World Food Day, on October 16, is a day of action where global communities join together to commit to ending hunger.
In many areas of the world, hunger is a daily reality. Hunger and malnutrition trap people in a cycle of extreme poverty. There are 795 million undernourished people in the world today but hunger is a solvable problem.
PCI recently launched an emergency food distribution project called Access to Training, Food, and interventions to Better Nutrition (ACTION) or “ACCION” in Spanish, to support 2,777 vulnerable families facing food insecurity in the municipalities of San Pedro Necta, San Ildefonso Ixtahuacán, and Nentón in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The program is responding in communities that have been most affected by several years of failed rains and falling incomes.
Francisca Pérez Lainez , a 78-year-old grandmother from the El Granadillo community in the municipality of Ixtahuacan, Guatemala, shared that she no longer has the strength to work and it is very difficult to get food or money to buy it, especially now that her community is experiencing food shortages. But thanks to ACCION, Francisca is receiving nutritious food to sustain herself and her family.
The innovative ACCION project uses an e-voucher system that allows vulnerable households to purchase local foods directly from local stores, giving them some choice in selecting the foods they prefer. The use of vouchers allows the program to support and strengthen the local market during this challenging period. And the electronic voucher system makes it possible to effectively and efficiently track and monitor the distribution, seeing who is buying what products and at which stores.
The prevailing presence of hunger in communities like Francisca’s is one of the greatest challenges to meeting global development goals and improving the lives of millions across the world. But ending hunger in our lifetimes is a possibility – by both responding to food crises like the one in Guatemala and investing in long term food security for vulnerable communities. Working together we will make progress, and we will continue until we end hunger.
Story and Photos by Gesler Castillo, PCI’s Field Supervisor, PAISANO, Guatemala