Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

17 posts from May 2010

Fewer Deaths Among Young Children

This article from the Christian Science Monitor shares some good news on U.N. Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 – to reduce mortality among children younger than 5 by two-thirds by 2015.

At this point, 31 developing countries are on track to achieve MDG 4.

According to UNICEF, reaching the goal means that deaths in early childhood will drop from 93 of every 1,000 in 1990 to 31.

Among the “top 10 most improved”: Vietnam, where the child mortality rate has dropped from about 46 deaths per 1,000 to about 13.

Some of the countries with the farthest to go have made significant progress. In 1990, 12 countries had more than 200 deaths per 1,000 young children. Now, no country loses that many children.

Top Hunger Headlines: Food Crisis in Chad

FAO Reports Shortfall in Chad Donations. Food crisis sparked by drought leaves 2 million facing hunger after promised donations fall through. [The Washington Post] 

Chad Hunger Overshadowed by Niger Food Crisis. Donations to relieve drought in Chad low due to hunger crisis in Niger. [Reuters] 

Did More African Aid Deliver Fewer Coups? Five years on from one of the most ambitious aid packages ever devised for Africa, the reviews have been mixed on how successful the plans have been in reality. [BBC]

Continue reading "Top Hunger Headlines: Food Crisis in Chad" »

Let's Feed the Future

Now, the work begins.

Just back from Sudan, Rajiv Shah, USAID administrator, came to the Chicago Council’s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security yesterday with fresh evidence that food security is the key to national prosperity, regional stability, and international peace.

And he provided more implementation details of the roadmap to achieve that, the Obama administration’s Feed the Future program—ending hunger through agriculture development. The goal is to increase the incomes of 40 million people in 20 countries over 10 years, and to reach 25 million children with nutrition interventions that will prevent stunting in 10 million kids.

Continue reading "Let's Feed the Future" »

The Path to Intimacy: The JustFaith Journey

Clip_image001 One of the most inspiring and enriching experiences I’ve had recently came from spending the afternoon listening to Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith Ministries, during his visit to Portland, Oregon. 

In a three-hour workshop he managed to get to the heart of the Gospel. It’s a simple formula, but it leads to big transformation (I have friends who can testify to this):

Following Christ (as LOVE without exceptions) + actively seeking out and experiencing justice (right relationships) = an expanded open heart that leads to intimacy with God and thus, wholeness.

Continue reading "The Path to Intimacy: The JustFaith Journey" »

Dublin Conference: Food Assistance Key

During the conference I’m attending in Malahide, Dublin, I’ve had a chance to talk with many participants about ways to tackle the global hunger crisis.

Yesterday I attended a small working group that was focused on the topic of food assistance. Our discussion included these top principles:

  • The right food must be a component of food assistance, especially for vulnerable populations—such as women and children up to age 2.
  • Food assistance must take into account cultural relevance and the role of the recipient community.
  • We must implement evidence-based models.
  • The role of the private sector must be considered.
  • How can we implement monitoring and evaluation into decision-making?
  • How can we become timelier in our response and not wait for a plea for help? Our discussion here focused on Niger.
  • The right to food is critical, but there must be political space at the national level to be open to it.
  • How do we hold donors and recipient countries accountable for food assistance, whether they are in-kind donations or cash?
  • How do we account for the interconnectedness of food assistance with all other issues being discussed?
  • We must have a flexible toolbox of options to get farmers back on their feet.

Continue reading "Dublin Conference: Food Assistance Key" »

Top Hunger Headlines: More Doctors Needed to Meet MDGs

AFRICA: Ten Countries Desperately Seeking Doctors. Shortages of medical staff have been identified as one of the major impediments to achieving the health-related U.N. Millennium Development Goals. [AlertNet]

A Boost to Lesotho’s Rural Farmers. The European Union and FAO … are assisting over 36,000 farmers in Lesotho, more than half of its vulnerable farmers. [FAO]

African Development Bank Commits $40 Million. The increased support is … to prevent the crises from reversing decades of progress, growth, and investment in Africa. [AllAfrica]

Food Situation Grave in Sahel. In 2009, agricultural production has been seriously affected in parts of the Sahel following late onset of rains, prolonged dry spells and significant pest infestations. [ReliefWeb]

Consumer Spending Trend is Shaky Foundation for Economic Recovery. Much of the new spending has come not from America's broad middle class but from a small slice of affluent people at the top. [L.A. Times]

U.S. Wealth Gap Grows between Races. The gap in wealth between white and black Americans increased by more than four times between 1984 and 2007. [BBC]

Mortgage Delinquencies, Foreclosures Break Records. The mortgage crisis is dragging on the economic recovery as more homeowners fall behind on their payments. [AP]

Climate Change/Environment
U.S. Top Scientists: Coal and Oil Should Be More Expensive. The nation's top scientists urged the government Wednesday to take drastic action to raise the cost of using coal and oil to slow global warming. [Huffington Post]

Why China Holds ‘Rare Cards’ in Race to Go Green. Environmentally-friendly technology needs rare earth metals. But China—where over 90% of these minerals are mined—wants to keep more for its own industry. [BBC]

Report from Dublin Hunger Conference

I’m in Malahide, Dublin, this week for a two-day conference on world hunger, along with about 200 people from United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and governments around the world.

The purpose of the conference is to update the United Nation’s Comprehensive Framework for Action (CFA), which is a set of recommendations produced in July 2008 by a U.N. task force in response to the dramatic rise of global food prices and the crisis it triggered.

“The food riots of 2008 provided a wake-up call, highlighting the political and economic importance of people having enough to eat,” wrote Peter Power, Ireland’s minister of state for overseas development aid, in Monday’s The Irish Times. “The future security of humankind, as well as basic social justice, requires us all to act now.” 

Continue reading "Report from Dublin Hunger Conference" »

Top Hunger Headlines: Diets of Mud and Despair in India

Diet of Mud and Despair in Indian Village. "We live on a day-to-day basis," Suraj says, as the faint sound of hammering echoes across the village. "What we earn is what we spend on our families in a day." [

Economic Crisis Threatens Europe’s Progress on Hunger. The Europe and Central Asia region has achieved striking success in fighting poverty and food insecurity over the last ten years, with agriculture playing a key role… [FAO]

South Africa's Economic Growth Failed to Lift Poverty Levels. South Africa overtook Brazil last year as one of the most unequal societies in the world… [AllAfrica]

Shielded by U.S. Umbrella, Israel Joins Rich Man's Club. With tongue firmly entrenched in his cheek, an Arab diplomat recounts an Israeli cabinet meeting interrupted by an aide rushing in with the latest statistics on the state of the economy. [Inter-Press Service]

Research Links Pesticides with ADHD in Children. A new analysis of U.S. health data links children's attention-deficit disorder with exposure to common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables. [The Washington Post]

Is the U.S. Stimulus Package Working? Fifteen months after an economic stimulus package was put in place in the U.S., there is much disagreement about whether it has achieved its aim. [BBC]

Obama Aide: U.S. Economy Still Needs Further Boost. The U.S. economy has begun to climb out of the worst downturn since the 1930 Great Depression but still needs additional steps by the federal government… [Reuters]

Food Expert: Ban Sugary Soda from U.S. Food Stamps. Congress should ban sugary sodas from the $58 billion-a-year U.S. food stamp program as a step to combat the obesity crisis… [Reuters]

Climate Change/Environment
U.N. Picks New Climate Change Chief. Costa Rica's Christiana Figueres is to be the new head of the U.N. climate convention… [BBC]

Senate Climate Bill under a Cloud. Although the Kerry-Lieberman measure is deeply flawed, its positives far outweigh its negatives. [The Los Angeles Times]

U.S. Lags China on Climate Change: Europe Climate Chief. The United States' future as a global economic power depends on what it does to fight global warming, and it is lagging behind other countries like China… [Reuters]


Teaching Kids about Hunger

The clamor begins just inside the door of Ridge Academy elementary school on Chicago’s South Side. Short essays and drawings shout out to all those who pass:

“Many people are dying now because of hunger.”

“In many countries, people do not have enough food or water to survive. The most kind of people that are dying are children. We need to get food and water to them before they die.”

“People are sick and I want to help. If you want to make a difference, get them clean water and healthy food. We don’t want them to die.”

“When you are hungry your tummy makes a sound.”

Continue reading "Teaching Kids about Hunger" »

Top Hunger Headlines: Slow Progress on MDGs

Meeting Millennium Development Goals. As part of a series assessing whether Bangladesh is on track to meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, the BBC visits a safety pin factory in the capital, Dhaka, which employs children. [BBC]

Afghanistan Shuts 172 Aid Organizations. Afghanistan has shut down over 10 percent of aid organizations in an effort to create a better accountability of the billions of dollars of aid pouring into the country. [The Media Line]

Markets Can't Self-Regulate; State Should Step In. The Washington Consensus is dead and the state must play a new role in development. [Inter Press Service]

Promises, Promises: Rich Farmers Get Most Cash. Lawmakers crafting a sweeping farm bill in 2008 promised it would cut government payments to wealthy farmers. Two years later, little appears to have changed. [AP]

Real Misery Index Hits All-Time High as America's Economic Divide Widens. The unemployment crisis continues to stymie a full economic recovery… [Huffington Post]

Recommendations from White House Task Force to Combat Childhood Obesity. The task force calls for the following recommendations… [The Washington Post]

Climate Change/Environment
Steep Rise in India’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions. India's annual greenhouse gas emissions increased by nearly 60% between 1994 and 2007, a government study says. [BBC]

John Kerry, Joe Lieberman to Introduce Climate Change Bill. A short summary of what to expect from the highly anticipated Kerry-Lieberman energy bill... [Huffington Post]

Report: Climate Change Could Render Much of World Uninhabitable‎. A worst-case scenario of global warming, in which temperatures would soar some 21 degrees, is that much of the world may simply become too hot for humans to live in… [USA Today]

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