As we mark World Food Day, it's sobering to recognise that a staggering 827 million people go to bed hungry every night.
International aid agencies and the UN were already warning of a rise in global hunger levels before the outbreak of Covid-19. The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) is now warning of an impending ‘hunger pandemic’, threatening to sweep across the globe.
Many of the world’s poorest nations are already on the brink. Without action a new wave of famine could overwhelm nations already weakened by years of instability. It's feared the secondary impacts of Covid-19 could be more deadly than the pandemic itself.
After nearly a decade of progress, the number of people who suffer from hunger has slowly increased over the past three years. One in every nine people globally is suffering from hunger today.
The UN's target to achieve 'Zero Hunger' by 2030 is looking increasingly challenging.
The problem in numbers
people go to bed hungry every night
children under the age of five die of malnutrition every year
people at risk of starvation due to Covid-19
people unable to access safe and nutritious food
How is GOAL responding?
- Zimbabwe: To help combat malnutrition and food insecurity in Zimbabwe, GOAL has launched a nutrition programme to help young children under 5. The initiative will help identify and treat children suffering from malnutrition. To date the initiative has been rolled out in six districts and will support up to 243,000 children.
- Ethiopia : The Covid-19 pandemic has been very challenging for communities across the world but particularly in developing countries with large refugee populations. Ethiopia is one of the largest refugee hosting countries in Africa, with over 750,000 refugees. GOAL is supporting mothers and infants to support thousands of children at risk of malnutrition after fleeing war-torn South Sudan. So far GOAL has trained over 1,200 mothers to recognise the warning signs of malnutrition and protect their children.
- Sudan: Millions of people are facing hardship as the cost of food and transport has soared in Sudan amid economic turmoil in the country. The cost of some staple foods like bread and sugar increased by 50% in September, driving inflation to a record high of 167%. In response, GOAL has implemented a cash transfer programme supporting 550 Households in North Darfur and South Kordofan States. GOAL Sudan is also distributing agricultural supplies to 3,000 households in North Darfur to combat hunger and assist local communities.
- Syria: GOAL’s food security programme in the northwest of Syria is supporting 20 bakeries in Idleb. These bakeries supported by GOAL provide bread at around half the market price to a population of more than 400,000. In order to ensure that these bakeries continue to operate safely, GOAL has trained all bakery employees on infection prevention and control, and have provided personal protective equipment and sterilization supplies.
- Sierra Leone: Throughout the crisis, Sierra Leone has experienced a series of rolling three-day lockdowns. The restrictions are having a disastrous impact on many families who rely on day-to-day income to put food on the table. Covid-19 patients forced to quarantine are also at risk. In response GOAL is helping to distribute food to patients to ensure they can afford to quarantine and help protect the local population.
- Malawi: GOAL is closely monitoring and supporting the nutrition levels of children under 5. Community members are being trained and empowered to check their children’s nutrition status on a regular basis, rather than waiting for medical screening. The process is empowering local communities. And early intervention is saving lives. To date, over 2,500 people have benefitted from the approach during the pandemic.
Triplets thriving thanks to life-saving nutrition programme
Smiling six-month-old triplet girls Nyachua, Nyajuak and Nyakime look the picture of health as they lie together in Gambella refugee camp in Ethiopia.
But as the world came together to fight the threat of Covid-19, the triplets had a huge fight of their own. Two of the triplets were found to be suffering from life-threatening, severe malnutrition in their early weeks. Thankfully, GOAL staff were there to intervene and the babies received the vital treatment they needed to survive and flourish.