SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — There is a high poverty rate, but many nonprofit organizations are taking the necessary steps to help reduce poverty, such as Action Against Hunger. Through the help of an 8,300 motivated staff, Lawrence Dreyfuss, the Communications Officer from Action Against Hunger, recounts the success and lives it has helped throughout the world. Here is how Action Against Hunger is helping end poverty.
What is Action Against Hunger?
Action Against Hunger is a nonprofit organization that emerged in 1979, working to identify and remove the causes and effects of hunger in the most vulnerable countries, focusing on children and their families. When a group of French academics, scientists and doctors came together, they became the first to create a nonprofit organization focusing on hunger and malnutrition while looking for a more efficient way to combat hunger throughout the world.
To add, these scientists researched the best methods to treat malnutrition and developed a formula to treat malnourished children. Since its inception, Action Against Hunger has helped more than 45 countries improve their nutrition and health, water, sanitation and hygiene.
Action Against Hunger focuses on helping children because child poverty can lead to physical and mental damage, such as stunt growth and health issues, causing them to fall behind in school. Once the children strengthen their bodies and develop healthy minds, they can continue going to school, which will open new opportunities, resources and skills to break the cycle of poverty.
How Action Against Hunger is Helping End Poverty
The number one reason why there is hunger and malnutrition in the world is due to poverty. The lack of resources and job opportunities in poorer countries leaves people unable to afford basic necessities for their families. In fact, climate, conflict and economic shutdown are other factors.
In an interview with The Borgen Project, Lawrence Dreyfuss provides insights on how the organization’s work ties into ending poverty in two different ways.
When treating malnourished children, community health workers and clinics from Action Against Hunger provide “ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), which is a high-calorie, nutrient-filled ready-to-eat therapeutic peanut paste, often called Plumpy Nut,” stated Dreyfuss. For those that need it, medical care is available to help regain their strength and improve their health. They will be able to obtain a job with a steady income to help their families move out of poverty.
Dreyfuss also explained that the organization is helping to end poverty by educating families and providing them with resources, such as solar-powered irrigation systems, to access nutritious food despite the changing climate and environments. In fact, the organization brought together a group of women to teach them how to grow crops and ways to make a profit to feed their families and others to help fight poverty.
Action Against Hunger Success Stories
As the world’s only nonprofit organization focusing on the issues of hunger and malnutrition, Action Against Hunger has had a lot of success centering on the people most in need.
Somalia, one of the poorest countries in the world, is experiencing a drought affecting its agriculture. In the past, Somalians had access to water located underground, but they needed diesel-irrigation systems to pump out the water. Since many families cannot afford this machinery, Dreyfuss explained that the organization is helping end poverty by teaching the farmers to use solar-powered generators to pump water from wells.
Kenya experienced a drought that resulted in many families being unable to feed their children and family members. Without any food available, they lacked essential mineral and nutrient intakes. As a result, Action Against Hunger “set up local mother-to-mother support groups where women work together to maintain Kitchen Gardens. They use innovative techniques to grow vegetables,” said Dreyfuss.
Action Against Hunger believes it needs to focus on the people the most in need to eliminate hunger in other countries.“Long-term solutions must empower community members on the ground to effect positive change in their communities,” Dreyfuss explains.
For example, Anceran Asheri lived in Tanzania with her husband and children before Action Against Hunger implemented a food security project in the area. When Asheri heard about it, she immediately applied. “She was taught how to grow and store her own vegetables using the limited resources at her disposable,” said Dreyfuss.
Has COVID-19 Affected Their Future Work?
In 2020, COVID-19 spread throughout the world and impacted the goals of Action Against Hunger. For example, due to the pandemic, 70% more people are experiencing hunger in their daily lives, according to Dreyfuss. This is because COVID-19 resulted in the disruption of supply chains and the closure of borders.
Before, the organization’s main goal was to provide essential health services, but now it focuses on providing emergency response to the pandemic. In fact, the organization “established quarantines and treatment hospitals in Mogadishu,” said Dreyfuss.
Now, Action Against Hunger is the main organization distributing the vaccine for those in the area. While it is trying to help with COVID-19, Action Against Hunger is helping end poverty by fighting hunger in these communities.
Upcoming Project and Goals
The work of the Action Against Hunger organization never ends. Action Against Hunger is helping end poverty through upcoming projects and major goals it wants to focus on and achieve. First, “our major goals at the moment are to help communities prevent and respond to hunger as a result of climate change, COVID-19 and conflict,” said Dreyfuss.
The organization hopes to help families adapt to difficult weather conditions and environmental changes they will experience to ensure they have food regardless. With COVID-19, the organization hopes to provide sanitary facilities to reduce the spread of the virus and maintain hygiene. Lastly, Action Against Hunger will continue addressing hunger and treat malnourished children.
With determination and motivation from the staff at Action Against Hunger, it can tackle hunger and malnutrition, helping reduce poverty in the world. Having the knowledge and resources to share with others, the organization helps improve the lives of many by making their lives more convenient and restoring their independence.
– Kayla De Alba