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Home > Facts > Ending Hunger: Now That We Can, We Must!

Ending Hunger: Now That We Can, We Must!

  • Fact 1:="#fact 1"> Hunger exists - people are dying
  • Fact 2:="#fact 2"> They don't have to - the end of hunger is achievable
  • Fact 3:="#fact 3"> You are the key to the end of hunger - you make the difference


Each year, Hunger takes the lives of approximately 7 million of our children. 19,000 every day - 800 every hour - 13 every minute

Each year, Hunger takes the lives of approximately 7 million of our children.  Yet, right now, today, humanity possesses the resources, technology and the know-how to end the persistence of Hunger. What we lack, experts tell us, is the public will, the commitment to get the job done. A key element in generating that commitment is making available to people current, accurate, accessible information about hunger and what is being done to end it.

Only with the facts can we hope to take focused, effective, educated action.


In 500 B.C. an anonymous Chinese Poet said:

If you are thinking a year ahead, sow seed.
If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree.
If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people.
By sowing seed once, you will harvest once.
By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold.
By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold.

The U.S. presidential commission on World Hunger stated: "whether one speaks of Human rights or basic human needs, the right to food is the most basic of all. Unless that right is first fulfilled, the protection of other human rights becomes a mockery". What is hunger? HUNGER is not appetite; it is a profound, debilitating, devastating, intensively painful, human experience. It keeps us from working productively, from thinking clearly, from resisting disease. Ultimately, if it goes on long enough, it kills us. What are the different types of hunger? The Hunger that we read, see and hear about in places like Bangladesh and Ethiopia is the 'Famine' variety of Hunger. Famine has received greater attention from the news media than the other types of Hunger, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. Chronic Undernutrition, Malnutrition, Malabsorptive Hunger and Seasonal Undernutrition account for over 90% of all hunger-related deaths, whereas famine accounts for less than 10%.

Fact 1: Hunger exists - people are dying Experts tell us that as many as 1 billion human beings - one out of five on our planet - are under-nourished and go to bed hungry each night. Not each month, not each week, but each day, 19,000 people die of hunger and hunger-related diseases. That is 13 people every minute of every hour of every day. The worst earthquake in modern history killed 242,000 people in China in 1976. Hunger kills that many every 12 days. There are villages in India where 85% of the families have experienced the loss of at least one child. How do we measure hunger We need to measure hunger in societies or countries so that we can see where hunger persists and where it is ending. The most accepted standard for determining the extent of hunger throughout an entire country is the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). The IMR is the number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 live births in a given year. Where are they hungry?

If hunger were ended in just the following five countries, we could eliminate nearly half of the world's hunger

  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Bangladesh
  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria

If hunger were eliminated in India alone, that would end as much as one-third of the world's hunger.

Fact 2: They don't have to - the end of hunger is achievable Not long ago, most people who studied the problem of hunger felt that it could be alleviated, but not ended. Now, however, the world's expert community is in widespread agreement is in widespread agreement that the persistence of hunger can be ended by the turn of the century. The independent Commission on International Development Issues (popularly known as the Brandt Commission) stated, "Mankind has never before had such ample technical and financial resources for coping with hunger and poverty. The immense task can be tackled once the necessary collective will be mobilized. What is necessary can be done, and must be done." There is plenty of food in the world. In past quarter century, food production on the planet has doubled, mainly due to the Green revolution. During this period, population has grown by 1.5 billion people. Food production increased at the annual growth rate of 2.8%. Faster than the 2.0% annual population growth. There is more food available per person today than there was 25 years ago. The amount of grain produced in the world today could provide each person on the planet with the equivalent of two loaves of bread per day. Our current food production could feed 7 billion people ... certainly enough food for us all.

Fact 3: You are the key to the end of hunger - you make the difference In recent years, a number of major changes have taken place in the world that were initiated not by governments or powerful institutions, but rather by people - individuals. Among these are movements for environmental protection, health and physical fitness, civil rights and women's rights. Individuals were responsible for generating the profound changes that have taken place in these areas. Such movements have been initiated and sustained primarily by those who were the victims of the wrong they sought to right. Children cannot start such a movement in their own defense. Yet in the last year alone, the 7 million young children who have died in the developing world, is the equivalent of the entire population of Switzerland. And for every child who has died, another has been left blind or deaf or crippled or retarded. Could any cause be counted more worthy of a people's movement?
You can play a vital role in this global effort. To learn more, please visit The Hunger Project web site.




updated: 24 April, 2014

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