World Food Day 2015

16 October 2015

World Food Day was established in 1979 to honour the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) branch of the UN, created in 1945. A theme is selected each year to highlight an area for action. 1986 focused on Fisherman and Fishing Communities; 1991 celebrated Trees for life; 1998 concentrated on how Women feed the world whilst 2002 revolved around water as a source of food security. The theme selected for 2015 is Social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Director-General of FAO will join the Italian President and Ministers at Expo Milano for an official celebration.

At HART we are celebrating World Food Day by highlighting the work of our brilliant partner HIAM Health in Timor-Leste (East Timor). HIAM Health undertakes pioneering methods in breaking the cycle of rural poverty.

Two years ago, HART produced a report on malnutrition in Timor-Leste. It recounted that the small nation has a higher incidence of underweight children than either Ethiopia or Malawi with nearly 50% of under 5-year-olds underweight (Oxfam Australia, 2007). Despite relatively fertile land, food insecurity is widespread. The reasons for this are multi-fold. Alongside the country’s widespread poverty, causes include poor hygiene and sanitation; low levels of education, especially of women; underlying health conditions, such as worm infestation; poor child feeding practices and prevalent food taboos.

HIAM Health recognises the multiplicity of causes for hunger in Timor-Leste. They also recognise how sustainable solutions cannot be mainlined in from outside the country and its culture, but have to come from East-Timorese themselves. Half of the population of Timor-Leste are illiterate, therefore what good would a sign reminding people to “Wash Their Hands” be? Personal hygiene is not after all something that can be monitored from the top down.

We have put together an illustration demonstrating HIAM Health’s methods, supporting the child, their family and then the entire community.


Disclaimer: This blog is a space for discussion and personal reflection. Any opinions expressed within the blog are those of the author and are not necessarily held by HART. Individual authors are responsible for the accuracy of statements made within the blog.

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