If weather conditions, wars or government policies result in the widespread scarcity of food, we say there is a famine. In 2005, the UN developed a system to classify hunger cases as a famine or not. In this classification, there should be the following conditions:
1. At least 20% of the population has access to fewer than 2,100 kilocalories of food a day
2. Acute malnutrition in more than 30% of children
3. Two deaths per 10,000 people, or four child deaths per 10,000 children every day.
This classification helps aid agencies to prioritize their programmes.
We say there is food security when people have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food always, and are able to maintain a healthy life. The three points under food security include food availability, food access, and food use. Each time there is an absence of any of these, ‘food insecurity’ is around the corner!
This is when a child fails to reach linear growth potential as a result of poor nutrition, health (disease) or otherwise. This condition is usually associated with low socio-economic wellbeing. It is also associated with prolonged exposure to adverse conditions such as diseases or poor feeding habits during the first few years of childhood.
The Millennium Development Goals
In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge turned into the eight Millennium Development Goals.
The goals are:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development