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One of the primary symptoms of poverty in children is hunger. The facts about hunger clearly show its relationship to other symptoms of poverty around the world such as malnutrition, low birth rate and poor health.
Hunger and malnutrition are self-perpetuating. They sap a person’s energy, strangling mental ability, exacting a price on health and making it more difficult to learn, work and lead productive lives. This is one of the most sobering facts about hunger; it steals life from the vulnerable.
Hunger is preventable, but it requires knowledge and action. The fact that the world produces more than enough food to feed the entire world population and hundreds of millions of people don’t have access to the food produced is tragic. Because of this, millions of children die from malnutrition each year.
Proper nutrition for every child in our child development programs is a priority of ours. Our child development centers provide children with nutritious meals and snacks on program activity days, and we train children about the importance of a balanced diet.
Staff members at our local church-based centers are also trained to detect malnutrition among the children they serve and take immediate action on their behalf. Often that means a program of emergency feeding and vitamin supplements for a severely malnourished child, as well as working with the child’s caregivers to ensure that meals at home meet nutritional needs.
Chronically undernourished children who manage to survive their first five years, often live with devastating results. Their bodies are stunted physically, they are highly susceptible to illness, and their brains are underdeveloped. The hope of reaching their full, God-given potential is all but shattered.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) directly parallel what Compassion does. But when it comes to goals and implementation we sometimes take a different approach. This is a quick analysis of the SDGs and how they most closely match our work, along with ways they overlap and differ.
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1 FAO, IFAD and WFP. 2015. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015. Meeting the 2015 international hunger targets: taking stock of uneven progress. Rome, FAO.
2 World Bank Group. 2016. Global Monitoring Report 2015/2016: Development Goals in an Era of Demographic Change. Overview booklet. World Bank, Washington, DC. License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO
3 UNICEF, WHO and World Bank Group. 2017. Levels and Trends in Child Malnutrition. Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates, Key findings of the 2017 edition. Washington D.C.
4 UNDP. Human Development Report 2016. Human Development for Everyone.
5 International Food Policy Research Institute. 2016. Global Nutrition Report 2016: From Promise to Impact: Ending Malnutrition by 2030. Washington, DC.