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World Food Day
16 October is World Food Day. The day is about recognising the worldwide problem of hunger. And this year the theme for the day is “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development”. The theme has been chosen to highlight and raise awareness of the problems worldwide and the solutions to food security and ridding the world of hunger. The day is also about raising awareness and calling for changes to our agriculture and food supply systems.
However, it is not just about donating food to the world’s hungry and undernourished peoples. It is about doing something to help them help themselves. If I was hungry and someone gave me a plough to farm my land I would be far more grateful than if they gave me a sack of potatoes. If I had a plough I could be self-sufficient and produce my own food. That is what the day is trying to encourage. The Food and Agriculture Organisation is a division of the United Nations, and it is responsible for World Food Day. Along with raising awareness of hunger and poverty, the day aims to encourage economic and technological cooperation between different governments and with non-governmental organisations.
With an estimated 1.02 billion malnourished people across the globe it is a pretty serious matter and worth the public and private investment that is being sought out. So that’s why it is important to raise awareness via World Food Day.
Have you heard of stomach binding? Ziporra Mbungo is well acquainted with it. She ties a rope tight around her stomach so that she can stave off hunger pangs – food is scarce and she gives what little food she does have to her grandchildren. What’s even worse is that often when a person using this method does receive food they’ll remove the rope too quickly and die.
What kind of world are we living in when a human being needs to do this? I’m willing to bet this method is in common use right now in Somalia. After one of the worst droughts experienced in more than fifty years the current famine has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and more are dying.
There are a number of factors that decide whether famine will be declared. Some of these factors include whether 20% of the population is living on less than 2,100 calories, the presence of civil war and when people have access to less than four litres of water per day. They need aid right now and that means sending food and water.
It might be time for World Food Day but the struggle against hunger should be fought all year round.