This is what Plan International is doing to fight hunger

The world is facing a food crisis. 193 million people in 53 countries are in urgent need of food assistance. Due to the accumulation of conflicts, climate change and food scarcity, the future of children is at stake. So Plan International is rapidly scaling up its food, money, voucher and child protection programs in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, among other countries.

Conflicts

60 percent of hunger worldwide is caused by conflict or insecurity, according to a report by the World Food Program. In search of protection, children and families are forced to leave all their belongings behind and flee. In addition, due to the conflict in Ukraine, prices for bread and other wheat products have risen all over the world.

Climate change

Rising temperatures and persistent drought or increasingly intense rain are affecting farmers and their crops. For example, in the Horn of Africa, season after season, crops fail due to lack of rain and livestock have died or are severely weakened. As a result, farmers lose their source of income. Cattle are also an important source of baby food, but weak animals rarely produce any milk. As a result, they also hardly make any money from the livestock market.

The impact of hunger on education

How far will you walk for water or school? For 12-year-old Nasra from Tana River County in Kenya, the distance is about fifty kilometers a day. The constant drought forced her to walk longer distances to get water, which worsened the situation. Every morning and evening she walks in the hot sun with a few other girls from her village to the nearest water source, twelve kilometers away.

By the time you get back, you will be too late or too hungry to go to school. “I often get headaches,” she says. “When I’m at school, I can barely concentrate because I’m so tired and hungry.”

School is often the only place kids like Nasra get a meal, since there isn’t enough food in the house. When parents can’t pay school fees or when schools close during the holidays, these kids have nothing to eat.

As more and more children drop out and teachers migrate to other areas where there is more food or work, schools are closed. As a result, the rest of the children in the community can no longer go to school or have to walk to the nearest school.

Girls are the most vulnerable

Long walks to school and water expose girls to risks of sexual abuse and violence. “We walk long distances to school and are afraid that one day we will meet someone who abuses us,” says Habbaq, 18, from Togdir district in Somaliland. To reduce this risk, we usually collect water in groups. But if my neighbors already have water, I must I go alone.”

In many cultures in these regions, it is common for girls to cook for their families but eat last. If there is little food, they skip the meal. As a result, girls are at greater risk of hunger and malnutrition.

Dehydration also has a significant impact on hygiene. If there is not enough water for daily use, people can wash and care less. This increases the risk of infectious diseases. Girls are more at risk because good hygiene is especially important during menstruation.

More cases of child marriage, teenage pregnancy and child labor

Families often end up with food scarcity. In order to earn some extra money for the family, the kids are taken out of school to work. Out of desperation, fathers force their daughters to marry. If a girl marries, the family has one mouth to feed. The family also receives some money or livestock as dowry. After marriage, girls often get pregnant quickly and rarely go back to school.

Thirteen-year-old Faysa from Tagheer, Somalia, says she is afraid of marrying an older man. I see that many girls are sent to town to work or marry for money. Every time I see a man talking to my mother, I’m afraid they’re making a deal about me.”

This is what Plan International (among other things) is doing against hunger

Plan International is active in many of the hardest-hit countries through programs including school feeding, cash and voucher assistance, and child protection. Plan International also supports livelihood recovery and seed or livestock distribution.

South Sudan

131,000 people in Oil East, Koch, Malakal, Fashoda, Wau and Pibor are supported in their livelihoods.

• Households have access to agricultural supplies to grow their own food
• Entrepreneurs receive training in sustainable agriculture and climate
• Coupons and money to cover their basic needs

Kenya

• Distribution of money and food against direct food insecurity
• Providing daily meals in schools
• Providing ready-to-eat foods for pregnant and lactating women
• Supporting girls and women who have been married off or subjected to violence.

Ethiopia

• Distributing cash transfers to improve food security and thus prevent, for example, child labor and forced marriage
• Distribution of improved seeds for more drought-resistant crops
• Livestock vaccination to prevent further livestock deaths
• Restore degraded fields

Somalia

In Somalia, Plan International is active in the Todgheer, Sool and Bay regions.

• 18,000 people receive emergency water from trucks. Each house receives 30 liters per day.
• 17,000 people receive monthly cash transfers for food and other basic needs

Burkina Faso

• 1400 vulnerable families receive a monthly financial contribution for food
• Support for income-generating activities such as donating livestock for breeding

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