Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty

Being the first goal in the set of MDGs, it seems incomprehensible that in the year 2009 so many people are still dying due to malnutrition and hunger. Raising the world's awareness of poverty and its devastating result from hunger has been difficult because the first misconception is that people are suffering from famine due to nature. Although this is the case in some instances, it is not the norm per se. In fact, billions of people around the world chronically fall short on their daily food requirements. Sadly, many of those same people do not have access to any nourishment, nutritious or otherwise, on a regular basis.

Further, many are living in extreme poverty, absolute squalid conditions in which no living being should be expected to endure even for a minute let alone a lifetime. The second misconception stems from what people believe is poverty, a lack of money. While money would help, poverty extends to the inability to look after oneself through farming and growing local food supplies. The third misconception is the fact that citizens of industrialized nations erroneously believe that it is cheaper to live in third world countries and thus, it is okay for the people to make less than a dollar twenty-five a day. And the fact that sweatshops still exist is more than ample proof of this pathetic reality.

Consequently, to raise the awareness of this deplorable situation and to reduce the pain and suffering, the first MDG has three targets attached to it.

Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day

Target 2: Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

Target 3: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

To talk about the goals, one cannot study just the specific targets, but rather actual progress, both negative and positive. Recent reports indicate that the progress has not been successful, that in light of the current economic climate, there is no chance that poverty and hunger will be eradicated in the alloted time frame. On the other hand, if one looks at case by case instances instead of global statistics, it does remain that progress is moving forward, admittedly slower than projected.

Staying on the positive side of progress, here are a few highlights and examples of success stories.

  • Heartwarming stories from Bread for the World, a Christian Voice for Ending Hunger, include one man's vision in Ghana. Nana Ayim Poakwah is disturbed by the fact that “40 percent of its agricultural harvests go to waste. If saved, that could go a long away in feeding the 23 million people of this West African country”. So he created a “food bank” which is a systematized way of farmers getting their crops to market and getting the highest possible prices by eliminating the middlemen. Incredibly, “Ghana’s food bank initiative works with those of 13 other countries”.
  • Ending hunger comes by way of many methods. And one way is by effecting change on governments and influencing public policies. RESULTS, Creating Political Will to End Hunger, encourages people to speak out, write letters to relevant parties, and generate media bringing awareness to negative circumstances. In fact, their 2009 International Conference will be held this month (June 20-24) in Washington, DC. An annual event bringing together RESULTS activists, the conference encourages its participants to “develop relationships with other volunteers and to sharpen advocacy skills”.

Targets obtained from United Nations website. Written by Brenda and Tim Jacobs for Poverty and Healthcare. This is not an official site. More info about this site and what we're trying to do is right here.