Five Countries To Teach Your Classes About In Lessons On Hunger

Around the world, WFP is providing food assistance, but students may wonder why these people are food insecure. When engaging students in lessons on hunger, it may help to shed light on the issue with stories from specific, real-life hunger situations.

Whether it’s natural disaster, conflict, extreme poverty or something else, unique situations worldwide may give students a better understanding during your lessons. Try teaching about some of these countries to give lessons greater impact:


Ongoing conflict in Syria has forced millions of people to flee their homes. Access to basic needs like food, water, electricity and more has become a struggle. WFP is working to feed up to 6.5 million Syrians by the end of the year, including 4 million inside Syria and 2.5 refugees who have fled to neighboring countries. WFP is providing food assistance to about 1.1 million refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Teaching tool: Take a look at this crisis map. You can adjust the map to show the number of beneficiaries in specific months, food distribution points and more.

Real-life story: In partnership with MasterCard, WFP has begun a particularly innovative programme – issuing electronic vouchers to enable Syrian refugees in Lebanon to purchase food at local shops. These cards, loaded with US$27 each, will help over 800,000 meet food needs and boost local economy.  This story about how the e-vouchers have helped one father support his family of 12 may help students understand how this programme works.


A farmer holding in his hands two small plants he has grown Many residents here suffer from extreme poverty, and many children do not attend school. In 2011, extreme drought triggered a food crisis in Mali. Simultaneous conflict in the northern parts of the country led to unstable conditions, and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee to safer regions and neighboring countries. A recent assessment showed that 3 out of 4 households in the northern region are “food insecure” and dependent on food assistance. Food assistance is particularly important in Mali during the lean season prior to harvest.

Teaching Tool: This interactive map will help give students a better understanding of the country. Like the Syria map, you can see a breakdown of beneficiaries, warehouses and more.

Real-life story: This is great story on a food-for-work programme in Mali. The programme helped build a dam that stored water from the rainy season so farmers could use it during the dry season. This gives farmers better food security and an ability to diversify food products.


A woman hands WFP food to a young girl in HaitiAs the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti is essential for lessons on hunger. Three out of four Haitians live on less than US$2 a day, and half live on less than US$1 a day. In a country of about 10 million people, about 6.7 million are considered food insecure.

Teaching Tool: Statistics on nutrition in children are staggering:  one-third of newborns are born underweight, 5-10% of children are acutely malnourished, 23.4% of children are chronicly malnourished, and two-thirds of children under 5 are affected by anemia. This video explains some of the causes of severe malnutrition in the country.

Real-life story: A drought, Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy made it difficult for families to grow food and recover. Many families are supported by food rations in the community. Read about some of these families here.


Ishimare Sungundai with his wife and eight children sit in front of a house in their village in ZimbabweIn Zimbabwe, food insecurity was triggered by drought, poor harvest, natural disaster, high unemployment and more. There are currently large-scale food relief operations here. According to a recent study, 2.2 million people will need food assistance during the lean season this year, the most since early 2009.

Teaching Tool: This Food Insecurity Update only explains the impact of a harsh rainy season followed by drought conditions in Zimbabwe, and gives an update on other countries facing insecure food situations in other parts of the world.

Real-life story: This photo gallery shows how hard the poor harvests can hit families. Ishimare Sungundai wasn’t able to harvest anything this year because of the poor rains, so his family had to survive on only his wife’s firewood sales.


A little girl eats WFP biscuits in BangladeshBangladesh is one of the most natural-disaster prone countries in the world. These conditions exacerbate child undernutrition levels and poverty. 48 million people live below the poverty line. 16 percent of children under five are acutely undernourished. One-quarter of women are too thin for their height, and risk of early pregnancy and low newborn birth weight is high. In addition, stunting affects about 41 percent of children under 5.

Teaching Tool: Several photo galleries display the impact of WFP’s school feeding programmes. This one explains how school feeding encourages nomadic children to go to school. This one explains the launch of a home-grown school meals initiative and impacts on the community. This one explains the importance of these programmes for nutrition, school enrollment and more.

Real-life story: Projects supporting women have also made great progress in Bangladesh. After participating in a WFP programme sponsored by the European Union teaching entrepreneurship and other skills, Rashida helped increase her household income and even won a local election.

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(From the second photo: Copyright: WFP/Fama Diouf; Copyright: WFP/Elio Rujano; Copyright: WFP/Victoria Cavanagh; Copyright: WFP/Kauser Haider)