Brussels, BELGIUM (October 16, 2014) — A new report to be presented on World Food Day (16 October) challenges conventional thinking on food assistance — it’s not just about distributing food packages — and gives new ideas to feed the hundreds of millions of children who go to bed hungry each night.
The report, Telling Our Stories: Leveraging food assistance for a hunger-free world, published by the humanitarian organisation World Vision, suggests that while food assistance plays a critical life-saving role in emergencies, it’s not a long-term solution to achieving a hunger-free world.
“To achieve a long-term solution, food distributions need to be coupled with programs that ensure the hungry are equipped to meet their own food needs long-term,” says Thabani Maphosa, World Vision’s chief of food assistance programs. “For example, at World Vision, 30 per cent of our food assistance programs incorporate resilience-building elements, to address the root causes of hunger.”
Presented at a World Food Day event at the European Parliament in Brussels, the report documents examples in food-insecure countries such as Uganda, Niger and Myanmar, of hungry people receiving food or cash to meet their immediate needs and in return working on community projects that could end their reliance on food assistance in the future.
World Vision is one of the world’s largest deliverers of food assistance and its projects include the planting of drought-resistant trees to improve soil quality and improve water retention, the construction of water-harvesting structures, the rehabilitation of degraded land, the creation of water channels for irrigation, and building structures to support advanced gardening techniques.
Among beneficiaries featured in the Telling our Stories report is Masemakaleng Kabane, 59, a HIV-positive grandmother from Lesotho responsible for the care of seven children. While receiving food assistance to take care of her family’s immediate needs, she was supported to construct a “keyhole” garden—where vegetables are grown on a raised bed made of recycled materials. The technology allows labour-constrained households to grow nutritious food even with poor soil and moisture conditions. Today, Masemakaleng produces vegetables all year round, sells surpluses to neighbours, and teaches them how to manage their own gardens.
Maphosa says it is great to be able to share success stories like Masemakaleng on World Food Day. This year, the day especially focuses attention on the major role small family farmers can play in eradicating hunger and poverty.
“Masemakaleng’s story is a dramatic illustration of how powerful small farmers can be in the quest to eradicate hunger,” he says. “It’s not just that she is no longer dependent on food assistance; she has become a force in her community to end food shortages there for good.”
The United Nations estimates about 805 million people in the world are chronically undernourished, and poor nutrition causes about 45 per cent of preventable deaths in children under 5.
World Vision is a participant in the Zero Hunger Challenge, a global political movement launched by the UN Secretary-General in 2012. The movement aims to rid the world of hunger and child malnutrition. Among its goals is to dramatically increase smallholder productivity and income.
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For more information and to speak to Thabani Maphosa, contact Tennille Bergin, senior communications manager for World Vision International, at +44.(0).7876.503.978.
Download the Telling Our Stories report here.
World Food Day Event (October 16)
“Telling Our Stories: Leveraging Food Assistance for a Hunger-Free World”
European Parliament, Brussels
Hosted by MEP Julie Ward. Media Enquires contact: Alexandra Matei: Ph: +32.2.274.18.68
Email: [email protected]
About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.
- World Vision’s new report challenges the conventional thinking that food assistance is just about distributing food packages to hungry people.
- To achieve a long-term solution, food distributions need to be coupled with programs that ensure the hungry are equipped to meet their own food needs long-term.
- This year’s World Food Day especially focuses attention on the major role small family farmers can play in eradicating hunger and poverty.