Hunger is a predominant feature in Africa, and this menace doesn’t look like it’ll stop very soon unless drastic measures are taken to curb its growth.
Over the years, many hunger relief organizations have made enormous efforts to curtail the adverse effects of hunger and malnutrition in Africa, especially in children. Still, the Coronavirus pandemic, drought, extreme weather, economic woes, and conflict are reversing years of steady progress achieved.
Now is the time to double the energy and work towards curbing child hunger in Africa. This article will address child hunger in Africa, why Africans face chronic hunger and surefire ways to tackle this menace. We’ll also look at the statistics to know the numbers and how best to proceed with solutions.
Strategies for Ending World Hunger
Although child hunger in Africa can’t be eliminated immediately, we will defeat this menace in no distant time with a conscious effort towards reducing the percentage of malnourished children in Africa. The following are strategies we can employ to achieve this aim:
- Empower Young Girls to Finish Schooling
In some parts of Africa, young girls aren’t given the same opportunity to attend school as the opposite gender. This practice has encouraged inequality and suppressed women’s ability to be more and be financially empowered to provide for the family.
When young girls are empowered to go to school, they’ll graduate and get better jobs. That way, they can provide a stable income to help their families and attain financial stability so their children won’t go hungry.
- Introduce Seeds Programs
In most developing countries, female farmers grow over 50 percent of the entire food consumed. Sadly, they often focus on producing traditional staple crops like potatoes, rice, and corn. While these crops are great for filling the stomach, they don’t offer many nutrients to develop children’s minds.
Hunger relief organizations can help provide top-quality seeds for nutritious crops and even teach women how to plant them. That way, they can pass it on to the younger ones and prevent hunger in future generations.
- Encourage Them to Grow Their Food
Over 130 million East Africans are malnourished and in severe danger of hunger-related death. The primary reason for this food insecurity is high food prices. Thus, one of the major solutions to hunger in Africa is helping them grow their own food.
Hunger relief organizations can introduce resources and training to help them grow their own food. For instance, providing shade nets, water storage, and great seeds can help immensely.
- Introduce School Feeding Program
The hunger rate in countries facing severe economic and political crises in Africa has witnessed an enormous increase. For instance in Zimbabwe, the food price has skyrocketed, savings have depleted, and jobs are gone. Thus, some pupils’ only hope of eating is from the school feeding program.
Therefore, hunger charities should look towards providing nutritious meals for these school children, seeing as a well-nourished, educated child is the hope for a hunger-free, brighter future.
- Provide Resources Directly
Farmers need resources to perform optimally. From research, education to funds for buying supplies, nutrients, and seeds. Direct resources provided to farmers will help them improve their crop yields, nutrition, and health of both their families and communities while alleviating poverty.
According to the UN, hunger and extreme poverty in Africa have a cyclical relationship. Thus, hungry people can’t be productive, and the inability to work results in more starvation.
Hunger in Africa Statistics
Statistics show that in 2019, about 234 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were chronically malnourished. This figure is the highest compared to other regions. Furthermore, about 250 million people, nearly 20 percent of the entire population in Africa, are experiencing hunger.
The hunger condition is deteriorating across Central and West Africa as over 15 million children aged five years and below suffer from acute malnutrition in 2020 alone.
Some primary causes of this severe hunger in the region are conflict, COVID-19 aftershocks, and unpredictable weather patterns. Sadly, the long-term effects of malnutrition on these children will hinder their ability to develop and achieve their potentials.
Poor harvests and successive crop failures in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia have taken their toll on agricultural production, leading to a shocking hike in food prices.
For the past four years, some parts of Southern Africa have experienced the lowest rainfall since 1981, while others have suffered ravaging destruction from Cyclones Kenneth and Idai between March and April 2019, close to the harvest period. All these natural disasters have significantly increased the rate of child hunger in Africa.
Why People in Africa Face Chronic Hunger?
There are many causes of chronic hunger experienced across Africa, including instability, conflict, and drought. Many African countries have been struggling with extreme poverty for years, and they lack community and government support systems to help affected families.
The health and economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic have further driven millions of Africans into despair and poverty. After the food security in Africa 2020 analysis, it was discovered that there’s a widespread decline in income opportunities, diminished purchasing power, limited access to food and other basic needs, and lost livelihood in Africa which has persisted to date due to the pandemic.
Some countries that had previously experienced drought are on the verge of recurring drought when they haven’t sufficiently recovered from the last one. In Sudan, people have fled their homes due to violence without the farmers harvesting their crops. This situation has caused a decline in the amount of food available while raising its prices.
Furthermore, over 60 percent of the country gets flooded during rainy seasons, which limits food transportation, causing food scarcity in the market. These floods also wipe out roads, bridges, livestock, crops, thwarting farmer’s efforts and relief activities.
Sudan also witnessed almost two months of flooding and heavy rain in 2020, which wreaked havoc across the country’s 18 states and devasted over 875,000 people, with more than 50 percent of them being children.
In events like this, children are the worst hit, as they pose a significant risk of food insecurity, exposing them to illnesses and diseases. Presently, about 9.8 million children face food insecurity and need urgent food aid.
The call to end child hunger in Africa is global and will require all hands to be on deck if we are to achieve this aim. This cause will require great sacrifice and commitment. You can start by joining a hunger relief organization like Food for Life Global to make a change.
Using the strategies mentioned above, hunger charities, individuals, and world governments can effectively tackle this menace that seems not to be decreasing.