Watch Josette Sheeran, the head of the United Nation's World Food Program on TED talk about different approaches to ending global hunger.
A handful of things stuck out for me. First, the statement that food is "the most fundamental expectation of every human being." How true that is. And the brain scans comparing the brains of two 3-year-oldsone well nourished and the other deeply malnourishedare disturbing to say the least. If we want conditions to improve in hungry nations, ensuring adequate nutrition of infants and young children must be a top priority. Otherwise, we're looking at a continued future of populations who cannot help themselves.
The most striking statement to me: "This isn't one of those rare diseases that we don't have the solution for. We know how to fix hunger."
But then, I really felt like something was missing from Sheeran's talk. Aside from a handful of indirect linkages (local farmers in Brazil providing a third of the food for school feeding programs, villages setting up food storage banks), there's not much mentioned about people feeding themselves.
Don't get me wrong; you'll never hear me say aid isn't very important. But if we're on the topic of Ending Hunger Now, shouldn't we be talking about ending hunger long-term? Heifer's founder, Dan West, is often quoted around here of saying "Not a cup, but a cow." This simple statement, in my opinion, says so much. A cup of food will stave off hunger for a day, maybe. But livestock and knowing how to raise it has the power to change lives forever.
In this TED video, Sheeran holds up a food pack that costs only 17 cents a day. It's got protein and vitamins the brain needs. She states that one package a day will overcome a child's malnutrition. In an emergency situation, yes, these seem great. But these are hand-outs, and they won't last forever, nor should they. There's an image of a child eating from one of these packages, and I can't help but think back to my trip to Uganda last year.
|Photo by Dero Sanford|
In this photo, you see a baby drinking from a package. But this is a different type of package. It's filled with yogurt, made by a local producer, from the milk of local cows. This is a community feeding itself, feeding its future generation. THIS is how we end hunger now and for good.