Thursday, October 4, 2007

Know the Issues: WORLD HUNGER

World Hunger

Over 850 million people in the world are undernourished. This equals roughly 14 percent of the world’s population. However, there is enough food in the world today for every man, woman and child to lead a healthy and productive life. Individuals do not get the food they need because distribution is not equal, and they live in places where there is a lack of resources.


Defining hunger
Hunger is a feeling a person experiences from not getting enough to eat. Most people who battle hunger suffer from chronic undernourishment and vitamin or mineral deficiencies, resulting in stunted growth, weakness and heightened vulnerability to illness. This affects their long-term physical health and mental capacity.

Different kinds of hunger
Hunger can cause undernourishment and malnutrition. People who are undernourished live under the recommended 2100 calories a day for an extended period of time. When an indivdual is undernourished, she is not able to function physically and mentally in the same way a person who eats properly does. Malnutrition is a medical state that an individual can be in when they have inadequate diet, or from certain types of infections, or both. Malnutrition is about the quality of the food that a person receives, not just about quantity.

Acute malnutrition is a result of a rapid decrease in food intake. It is a dangerous condition that requires immediate care, increases susceptibility to disease and leads to death if treatment is not administered.

Who hunger affects
Hunger disproportionately affects people who are living in extreme poverty. The majority of people who are undernourished live in developing countries. Children less than 5 years old are the most sensitive to malnutrition. The next most vulnerable population is women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

What causes hunger?
In examining the issue of hunger, one must consider the quantity and quality of food, as well as access to food and other resources such as tools, land, and cash. Basically, hunger is about individuals who do not have enough resources to have adequate food throughout the year.

Sustainable solutions
Solutions can come in many different forms and sizes. Ending world hunger will require short-term interventions as well as long-term solutions. It will take a coordinated, long-term, global effort of people, communities, businesses, and governments to accomplish this. It is important for individuals in developed countries to work in partnership with families and communities to develop creative and local solutions to combat poverty and overcome hunger.

What is NetAid doing to help fight world hunger?
Through a partnership with the World Education and Development Fund, the NetAid World Schoolhouse project in El Salvador is working to improve the lives of children at the Mano Amiga San Antonio School. Mano Amiga provides meals as well as lessons on nutrition and preparation for natural disasters to children from low-income families. Through this project and others in developing countries, NetAid and its partners are enrolling more children in school so they can build a brighter future. Additionally, through the NetAid Global Citizen Corps, NetAid is inspiring youth across the United States to raise awareness about world hunger and mobilize their peers and communities to action.

Bonus Resources

Oxfam: Provides an overview of the food crisis in Africa.

Bread for the World

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

You can order the WFP hunger map for free! The WFP sends it out to you within 24 hours.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations

Center for Global Development

Doctors Without Borders Bracelet of Life


United Nations World Food Programme

Action Against Hunger

Bread for the World

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