The good news is that hunger is decreasing globally. The number of chronically hungry people shrank from nearly one in five people worldwide between 1990 and 1992, to about one in eight people between 2010 and 2012. That is real progress, but it is too soon to celebrate.
Between 2010 and 2012, 868 million people around the world regularly lacked enough food to eat, 234 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Just imagine if every person in the five most populous states in the U.S. — California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois — was chronically hungry. That would be less than half of those suffering today in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In Africa hunger seasons can draw out for several months as families ration the final portions of their harvest, pray for the rains to come and wait for conditions to plant and reap their next harvest. Meanwhile, farmers have to work their fields with empty stomachs, and children walk home from school to find there is no meal waiting for them.
To Africare this is unacceptable. We know that Africa can feed itself. African communities can overcome food-insecurity. We know it because we have witnessed our beneficiaries do so for decades. We train farmers to grow larger quantities and more kinds of food. We connect producers to markets and provide them the information they need to sell their goods at the most favorable prices. We also promote the development of rural off-farm enterprises so their owners have the means to buy food and feed themselves permanently. We educate families on how to diversify their crops and their diets to have more nutritious meals. And we fortify communities so they can maintain project benefits long after our projects end.
In Mali, Africare’s System of Rice Intensification increased average yields by 87% to 9.1 metric tons per hectare. In Mozambique, Africare’s project reached more than 24,000 mothers, 98% of whom adopted improved mother and child health and nutrition techniques. That project also empowered more than 17,000 farmers to raise their income, with increases as high as 1,000%. In Chad, Africare’s water-resource development project in Facha enabled off-season planting. Villagers there can now sell produce including tomatoes, lettuce and watermelon year-round. They have used the extra revenue and stock to create a food bank to lend millet to vulnerable households and store food for emergencies. In the Rassomdé community of Burkina Faso, Africare beneficiaries who previously lived on less than $2 a day are netting more than $600 per household from off-season crops. When a food crisis hit the region in 2012, they were able to withstand it even though Africare’s project had ended two years earlier.
Africare helps communities across Africa break the cycle of poverty. Our integrated agriculture, nutrition, health and water projects focus on yielding long-lasting impact. We know how to enrich communities and how to literally help them grow.
To help you connect with the plight of those hungry around the world we challenge you to #Fast4Hunger on World Hunger Day this year, May 28. Please visit our Facebook event page and pledge how many hours you are prepared to forgo food that day. See how you respond when hunger persists. Will you feel distracted, irritable, weak? And think, how might it affect you to endure that kind of hunger every single day? Be sure to download the #Fast4Hunger Challenge Toolkit to learn more about global hunger and share your experiences with us on World Hunger Day.
Become part of our growing global community to help Africa feed itself.