World Hunger Day is observed every May 28 to raise awareness about the more than 820 million people living in chronic hunger and to encourage action to bring this to an end. Can you imagine that a significant portion of the human population has suffered from hunger since the world began? Hunger is a condition in which an individual lacks the physical or financial capability to meet their nutritional needs. It leads to malnutrition, wasting, stunted growth, and death. According to The Hunger Project, hunger kills more than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, and it’s primarily prevalent in Africa and South America.
History of World Hunger Day
Hunger is a condition affecting humanity since the beginning of history, but so is the collective fight against it. According to the philosopher Simone Weil, people have always worked together to ensure that the hungry are fed. In ancient Egypt, people helped the hungry to justify their deeds in the afterlife. Also, before the introduction of markets, Weil says human societies shared their food to avoid hunger or chose to starve together. Before the 19th century, religious organizations and philanthropic individuals usually led hunger relief efforts. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, people began calling for government involvement in hunger relief, especially the global action against hunger. One of the initiatives the U.S. government embarked on during that period was shipping millions of tons of food to European countries during and in the years immediately after WWI
After WWII, the newly-formed United Nations began leading the fight against hunger. Following its establishment, the U.N. created FAO, W.F.P., and IFAD to promote food security and agricultural development. In the late 1970s, international organizations such as the I.M.F. and the World Bank began focusing on developing countries as starvation in countries like Ethiopia came into the global limelight. In the 20th century, the prevailing view was that hunger was a problem of demand surpassing supply. However, this view was brought to an end by the research of economist Amartya Sen, who successfully demonstrated that hunger in modern times was a distribution problem or caused by government policies in developed and developing economies. In 1998, Sen won a Nobel Prize for this research.
In 2011, the Hunger Project created World Hunger Day. The day is an initiative to highlight the plight of disadvantaged people around the world and take action to end world hunger.
World Hunger Day timeline
Ancient Egyptians give food to the hungry to justify their place in the afterlife.
People start asking governments to lead the effort against hunger.
Amartya Sen, an Indian economist, proves that hunger in modern times is a problem of distribution or government policies.
The Hunger Project launches World Hunger Day as an initiative to end global hunger.
World Hunger Day FAQs
Which country is the hungriest?
According to the 2021 Global Hunger Index, Somalia is most affected by hunger and malnutrition. Other countries with high levels are Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen.
Why World Hunger Day is observed?
World Hunger Day is observed to raise awareness about world hunger and drive action to end hunger everywhere.
Why is Africa hungry?
The principal cause of hunger in Africa is poverty. That is followed by climate and weather, conflict, unstable markets, and poor agricultural investments.
How to Observe World Hunger Day
Volunteer at your local food bank
Food banks are charitable organizations that distribute food to those without the finances to purchase enough for themselves. Volunteer at a food bank in various capacities, including fundraising, social media management, organizing food drives, and awareness campaign management. Check online for a food bank close to you.
Donate to charity
If you don’t have the time or resources to volunteer, start donating a weekly or monthly token to a non-profit that works on hunger. That could be a food bank, a soup kitchen, or a hunger project. Research for one that fits your ideal, get their account details, and start making donations.
Social media is usually the go-to platform for raising awareness about anything. Use your social media account to draw attention to the plight hungry people suffer around the world. Stress how actions like sustainable eating to reduce food wastage, donating excess food items to soup kitchens or food banks, and tasking governments to do more to end hunger.
5 Important Facts About Hunger
Seventeen million babies are born undernourished each year as their mothers are malnourished.
11% of the world’s population is hungry
Around 805 million people go to bed undernourished or hungry every night.
The world has enough food
Global food production is sufficient to feed all seven billion people on the planet.
Economic growth doesn’t reduce hunger
India has experienced increased economic growth in recent years but about 14% of its population remains undernourished.
Where the hungry live
About 98% of global hunger is concentrated in underdeveloped countries.
Why World Hunger Day is Important
The day increases awareness of global hunger
The website for World Hunger Day reveals various statistics on how hunger affects disadvantaged people around the world. The Hunger Project, the organizers of World Hunger Day, also hosts physical and online events and promotions to make these statistics public knowledge and garner action.
It contributes to reduced hunger
World Hunger Day not only focuses on awareness but also on deriving meaningful action. It motivates and encourages organizations and individuals to contribute in one way or the other to reducing hunger in their communities. It also calls for action from governments to develop better food security policies.
It promotes global health
Undernourishment, which results from hunger, is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. By driving efforts to deal with hunger, World Hunger Day invariably contributes to an improvement in global health.
World Hunger Day dates