Ending child hunger for good: what needs to happen and how you can help

Wednesday 13 October 2021 15:07
<p>Khadra received $600 investment capital from Save the Children to open a tea shop, after she lost her livelihood as a farmer due to drought. </p>

Khadra received $600 investment capital from Save the Children to open a tea shop, after she lost her livelihood as a farmer due to drought.

Khadra, who lives in a village in northeastern Somalia, looks after 20 children – five are her own and the rest are extended family.

You might think that having to care for so many young people would leave her with little time for much else.

But with a grant from Save the Children, she has been able to launch a tea shop, bringing much-needed income to the family and improving the lives of all the children.

Having lost her income as a farmer due to drought in the region, Khadra was helped by the charity’s Livelihoods programme, which works with people in need to help diversify their income, providing vocational, technical and entrepreneurial training, and business start-up support along with $600 investment.

With her business now thriving, her children have healthy food to eat, clothes to wear and when the local school opens, she will have the money to pay for their fees, giving them an education and a chance to break the poverty cycle and create a hunger-free future for themselves and the next generation.

Khadra’s remarkable story is just one example of many around the world where people and communities are being empowered by Save the Children via projects that tackle ingrained injustices and chart sustainable pathways out of poverty to create both immediate and lasting change.

They come at a crucial time. The huge efforts to tackle malnutrition which were achieved over the last decade have been massively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the increasingly damaging effects of climate change.

This is why Save the Children is launching a vital new initiative – the Fairness Fund – with a long-term vision for tackling hunger and a focus on fighting for systemic change. There is no easy fix for tackling hunger, but by working alongside communities and children to ensure they are given a fair chance, real progress can be made.

The Fairness Fund is a new approach which seeks to turn monthly donations – however big or small – into meaningful action, guided by transparency, ingenuity, collaboration and ambition.

The fund will enable communities to hone in on longer-term projects and work with organisations and governments to find solutions that benefit everyone.

Regular givers to the Fairness Fund are seen as investors in this long-term vision because, as the charity puts it, “that’s exactly what you’re doing – investing in the future lives of children all over the world.” Investors will receive frequent updates on Save the Children’s ongoing work and progress so they can stay close to it and the vital impact it is having both now and for the future.

Hunger is a complicated crisis. Sustained hunger can lead to malnutrition, which can have detrimental effects on a child’s mental, as well as physical, development. This is often exacerbated by the vicious cycle that plays out with malnutrition: undernourished children are more likely to grow into undernourished adults, who in turn are more likely to have undernourished children. But it is possible to break this cycle and end hunger.

With the Fairness Fund, Save the Children offers emergency relief when it is needed, such as providing therapeutic food to help those affected by malnutrition. Additionally, achieving systemic change is at the heart of its work, with a focus on promoting access to healthy foods, ending poverty and providing strong health and nutrition services that can help prevent malnutrition before it starts.

Like Khadra, eight-year-old Sahra*, along with her mother Amina*, her siblings and their extended family, also live in a small village in Somalia.

They were forced to leave their home in 2017 when many of their animals died during a severe drought, and as another drought intensifies in their region, many households are again facing severe water shortages and hunger.

Sahra (right) and her sister Adia (left) have been helped by vital, long-term projects run by Save the Children including a water trucking programme and schooling support

But the future for Sahra, Amina and their wider family is now much brighter. With a water trucking programme and support for schooling provided by Save the Children, they have been empowered to find a route out of the hunger and poverty that once blighted their lives.

The charity’s work tackling hunger and malnutrition has made a profound difference to their lives. “Before the water trucking project, we used to get water from the local borehole. But the water impacted our health. My children and the adults in the family got sick,” Amina explains. “Without the water trucking project, things would have been a lot worse.

The experiences of Khadra, Sahra and their families show there is still time to drive a step-change in the global response to malnutrition and help ensure all children have a fairer chance at life – but action must be taken now. Invest in the Fairness Fund today and help make a difference that lasts a lifetime.

Visit Save the Children’s Fairness Fund website to donate and find out how you can become part of the solution.

What is Save the Children doing to help?

  • Testing new ways of treating malnutrition in hard-to-reach communities

  • Influencing change on a bigger scale by joining forces with local, national and international organisations

  • Helping to prevent children becoming malnourished again, including carrying out research that will enable more effective solutions across the charity sector

*Children’s names have been changed to keep them safe.