our bit.

References:

World Hunger Day - The Hunger Project

Child Poverty | Save the Children UK

7 Solutions for World Hunger - BORGEN (borgenmagazine.com)