World Food Day Briefing

16 October 2014

Why should we care about hunger?

Thursday 16th October is World Food Day 2014. This annual event counts amongst its aims the need to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world, and the need to strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

This is a struggle central to the work of HART and of our partners. We see the dramatic effects of hunger and poverty in all eight of the locations in which we work. For World Food Day 2014, Agnes Magyar has prepared a briefing on malnutrition, with a focus on Timor-Leste and the work of our partners, HIAM Health. Please download it here to read more about these crucial issues.

The effects of malnutrition

Half of under 5 deaths worldwide are directly or indirectly linked to malnutrition. This means 300 children every hour, or 2.6 million lives a year.

Hunger not only kills, it also paralyses; it has life-long, irreversible effects on the quality of life and the physical and mental capabilities of people.

Hunger is also a significant contributing factor to many other challenges, including conflict. As Secretary General Ban ki-moon has stated, “we cannot know peace or security if one in eight people are hungry”. No wonder the eradication of hunger is part of the first Millennium Development Goal.

There have been significant worldwide improvements as the Development Program’s 2015 deadline is approaching. However, it is important not to ignore the serious disparities that remain between regions concerning both the numbers affected by and capabilities to deal with malnutrition.

The situation in Timor-Leste

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is the country with the third highest ratio, approximately 45%, of malnourished children under 5 in the world. HART partner HIAM Health is a local organisation offering immediate treatment for malnourished children and educational programmes for their families and communities, building on the recognition that a long-term solution requires a multi-sector approach. HIAM is a wonderful example of a small-scale, step-by-step, project. It cares about hunger so the next generation doesn’t have to.

FAO World Food Day 2014, whose theme is family farming, is a great way to celebrate the efforts that have already been made to eradicate hunger, to encourage reinforced efforts, and further emphasise the power and potential that lies in community gardening to provide food security and achieve sustainable development.

If you are interested to learn more, and would like to find out what you could do to help, please download the briefing below.

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