Hunger is an endemic issue that affects 805 million people (1in 9 people) on earth. Even worse, hunger doesn’t differentiate based on age. Each year around 3.1 million children below the age of five die because of poor nutrition. Around 100 million children in developing countries around the world are underweight, and 66 million primary school children go to class hungry on school days.
It’s a paradox. Today hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined; yet for the first time in human history we have the technology, resources and policies available to achieve zero hunger in our lifetime. (source: wfp)
That’s what the the Zero Hunger Challenge, launched by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, urges us to attempt. The World Food Programme emphasises this through their Hunger Map 2014 which points out the prevalence of undernourishment across the populations of developing countries in 2012-14. The map highlights the widespread hunger across the world by classifying countries according to a five point hunger scale.
Developed countries like the United States of America, Brazil, Argentina, the Russian Federation, Australia, countries of Europe and a few others fell within the ‘Very Low’ hunger scale; Peru, Colombia and China were a few that were rated ‘Moderately Low’; Bolivia, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India were some that were rated ‘Moderately High’; Botswana, Zimbabwe, and the Republic of Congo were rated ‘High’; while Namibia, Zambia, Ethiopia and others were rated ‘Very High’. Some countries were not rated due to insufficient data.
But by leveraging the huge amount of wealth available across the world and the growing global concern over hunger, with the technological advancements that allow us to mass produce food on a scale we’ve never seen before, we have the arsenal we need to eliminate global malnutrition and starvation for good.
Akshaya Patra has been attempting to achieve this amongst school children in India over the last 15 years. By partnering with the Government of India, the Foundation has created an affordable operations model where a contribution of Rs. 750 (£10/$15) can feed one child the nutritious, filling mid-day meal every day for an entire year. In fact, being a non-profit organisation Akshaya Patra is eager to pass on its operations model to interested parties to facilitate this war against hunger.
With its highly mechanised kitchens each designed to mass produce up to one lakh meals a day, the Foundation has served as an example with the London School of Business and the Harvard Business School doing case studies on the operations process. In addition, Akshaya Patra has also been nominated and represents itself on the Central Government Mid-Day Meal Scheme’s National Steering-cum-Monitoring Committee. These measures and more exemplify Akshaya Patra’s dedication to ending classroom hunger in India, and someday across the world.
With the community involvement in feeding programmes rising all over the world, the challenge to achieve zero hunger is becoming more achievable every day. Tell us how you would like to help make our world hunger free by leaving a comment below.