What You Should Know About Hunger in Rwanda

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SEATTLE — Hunger in Rwanda is a significant problem. Rwanda is home to more than 100,000 refugees, and 37 percent of Rwandan children under five are chronically malnourished.

Rwanda is one of the least developed countries in Africa, dealing with low incomes and food deficits. The already-low food resources are strained by a large Congolese and Burundian refugee population. Refugees are hosted in five camps that rely on help from the World Food Programmme (WFP). The WFP works in Rwanda as part of the “One U.N.” agenda, bringing in food and humanitarian assistance. However, even though malnutrition has decreased, food security still needs improvement.

Rates of stunting and anemia have decreased, but rates of malnutrition have not decreased enough. More children in rural areas suffer the effects of hunger than in urban places: 47 percent of children in rural areas are stunted, compared to 27 percent of children in urban areas. Areas with the highest rates of food insecurity have the highest rates of stunting. Malnutrition in children is a symptom of both food insecurity and poverty, and all of these factors are part of hunger in Rwanda.

Larger factors, such as climate and conflict, play roles as well. Changing weather patterns have resulted in changes in rainfall, bringing droughts and floods. Farmers are trying to adjust to the changing climate, but they are dealing with different soil conditions than they’re used to. Farmers are dealing with exhausted soil, but are too poor to let it lie inactive. Thus, food insecurity brings with it the risk of conflict over land and water, which can then lead to famine.

Hunger in Rwanda can be attributed to several factors, which organizations such as the WFP are combatting. Some solutions are broad, such as changing social policies to combat malnutrition, while others are targeted, such as sending on-the-ground aid to the hungry.

Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr

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Chavez Spicer

Chavez lives in Indianapolis, IN.

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