Christian Aid Week 'bites back at hunger'

By agency reporter
May 3, 2013

Christian Aid Week (12-18 May 2013) Britain’s longest running door-to-door fundraising week, will this year be urging the British public to "bite back at hunger" and ask why, in a world where there is a enough food for everyone, one in eight people go to bed hungry every night.

Hunger is the world’s biggest health risk. It kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. In developing countries, a third of all child deaths are linked to hunger. But tackling hunger with sustainable solutions has long-term benefits. Nourished women have healthier babies, reducing hunger helps economies grow and it builds a safer and more secure world. This year’s Christian Aid Week highlights how many of the organisations it works with are helping communities to grow their way out of hunger.

In Zimbabwe the Dabane Trust is helping families in the drought-prone area of Matabeleland South to adapt to the changing climate. In 2011 more than 70 per cent of households in the area did not harvest enough food to last them for a year, and most had to reduce their meals to one per day. The Dabane Trust worked with these families to adapt their farming methods in order to cope with the increasingly arid environment. By building a sand dam on a dry river bed they were able to secure a constant supply of water. Two market gardens with waterholes now provide the community with much needed clean and safe water for them and their crops. A Processing Centre, where food grown by the community is processed and packaged, was set up, complete with a cold storage unit to keep perishables fresh. Farmers pay a small membership fee but can now earn more from their crops.

The whole community has benefited as they can now grow more food, buy locally produced foods and eat greens in the winter months, providing them with a more nutritious and varied diet throughout the year.

Another local organisation that Christian Aid supports, this time in Bolivia, works with indigenous communities in Beni, the second poorest region in the country, to secure rights to the land where they have lived for generations. Historically these families have survived by farming rice, fishing, hunting and collecting wild plants. Now, deforestation is devastating these areas; communities are displaced and increasing floods and droughts, and the threat of forest fires, leave families struggling for food.

The Centre for Research and Training of Peasants (CIPCA) is helping local communities grow and maintain organic cocoa groves. Cocoa trees grow well in Beni, are resilient to natural disasters and bring in a much higher income than other traditional crops like rice. The local cocoa crop has increased threefold in value thanks to the organisation of an association of cocoa producers setting a minimum price for the crop. They are now also building a chocolate processing factory to further develop this local sustainable industry.

Like many regions in the Amazon, Beni has fallen victim to large companies and cattle ranchers who have used threats and intimidation to force communities off their land. But through the help of CIPCA, two indigenous territories now have the legal title deeds, and an area the size of Suffolk has been officially granted to the indigenous communities, protecting it from deforestation. Over a thousand families now have secure homes, no longer face eviction and are able to grow crops to feed their families.

Paul Langley, Head of Inspiring Participation at Christian Aid, said: ‘With one in eight people in the world going to bed hungry every night, Christian Aid Week offers the British public the opportunity to bite back at hunger. The money raised will help poor communities around the world grow more food by adapting to climate change and securing land rights, so they can meet their immediate food needs.

" By taking part in Christian Aid Week people here can make a real difference to those trapped in poverty in developing countries across the world. Alongside this Christian Aid is encouraging everyone/churches to get involved in the IF campaign, which aims to tackle the root causes of hunger and ensure everyone has enough to eat in the future."

The theme of Christian Aid week ties in with the organisation’s involvement in the ENOUGH FOOD FOR EVERYONE IF campaign, launched in January. Christian Aid has joined a coalition of more than 100 development and faith organisations calling on the UK Government to take action on global hunger.

To donate to Christian Aid Week, give online at call 08080 006 006 or text ‘GIVE’ to 78866 to give £5.

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