Since last November, Ethiopia and Eritrea’s militaries as well as militia groups from Ethiopia’s Amhara region have imposed heavy atrocities on the country’s northern Tigray region. Reports from the ground from journalists and aid agencies reveal mass rapes, murders, and intentional starvation of 350,000 of the region’s 6 million people. Farmers are not being allowed to plant their crops and food trucks are being turned around at gunpoint.
Yesterday, the New York Times published photos by conflict photographer Lydnsey Addario who captured some of the sufferings in Tigray including rape survivors to children who have been caught in the crossfire.
In February the United Nations officially declared a famine in South Sudan. What is most disheartening about this most recent famine in the world’s youngest country is it’s largely man-made. Constant infighting among South Sudanese opposition forces and the government makes growing crops nearly impossible. And, the instability in the country continues to drive up food costs. 100,000 people are directly suffering from famine, and … Continue reading 5 Organizations to Support During South Sudan’s Famine
The Red Nose Day campaign to end child poverty returns in the U.S. on Thursday, May 25, in conjunction with a night of special programming and the third annual “Red Nose Day Special” on NBC.
One of the best ways to help vulnerable children in low-and-middle-income countries is by telling their authentic stories to those who can help make their lives a little better.
Along with Comic Relief, Ed Sheeran recently traveled to West Point, one of west Africa’s largest and most dangerous slums, in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. There he saw children whose lives have been routinely ravaged by poverty, the Ebola crisis, and an economy that was devastated by the notorious disease that killed thousands. Today, an estimated 14,000 children (some as young as seven) are living and working on Monrovia’s streets.
In Liberia, Sheeran shot a video set to “What Do I Know,” a track from Ed’s latest album Divide to bring awareness to street kids who live in Monrovia.
PET bottles, one of the most widely used materials in the world, are used to package foods and drinks from soda and juices to salad dressings and cooking oils. It is also completely recyclable. In the United States alone, 1.5 billion pounds of PET bottles are recycled annually.
Throughout my travels to low and middle-income countries I see PET bottles thrown haphazardly in fields and streams clogging waterways and dirtying sidewalks and walking paths. In countries such as Nepal (where I visited last year with Coca-Cola), there are concerted educational efforts by environmentally focused NGOs to change behaviors around discarding PET bottles. There are recycling centers in Nepal, but not enough to completely clean its streets and countryside. It seems to be a sisyphean battle to combat PET bottle waste, but there are some who are using the bottles in innovative ways.
Nutrition of women before and during pregnancy and when breastfeeding is critical in determining the health and survival of the mother and of her unborn baby.
Undernourished pregnant women have higher reproductive risks. They are more likely to experience obstructed labour, or to die during or after childbirth. Poor nutrition in pregnancy also results in babies growing poorly in the womb and being born underweight and susceptible to diseases. These mothers also invariably produce low quality breast milk.
Maternal malnutrition has inter-generational consequences because it is cyclical. Poor nutrition in pregnancy is linked to undernourishment in-utero which results in low birth weight, pre-maturity, and low nutrient stores in infants. These babies end up stunted and, in turn, give birth to low birth weight babies. Optimal maternal nutrition is therefore vital to break this inter-generational cycle.
In Kenya, women’s nutritional needs during pregnancy has not received much attention. This has exposed a gap in efforts to improve maternal and child health.
“Helping families lift themselves out of poverty means helping them build income and wealth, but it is a social phenomenon as well,” wrote Steve Werlin, the author of To Fool the Rain: Haiti’s Poor and Their Pathway to a Better Life. “And one of the social change we try to effect involves working on the way members look at themselves.”
It is quite impressive how someone’s mind and attitude can alter and reset the course of one’s life. However, in order to eventually arrive at that mind reset some people require a substantive hand out, constant observation and follow-up; not simply a prescriptive hand up. When looking at the lowest income countries in the world like Haiti a vast array of NGOs work to alleviate some of its inherent problems with programs that address the root of poverty. Some provide work programs, educational programs, health care, or even microloan programs. But some of Haiti’s families are so extremely poor they cannot dream of qualifying for many of these programs because they have virtually nothing. In fact, they live in such cyclical poverty they cannot feed themselves on a daily basis, or even every other day. In Haiti’s deepest far reaches and unfathomable rural areas are families who live in abject poverty far away from roads and towns. They require the most cumulative social programs designed by worldwide NGOs that specialize in the nuances of poverty reduction and eradication.
In Haiti, for example, one of those social programs is called “Chemen lavi miyo (CLM)” in Creole or a Pathway to a Better Life that is run by Fonkoze, Haiti’s largest microfinance organization. Even as a microfinance enterprise Fonkoze realized that to reach the poorest Haitian families means to provide overarching programs that teach rural women who qualify for their CLM program financial and entrepreneurial skills as well as life and relationship skills.
If you read this blog enough you know that there are 795 million people who do not have enough to eat on a consistent basis; not even enough to live a healthy lifestyle. The vast majority of this 795 million people live in low- and middle-income countries. Sadly, nearly 100 million children are underweight because they do not have enough sustaining food every day.
A new social endeavor start-up is working to change these statistics in their own way. Cuddle+Kind, a company that creates adorable hand-knit dolls for kids also provides meals for children through the World Food Programme and Children’s Hunger Fund with every purchase. Their ambitious, yet achievable goal is to provide one million meals for children every year.
Guest Post by Brian Kennell, Tetra Pak president and CEO for the U.S. and Canada
From just-squeezed juices to artisan sandwiches to colorful bunches of fresh-picked vegetables, nutritious dietary offerings have never been so bountiful or convenient for affluent Americans. They can legitimately browse for gourmet-quality dinners inside local supermarkets as well as convenience stores or trendy “small box” neighborhood groceries.
Unfortunately, that is not the case for some 23.5 million largely underserved U.S. residents who live in “food deserts,” areas where grocery stores are absent, and food options frequently range from fast food to corner mini-marts, where chips, soda pop, candy, cakes and snack packs are more likely to line the shelves than fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meat; whole-grain bread, pasta and cereal; or high-quality dairy and all-fruit juice drinks. Many food desert residents, without access to foodstuffs that allow them to eat three full, nutritious meals a day, regularly lack food security.
Food Deserts and Health
Unsurprisingly, because residents have access to and consume foods that tend to be high in sugar, fat and salt, food deserts are strongly correlated with higher rates of obesity and other nutrition-influenced chronic diseases, note academic studies such as “Distance to store, food prices, and obesity in urban food deserts” in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. First Lady Michelle Obama noted this four years ago when she made eradicating food deserts to stem food insecurity one of the goals of her “Let’s Move” Campaign. But the issue has proved just as intractable as it is complex.
In the developed world most people have no idea what stunting is. It is a health problem we do not have to worry about because access to nutritious and fortified foods is largely available in our supermarkets and restaurants and ultimately our kitchens. For us, the stark opposite of stunting for our children is our major dilemma. In developing countries, however, stunting is an everyday part of life for many.
It is a cultural challenge. You will go to communities where food is available, but it is not given to the children. These foods are there, but you will find women are making maize porridge and giving it to children. Food is available in the communities. It is a question of knowledge. Geoffrey Kirenga, CEO of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania
In Tanzania, forty-four percent of all children are stunted according to numbers released by the World Bank. Feed the Future says the number is slightly lower at 42 percent. This number is “highly unacceptable” says Obey N. Assery, the Director of the Department of Coordination of Government Business. Stunting occurs, of course, when children do not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth. Surprisingly, adequate nutrition for children begins in the womb during the first 1000 days before birth through a child’s second birthday. That means mothers play a pivotal role in ensuring the proper growth of their children even before they are born which makes decreasing the stunting rate in Tanzania more difficult to manage.
Currently 805 million people are undernourished worldwide. That number is based on a number of factors including chronic and systemic poverty, a lack of access to improved growing methods and resources for small-holder farmers, a lack of purchasing power, as well as a lack of highly nutritious foods.
Researchers believe forests can help remedy the hunger problem worldwide. Even though 61.3 percent of the world’s forests are wholly owned by individual governments, that is a sharp decline from 71.4 percent in 2002 according to the newly-released report, Forests, Trees and Landscapes for Food Security and Nutrition [PDF].
Over 60 forest scientists contributed to the new report which outlines the best ways in which available forestland can be utilized to curb hunger. The first way is via tree crops that are often rich in vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients and are associated with more diverse diets. Examples include cashews and the African locust bean.
We will join Global Impact to discuss these aforementioned women’s and girls’ issues on Friday, March 13 at 1 PM EST. Join us using #HerDay2015.
In Ormoc, Philippines women tend to take on village leadership roles to ensure children under five get their scheduled vaccinations and routine check-ups. These women also provide medical information to mothers and families who live deep in the rural parts of Ormoc and have a harder time attaining health services.
These village leaders are, for all intents and purposes, the lifelines for these rural families to health care. In addition to village leaders, rural health units staffed by volunteer health workers and nutrition scholars are charged with providing essential health care and information to families who otherwise would go without medical care.
“Being a leader makes me happy, but it is difficult,” said Ludivinia Perez, a village leader in Ormoc, Philippines on Leyte island. “I feel good about it. What makes it difficult is if I don’t have enough funds and resources.”
In Bill and Melinda Gates’ Annual Letter that was released this week, they bet that in 15 years Africa will be able to feed itself. For those of you who have never been to Africa you may think this is an overstretch, but it is entirely true and based on significant data. Most of the people I have met in Africa are smallholder farmers. Africa is … Continue reading Infographic of the Week: Africa Can Feed Itself
Each January Bill and Melinda Gates release their Annual Letter. This year they are taking a bet on the world’s future. 15 years ago the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was started and there have been substantial improvements in global health and development since then because of its dedication to the world’s poorest people. Now, Bill and Melinda Gates believe even more can be done in … Continue reading Bill and Melinda Gates’ 15-Year Bet For a Better World