Imagine a world where every child enjoys enough nourishing food so they can thrive. This is the aim of World Vision’s new campaign, ENOUGH, end child hunger and malnutrition aligned with Sustainable Development Goal Two, which was globally launched on 20 September 2023 at a side event during the UN General Assembly.
Water is Life, Water is Food, Leave no one Behind is this year’s theme for World Food Day. Let us eliminate child malnutrition and end child hunger. With National Governments leading, this will require enough nutritious food, funding, political will, policies and services centred on and influenced by children.
World Vision is responding to the impact of food insecurity and malnutrition in seven countries in East Africa namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Since April 2021, the East Africa Hunger and Emergency Response has reached 11.6 million people including 6.5 million children. Global demands for humanitarian funding mean crises in East Africa and limited international attention, in spite of urgent, growing and life-threatening needs.
Conflict, COVID 19 aftershocks, cost of living and climate change, the 4Cs, has pushed more than 10million people across the region into a hunger crisis. Acute food insecurity and malnutrition is measured using the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The phases are stressed (IPC 2), crisis (IPC 3), emergency (IPC4) and catastrophic (IPC 5). As of August 2023, the number of people in IPC 3 crisis or above were Kenya 2.7 million, Somalia 3.7 million, South Sudan 7.7 million, Sudan 20.3 million, Tanzania 990 thousand and Uganda 582 thousand.
In Somalia, Ibrahim has 12 children—four boys and eight girls. His youngest is 2 months old. “Life, as you can see, is kind of difficult,” he says. “It is traumatizing to see people living this way. Most of the men have nothing to do. There is nothing I can do for them.” He works with World Vision to select who will get food vouchers—$90 per month for six months for families with malnourished children. In Baidoa, World Vision’s food and cash programs are funded through the World Food Programme. The United States government is the largest contributor to the Somalia Response plan at 66 percent. “My wife got vouchers for food,” says Ibrahim “We would go to the vendor and get food.” They’d pick up 25 kgs of wheat, rice, and beans, 5 kgs of sugar, and 5 liters of oil.
In Sudan, children are especially vulnerable in this crisis and the ongoing conflict. According to the National Director at World Vision Sudan, Emmanuel Isch, child malnutrition is on the rise, millions of children are out of school, and the psycho-social impact of the conflict on children is significant. “This will have long term effects on the well-being of children across Sudan,” he says.
In Bidibidi, Uganda, Rashid's involvement with World Vision’s Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is helping him to feed his family. By inter-planting on three acres of land, Rashid has ensured that he has sufficient food and a steady income stream in the short, medium and long term. Last season, he harvested 25 bags of cassava. Out of these, he kept three bags for home consumption and sold the balance earning US$614. From his cassava demonstration garden, Rashid fetches between US$1,300 and US$1,400 per season from the sales of cassava cutting. There are two cassava seasons in a year.
Together we can reach more people!
As we mark World Food day, World Vision is calling on national governments, regional institutions, humanitarian actors and donors to urgently address the hunger crisis in Eastern Africa and more forcefully communicate its breadth and severity, through the ENOUGH Campaign to end child hunger and malnutrition.
- Enough of the right food for children in crisis: In East Africa with more emergencies, conflicts and children on the move, donor countries must meet crisis pledge targets for urgent life-saving assistance. Interventions to build communities' resilience and prevent future hunger crises must be incorporated into funding for all emergency responses.
- Enough funding for child malnutrition: Fully fund National Humanitarian Response Plans without delay and across all sectors and areas. Coordinate different funding streams. Together, we must find ways to ensure that predictable, multi-year nexus funding can complement life-saving assistance, reinforce social cohesion and build resilience to future food security shocks.
- School meals can change the world: Good quality school meals give children in Eastern Africa a balanced diet, encouraging girls to stay in school, keeping them safe from early marriage and preventing forced child labour. School meals are a safety net for families who struggle to provide the nutrition their children need.
- Listen to children: Children are powerful agents of change who have the right to food and to participate. All East Africa governments and service providers must be open to children’s views and opportunities for consulting them as policies and services are developed, changed and implemented.
- Children must be counted: Data on child hunger must be visible and spelled out in relevant statistics and reports at all levels and in all contexts. Global and national food-related policy and funding commitments in aid, agriculture, food security and climate change must have specific child-sensitive indicators and approaches for nutrition, hunger, gender and protection.
- Nutrition policies and services: Government health and social systems in East Africa need to deliver comprehensive and quality nutrition services for children and ensure ENOUGH nutritious food for every child. Action to reduce child wasting must be stepped up. Due to the unequal impact of hunger on their lives, girls must be prioritised in nutrition services.
- Regulation of food and beverages marketed to children: Governments must effectively regulate the unhealthy foods and infant feeding for children if we want to end child malnutrition. Marketing and information about food for children must show how nutritious food for children can be provided, produced responsibly and sustainably, and support local producers.
We say ENOUGH – no child will suffer from hunger if we act NOW.
Article by Lilian Dodzo - Regional Leader, World Vision East Africa Region