I originally started this blog out of an overwhelming desire to help the world’s neediest. As a result, this week I am going back to the ‘basics’ and looking for ways that I can help to combat global hunger. You may think that the only way we can contribute to this major issue is by giving money to aid organisations and charities. The trouble with this approach is that it can be too easy to assume that this money will not be spent efficiently and we immediately find an excuse not to get involved. Really, there is no excuse for pretending that it is okay for one billion people to go to bed hungry tonight. There are a number of startling facts about hunger on the World Food Programme website. How is it, in a world where there is more than enough to go around, we allow five million children to die as a result of under-nutrition each year in developing countries? It breaks my heart to think that the £14billion worth of food that UK households will throw away this year could save those lives.
So, instead of justifying my ignorance, I have found a number of alternative ways that I can make a difference. The Freerice website will donate ten grains of rice through the World Food Programme for every answer to their questions that I get right. If I visit the site even just for five minutes a week I can provide a meal for someone. Just by taking this short quiz, a child was provided with a warm meal and I learned some really interesting statistics about global hunger. It is also up to all of us to call on our governments to make changes to policies that will tackle malnutrition. Signing this petition generates a letter to Andrew Mitchell, the UK Secretary of State for International Development, asking that the UK government sets out a clear action plan on how it intends to tackle child under-nutrition to give more children a better chance in life.
While action is vital to ending global hunger, I truly believe that knowledge is also instrumental in bringing about change. If we all remain ignorant about the vast issues surrounding hunger, nothing will change and people will continue to starve to death. The Guardian has a comprehensive website dedicated to up-to-date news on global development and in-depth coverage of progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the first of which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The Global Poverty Project has numerous blogs about hunger and a list of books that detail the issues of poverty that so many face around the world.
By continually exposing myself to the issues surrounding global hunger I am disallowing apathy to overtake my compassion for the millions of people who suffer through no fault of their own. In a world where we are all so intrinsically connected to another, I simply cannot justify my ignorance. Yet, I know this is really a story of hope; as long as I am able, there is something that can be done. It just takes few clicks of the mouse and five minutes of my day; five minutes I probably would have spent doing something frivolous anyway. Let’s make today count, not just for ourselves but for those who need it the most.
PS. I have tragically misplaced my little notebook that contains all my ‘small change’ ideas. So, if anyone has a grand idea for a small change that I can make then do let me know!