Helping Communities Thrive with Food Security
“It has not happened in the past where a household could harvest more than one bag of maize from this land, but now we have managed to harvest 15 bags which has been a great achievement.”
– Wisiki, Program Participant, Malawi
Regularly having enough to eat is one of the most basic elements of being able to thrive. However, food security is something many people across the globe don’t take for granted. There are 815 million people who are undernourished worldwide, with a major segment of those living in developing countries. (FAO)
Food supply challenges, government unrest, climate change, and a growing worldwide population are among many of the concerns facing families who struggle to put food on the table.
State of Food Security & Nutrition in the World 2017
- After steadily declining for over a decade, global hunger appears to be on the rise, affecting 11 percent of the global population.
- Stunting still affects almost 1 in 4 children under 5 years of age, increasing their risk of impaired cognitive ability, weakened performance at school, and dying from infections.
- Overweight among children under the age of 5 is becoming more of a problem in most regions, while adult obesity continues to rise in all regions.
- The number of conflicts is also on the rise. Exacerbated by climate-related shocks, conflicts seriously affect food security and are a cause of much of the recent increase in food insecurity.
- The world has seen a dramatic increase in the number of individuals forced from their homes due to conflict and their livelihoods stressed from an increased occurrence of natural disasters, such as droughts – a 50% increase from the previous decade. Natural disasters can have severe implications on the agricultural livelihoods and food security of many vulnerable populations.
Empowering Farming Communities
Marcelo Martín Mendoza and his wife, Carmelina, had a small farm in the Western Highlands of Guatemala and a family of six they were struggling to feed. Through the PAISANO program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Food for Peace (FFP) and in partnership with Save the Children, PCI provided Marcelo and Carmelina training on sustainable agricultural practices as well as in health and nutrition. The training and ongoing support from the program helped the Mendozas to produce a steady source of food, increase their income, and provided a new perspective on stability and financial security. The couple has emerged as community leaders who encourage their neighbors to practice sustainable agriculture methods that conserve soil and improve their crops. These practices have helped increase profits, decrease malnutrition, and improve the overall health of their community. Since 2012, more than 26,000 households in the region have benefited from PAISANO.
Nourishing Bodies and Minds with Food for Education
In addition to providing daily meals, FFE also promotes food security by:
- Providing literacy instruction training for teachers;
- Distributing books & school supplies;
- Constructing latrines & hand washing stations;
- Establishing school gardens as a source of food;
- Training parents & students on hygienic and nutritious food preparation;
- Working with community farmers on effective farming and food storage techniques to increase yields; and
- Developing sustainability action plans which focus on activities such as securing donations from local businesses and local governments.
How can you help?
Support PCI’s efforts to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship worldwide.
For sustainable, lasting development, local economies must be able to meet the needs of communities – supporting livelihoods and ensuring availability of necessary products like nutritious foods. PCI focuses on supporting and strengthening local markets, and ensuring that we do no harm to existing market systems. PCI has developed a set of tools that enable a market-based approach for different situations. When responding to emergencies, PCI’s cash and voucher programs provide necessary relief to local communities while also reinforcing the market by enabling participants to procure emergency relief supplies from local or regional retailers. These local purchases provide households with the quick support they need, while supporting recovery of local markets and industries post-disaster.
By Julia King In Malawi, a landlocked country in Southern [...]