We are calling on you to take action in the days running up to World Food Day. Each day counting down to October 16, we will issue a daily challenge as part of our A Billion for a Billion campaign and the ONE Campus Challenge.
Today’s action is: Take the Hunger quiz! Then read on below to see how we are working with partners to prevent hunger.
9th-grader Getachew Abeye plows the earth with his oxen
The World Food Programme works with the world’s most marginalized people. Typically, they’re families living on less than $2 a day, who can’t fall back on social “safety nets” – food stamps, subsidized school lunches - like we have in the US. It takes little to push them over the edge – especially when disaster strikes.
Most of our work is emergency-related, but we’re also all about building resilience to future shocks.
In Ethiopia, severe food crisis occur frequently despite huge gains in agricultural production; nearly one in two kids grow up stunted by malnutrition. One of the chief culprits is weather: 90 percent of Ethiopia’s agriculture is rainfed and, like much of Africa, changing rainfall patterns threaten to cut agricultural yields by as much as half in 2020.
Because every drop of rain counts, we work with Ethiopia’s MERET program, supporting communities to rehabilitate their degraded land and watersheds - and manage them better for the future. Through MERET, we’ve helped more than a million food-insecure Ethiopians reclaim 300,000 hectares of land.
A farmer stands with his irrigated crops that have benefited from the MERET program in Ethiopia
The Lasta region of northern Ethiopia - one of the country’s poorest - stands testament to the ravages of environmental degradation. Its spectacular mountains are bare of trees and vegetation, while deep gulleys tell how precious volcanic topsoil long ago washed away. Goats and scrawny cattle munch on what’s left, while farmers hack away at the pitiless rocky earth.
By contrast, MERET’s Derowa watershed program seems an oasis - with sparkling green hillsides protected from livestock, neat rows of microdams and water catchment, and new vegetable varieties sprouting among traditional staple crops.
Farmer Alemaye Channi, the program’s chief planner, proudly recounts how his community has transformed their 400 hectares. He beams as 9th-grader Getachew Abeye plows the earth with his oxen. The teen-ager explains how a second growing season now allows them to plant non-traditional crops like onions, papaya, hot peppers and coffee; he says it’s doubled household income.
As the sky grudgingly dusts the land with rain, and farmers look ahead to another harvest, he says: “It’s as if the land gave birth to another land.”
The World Food Day Action Countdown is the result of a joined initiative between the Billion for a Billioncampaign (calling for the online billion ot help the hungry billion) and the ONE Campus Challenge (that invites university students to take part in the fight against hunger for credits).