WASHINGTON — Twenty years ago, an estimated one billion people were considered chronically undernourished. As of 2015, the number has dropped to less than 800 million people dealing with food insecurity and hunger in developing nations. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, these numbers are continuing to shrink and at a rate faster than at any other point in history.
International aid in combination with governmental support has been largely responsible for these tremendous strides. The following are five organizations that are fighting world hunger and making a difference through direct-action, activism and advocating for governmental intervention:
Action Against Hunger/ACF International
Working in more than 45 countries, Action Against Hunger is an international humanitarian nonprofit focused on ending world hunger through creating sustainable community solutions. An action-based organization, ACF directs donation funds to on-the-ground solutions. For every dollar donated in 2014, $0.93 was used in direct aid activities, administered by more than 6,500 field staff, the group says.
In 2014, ACF reached more than 13.5 million people with self-sustaining clean water and nutrition. ACF is also committed to helping communities during times of conflict, often being among the first non-governmental organizations (NGO) to respond to international crises.
Bread for the World
Since its founding in 1974, this Christian-based, NGO nonprofit has been advocating for the end of global hunger through influencing U.S. policymakers to strengthen and improve U.S. international aid programs.
Each year Bread for the World devises a policy-change agenda that is pursued through a combination of individual engagement, communities reaching out to their congressional leaders and through the organization lobbying Congress directly.
Heifer International was founded in 1944 by Dan West who was Midwestern farmer in the U.S. After serving as a relief worker during the Spanish Civil War, West realized that the method of giving refugees each a cup of milk was not enough to fight hunger in a lasting way. He thought that although milk was a good start, a cow would be even better.
Today, Heifer International donates animals to communities with a long history of hunger. The animals may include a cow, goat, water buffalo, chicken, pig, honey bees, etc. and they are given to a family along with training about how to raise and farm the animals.
These animal gifts turn into income through the sale of milk, eggs, wool, honey, manure for fertilizer and more. When the first female offspring is born, the originally gifted family passes her on to another family in the community along with the training they received. This builds a momentum of lasting change, lifting entire communities out of hunger and poverty.
The Hunger Project
Founded in 1977, this nonprofit spans 22 countries and works strategically towards the creation of a sustainably hunger-free world. The Hunger Project’s mission is to end global hunger and poverty with sustainable, women-centered, grassroots strategies and to advocate for the adoption of these strategies in nations throughout the world.
The Hunger Project’s programs are intended to empower individuals living in rural communities. Training activities focus on three tenants: empowering women as key change agents, mobilizing communities for self-reliant action, and fostering effective partnerships with local governments. The organization currently reaches and benefits 20.6 million people.
Food for the Hungry
Food for the Hungry is a Christian organization founded in 1971 that focuses on creating community sustainable solutions. Eighty-four percent of donations go toward sustainable community development, such as food supplies, agricultural development and clean water.
One of the organization’s most famous aid projects is its child sponsorship program. For $35 a month, the program comes into rural and hunger-stricken communities to facilitate the infrastructure necessary for the sponsored children to grow and thrive.
Food for the Hungry has been so successful in helping lift communities out of hunger and poverty that the organization receives funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in order to be able to reach more communities around the world.
These are just a few of the many efforts working to end global hunger and poverty and improving the lives of millions of people around the world.
Sources: Action Against Hunger/ACF International, Bread for the World, FAO, FAO 2, Food for the Hungry, Heifer International, The Hunger Project
Photo: Action Against Hunger