- About Hunger
- How to End Hunger
- Our Impact
- Get Involved
By Faustine Wabwire, Bread for the World Institute
I just concluded a visit to Kenya, where I visited smallholder farmers, businesses, and agro-pastoralists. One of the places I visited, Marigat, is a settlement in the lowlands of Baringo County. It was in Marigat that I met Rose, a 97-year-old great-grandma. During our visit, she wanted to know if it was indeed true that President Obama had promised that there would be an end to hunger soon. She had heard that he had made this commitment during his visit to Nairobi a few days earlier.
It was a refreshing experience — partly because I got to listen and learn from the real-life experiences of people whose lives are impacted by the policies I work on — agriculture, food security and nutrition, trade, and climate change, among others.
Marigat is generally very dry. Residents depend on subsistence farming — they cultivate tomatoes, watermelon, onions. Because the dry conditions limits their crop options, they also rear small livestock — chicken, sheep, and goats. Bee keeping is a crucial livelihood strategy as well. In fact, Marigat residents were quick to tell me that they produce the best honey in the country, but they struggle to market it.
Rose is part of a 10-member women’s group that works together to earn a living. Each morning, they walk for approximately 10 miles to an area where they pick up stones and break them down — by hand — to marram. Later, they sell the marram.
But why does this group of elderly women work at something so strenuous? Aren’t there other, more manageable ways to generate some income?
Rose explained to me that previously, she would join other members of her community to cultivate crops. She also raised livestock. She flourished. But with time, those efforts have been consistently frustrated by insufficient rainfall and increasingly prolonged drought cycles. Rose says that over the years, hunger and malnutrition have increased in her village, and she believes that the harsh, unpredictable weather patterns that have caused crop and livestock failure have a lot to do with it. Excessively high temperatures have reduced plant cover and left the soil bare, meaning that it erodes easily and ends up deposited in neighboring Lake Baringo.
The lake, which in past years provided fish as well as water for cultivating crops, is also under threat. Its water levels have dramatically declined — in fact, it is becoming a seasonal lake — and it is more saline, so fish stocks are declining. Efforts by the Kenyan government to save the lake and mitigate the impact of climate change on this community need additional support.
Great-grandma Rose is among millions of poor people around the world whose efforts to feed themselves are frustrated by the threat of a changing climate. Prolonged droughts not only reduce the ability of households to feed themselves — they also erode assets, such as cattle, making it difficult to recover and even more difficult to be prepared for future droughts.
Reduced crop production also causes food prices to rise, increasing the risk of hunger and malnutrition.
As President Obama and the global community prepare to launch the world’s new Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations General Assembly next week (September 25-27), Rose hopes that commitments to end hunger and extreme poverty truly “leave no-one behind.” Leaders should prioritize strengthening community resilience through “multiple-benefit” approaches that can both improve agricultural production and reduce climate risks:
"Don’t get tired of pushing our own government and President Obama to help us fight climate change… We can grow our own food and nourish our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren if climate change stops. Enda na Mungu — Swahili for 'Go with God.'" — Great-grandma Rose
Faustine Wabwire is the senior foreign assistance policy analyst at Bread for the World Institute
Photo: Ms. Wabwire, Grandma Rose, and other community members in Marigat. Bread for the World Institute.
We can grow our own food and nourish our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren if climate change stops.
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
Even before Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, hunger and food insecurity were much more common among Puerto Ricans than among their fellow U.S. citizens in the 50 states.
Before the hurricanes, 1.5 million Puerto Ricans were food insecure. The child food insecurity rate was...
By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Margot Nitschke
Ending hunger in the United States is within reach, explain Marlysa Gamblin and Margot Nitschke, in Getting to Zero Hunger by 2030...
A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.
Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.
Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.
Bruce Puckett urged...
In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.
For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.
Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.
Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.
Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...
Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.