Category Archives: Hunger Relief

Southern African Countries Face Hunger Threat

Malawi 71
Malawi  (Photo credit: al_green)

It sounds seemingly impossible, but there is yet another area of Africa that is under threat of a food shortage due to erratic rains during the growing season. While the Sahel is still experiencing food shortages, southern Africa is now joining ranks with the northwestern part of the continent.

According to the World Food Programme, 3.5 million people are living in drought-hit areas in Malawi, Lesotho, and Zimbabwe and are in need of food assistance. The hunger season lasts from December through March.

“Large numbers of smallholder farmers and their families are in the grip of what is set to be one of the harshest hunger seasons of recent years,” says Brenda Barton, WFP Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa. “With the help of  governments, donors and regional organizations, we’re mobilizing resources to help the most vulnerable, not only with food distributions but also with innovative solutions like cash transfers via mobile phones so people can buy their own food.”

 Malawi   Lesotho  Zimbabwe
1.8 million people are receiving food assistance 200,000 people are receiving food assistance 1.6 million people are receiving food and cash assistance

What can you do to help? You can donate securely on the World Food Programme web site. There is currently a $4 million emergency operation shortfall in Lesotho and a $14 million shortfall in Malawai, so every donation counts.

UN Photo/WFP/Phil Behan

What You Can Do to Celebrate World Food Day

Global food instability is a complex issue. Factors such as poverty, food prices, climate change, food distribution, smallholder farmers, women farmers, crude oil, fertilizers, plant varieties, pest management, irrigation, and even armed conflicts affect people’s access to food. That is why even in 2012 one billion people still go to bed hungry every night. That is one in every seven people according to Oxfam.

Untangling the world’s food system is complex. Even the world’s most seasoned experts have a difficult time solving this global issue, but there are simple steps you can make to help change things for the better.

Today is World Food Day and Oxfam is asking you to celebrate by discussing their GROW Method with your family at dinner tonight.

Oxfam America is calling for people to discuss their GROW Method, a surprisingly simple method of eating that will put more food in people’s bellies. It calls for simple changes such as not wasting food by eating leftovers, eating less meat, using less water to cook with, buying foods in season and supporting small farmers. All of these tips are doable for an individual or family. Oxfam has created an easy dinner discussion guide you can use tonight and share with your family.

For the past few weeks members of the Global Team of 200, a specialized group of Mom Bloggers for Social Good members who focus on global hunger, women and girls, children, and maternal health, have been sharing Oxfam’s GROW Method and World Food Day with their readers.

Here are a few featured moms who have shared the GROW Method with their readers and families.

Julia Gibson from Mom on the Run x 2 showcased Oxfam’s free GROW Method banner.

Source: momontherunx2.net via Social Good on Pinterest

Vanessa at Desumama.com shared a delicious acorn squash recipe.

 

Lisa from About Proximity shared the GROW Method with her children. Be sure to watch.

Want to get involved in World Food Day today? Here’s how: 

  • Have a dinner discussion about food and how you and your family can take part in reducing food waste and increase food availability.
  • Take a photo of your dinner tonight and post it on Instagram with the #WFD2012 tag. Then visit Oxfam’s site. Your post may be featured alongside others.
  • Use Oxfam’s Pinterest cookbook for meal ideas using the GROW Method.
  • Also follow @OxfamAmerica to stay abreast of how you can help throughout the year.

DoSomething.org’s The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing

WHAT: The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing  

WHERE: www.dosomething.org/hunt

THE CONVERSATION: #TheHuntisOn

DoSomething.org, the nation’s largest organization for teens and social change, has partnered with Lenovo, the world’s second largest PC maker who helped found the campaign last year, and Bing, the search engine from Microsoft, to launch “The Hunt: 11 Days of Doing.”

Every day at 11:11 AM EST Do Something releases the day’s current challenge via email, text, and on their web site. Today’s challenge is about disaster response and relief. Each challenge takes less than an hour to complete.

  1. Check all the smoke detectors in you and your teammates homes to make sure they are working properly.
  2. Identify the top risk in your community (tornado hurricane, forest fire) and create a disaster preparedness plan to post in your home.
  3. Create a disaster preparedness kit for your home including 3 of the following items: soap, bandages, tweezers, thermometer, gloves, scissors, safety pins, antiseptic

You can check in each day through this Friday for the latest challenges (3 per day) at www.dosomething.org/hunt/challenges

Follow these moms as they share how their family takes on these challenges for the rest of the week.

Chelsea: Someday I’ll Learn. Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @somdayilllearn

Marina: Energizer Bunnies’ Mommy Reports. Follow Marina on Twitter @ebmommy

Mandy: Read Write Mom. Follow Mandy on Twitter @thereadwritemom

Melinda: Look What Mom Found. Follow Melinda on Twitter @LkWhatMomFound

Brandy: Not So Average Mama. Follow Brandy on Twitter @StitchBlade

[Book Review] The Last Hunger Season by Roger Thurow

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of ChangeThe Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change by Roger Thurow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One does not have to be a wonk to understand the intricacies of global hunger as many might suspect. Roger Thurow, a senior fellow for global agriculture and food policy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and former Wall Street Journal correspondent, proved in The Last Hunger Season that chronic, perpetual, and essentially senseless hunger in Kenya can easily be understood by anyone who reads this book. This less academic approach to analysing hunger helps put this worldwide problem on the agenda not only for those who work in the field of hunger relief, but also for those who care about people who do not have enough food to eat.

Roger Thurow
Roger Thurow (Photo credit: ONE Fr)

Thurow follows the lives of four smallholder women farmers in Kenya and writes in clear detail about the struggles these women and their families endure during the annual “wanjala” or hunger season. Each year these farmers must grow enough food to sell and consume and also navigate the volatile food markets during the recent economic crises where food prices have been high, but selling prices have been lower than usual. What you will find in The Last Hunger Season is despite these women’s hard work and dedication to their small farm plots economic, food and health struggles perpetually stand at their doorstep, and yet their hope, while wavering at times, is never broken.

One of the underlying themes in The Last Hunger Season is the dedication these women have for the future; that despite their current circumstances they forge every way possible for a better future not only for themselves, but for their children. These women understand that the only way out of the subsistence, smallholder farmer cycle of poverty is through education. By making sacrifices (even going without food and relying on black tea for meals) it ensures that at least one child in the family can work a job in an urban setting and lift the entire family out of poverty. It is, at times, difficult to read that some of the women would pay school fees instead of feeding their families even when their younger children are failing to thrive from malnutrition. However, the future to these women is brighter than filling their bellies and the bellies of their children.

It is important to note that the One Acre Fund, an NGO that helps small subsistence farmers yield larger crops through better seeds, fertilizers, education and working in cooperatives, is featured throughout the book. It is through the One Acre Fund that these women farmers are able to provide a better living for their families by producing more maize largely, but also growing other crops like beans. Larger crops means more food to sale at market prices and it also means more food to eat.

The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change is a optimal starting point for students and hunger advocates – both professional and lay – to better understand the hunger season in Africa and throughout the world and the importance of better agricultural techniques to a brighter and more productive future for these subsistence farmers.
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