By Tokunbo Kujore, Impact Analyst and Founder, Afro Girls
A well-balanced meal has more power than you think. Besides the quite obvious nutrients one receives, A meal can influence the state of education, health, economies, innovation, climate change and more - its impact is far and wide.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 690 million people around the world suffered from hunger, including the 135 million who suffered from acute hunger and starvation due to man-made conflicts. Due to the pandemic, the number of those living with acute hunger is predicted to double. Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger, seeks to achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030, but the rate of hunger has increased since the declaration of the Global Goals in 2015.
The World Food Programme’s food assistance programme provides a critical lifeline to 100 million people, which leaves over about 590 million people (including the estimated increase due to the pandemic) in need.
Needless to say, something isn’t working.
The work the global community is doing to combat hunger seems to be counterproductive. Are the targets towards achieving zero hunger by 2030 unrealistic? Can we honestly end hunger in 10 years? If we plan on doing so, we have a lot of work to do.
More Than A Meal
It goes without saying that ending hunger also involves including women in the conversation, especially in the area of agriculture.
In many parts of the world, women are the primary farmers of the world, yet our gender disparities and inequity in agriculture are alarming. Access to resources, especially for young farmers is difficult to receive. I believe governments can step up in this area - providing effective policy, legal framework and sustainable partnerships. Sustained political commitment at the highest level is critical for hunger eradication. Without the participation of these actors and our commitment to holding these actors accountable, we can expect an even larger number of people battling food insecurity.
Food For Thought
The global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tonnes a year. As we continue to make strides in the advancement of technology, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, how can we utilize technology to decrease waste and improve sustainable agriculture production? Luckily there are a number of food banks, organizations and companies using technology, specifically, to combat hunger and tackle a couple of other SDG Goals, including:
Goodr, which enables businesses to reduce waste, save money, and do good and,
Farm Drive, which uses mobile phones, alternative data, and machine learning to close the critical data gap that prevents financial institutions from lending to creditworthy smallholder farmers.
My opinions briefly cover the surface of world hunger. Thinking about how so many people, including children who are the most vulnerable, can't get what they need to survive, is heartbreaking. How then do we feed 690 Million people worldwide and make sure that we can sustain our progress? My challenge to the global community is to rethink the targets of Goal 2 and our efforts towards achieving this goal. Let's personalize the targets in a way that benefits our individual communities. We’ve been through so many challenges, this year alone, but we have the opportunity to do things differently, more effectively, together. Our simple efforts and innovative solutions, especially during this time, could help ensure sustainable progress towards eradicating hunger.
Check out more posts in the SDGs in 20/20 series here.