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Home > About Us > Press Center > Food and Agriculture

Hunger, HIV and Food Aid: An Introduction



Media Contact: Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz |202.572.6302 (o) | 202-615-2608 (c)


More than 850 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition. World Vision is committed to raising resources public and private to overcome this tragedy. Food aid is a key tool to fight hunger and the food insecurity that causes chronic or emergency instances of malnutrition around the world.

The Facts

Some 854 million people worldwide lack enough to eat; 820 million of them are in developing countries.
Source: FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2006 (PDF)

A combination of natural disasters, drought, war, poverty, lack of agricultural infrastructure or policies and over-exploitation of the environment are chief causes of food shortages.
Source: World Food Programme, 2007

An estimated 2.1 billion people in the world live on less than $2 per day, and 880 million people live on less than $1 per day.
Source: World Bank World Development Report, 2008 (PDF)

Hunger and poverty claim 25,000 lives every day most of those are children.
Source: FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2006 (PDF)

Between 350 million and 400 million children around the world suffer from hunger, and roughly 146 million children under 5 are moderately or severely underweight.
Source: World Food Programme, Global Framework for Action, 2006
UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2007

Every five seconds, a child dies because of hunger.
Source: FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2006 (PDF)

Children who are moderately underweight are more than four times more likely to die from infectious disease than are well-nourished children.
Source: UNDP Human Development Report, 2005

Every year more than 19 million low-birthweight babies are born in the developing world. These babies face increased risk of dying in infancy and of stunted physical and cognitive growth. As adults, their capacity and earnings may decrease, and the cycle continues.
Source: World Health Organization and UNICEF Low Birthweight Estimates, 2004

Undernourishment and deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals cost developing countries billions of dollars in lost productivity and consumption. Halving the number of people living in hunger by 2015 would boost the global GDP by about $120 billion per year.
Source: FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2002

Hunger and malnutrition deter children from attending school and decrease their capacity for learning, thereby continuing the vicious cycle of poverty. A farmer with four years of elementary education is, on average, almost 9 percent more productive than a farmer with no education.
Source: FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2005

The Link Between AIDS and Hunger


In AIDS-affected families, food consumption in the household can drop by as much as 40 percent due to decreased productivity and earnings, leaving children at a higher risk of malnutrition and stunting.
Source: FAO, 2006

In South Africa and Zambia, studies of AIDS-affected households most of them already poor found that monthly income fell by 66 percent to 80 percent due to coping with AIDS-related illness.
Source: UNAIDS Q&A, 2006

An estimated 11.4 million children have been orphaned due to AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: UNAIDS AIDS Epidemic Update, 2007

World Vision’s History of Hunger Assistance

Faced with famines and suffering following Africa’s Sahelian drought of 1982-84, World Vision intervened with emergency food assistance in Mali, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso) and Chad. Initially, food assistance was channeled through local West African churches and later directly managed by World Vision. Large-scale emergency food relief programs were initiated in Poland (1984-86), Zaire (1984), Ethiopia (1985) and Mozambique (1988).

These programs provided emergency feeding to save lives and later transitioned to address basic needs through mother and child health care, nutritional supplements, distribution of seeds and tools and Food-For-Work programs. By the early 1990s, World Vision was implementing multi-year programs to support development in numerous countries. These programs include:

  • Food for Agriculture
  • training
  • seed multiplication
  • storage
  • price stabilization
  • risk abatement
Innovative approaches were pioneered in countries including Mozambique, Kenya and Mali.

World Vision, a Christian relief and development organization operating in nearly 100 countries, distributed 225,000 metric tons of food for U.N. World Food Programme and U.S. government programs in fiscal year 2006.

World Vision urges Congress to fund and expand existing programs to eradicate child hunger worldwide.

In developing countries, more than half of all deaths of young children due to infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and measles have malnutrition as an underlying cause.

World Vision specializes in community-based programs to alleviate the root causes of poverty and hunger; the organization is working to ensure the Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger by half is reached by 2015. Public and private funds support the agency’s 15-year area development commitments that work with poor communities to surmount needs in five main areas:
  • Clean water
  • Food and nutrition
  • Health
  • Education
  • Job creation

:: Back to Tackling poverty: food and agriculture

Who Is World Vision?

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.



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