Community Feeding Programmes Critical to Address Youth Hunger and Malnutrition
Written by CCFM on June 3, 2022
Breadline Africa helps address hunger and malnutrition by supporting programmes that boost community feeding and nutrition.
South Africa (30 May 2022) – Approximately 2.4 billion people globally do not have access to a sufficient supply of healthy food. World hunger is an issue that persists in society, and in South Africa, it is no different, with about 40% of South Africans going to bed hungry every night. According to recent studies, approximately 2.3 million households reported child hunger. Covid-19 has exacerbated hunger and malnutrition, along with political instability and, to an extent, climate change that impacts agricultural food production and prices.
“There are a number of circumstances that impact access to food, however, it is important to realise that the parts of society and people that are affected the most are under-resourced and low-income communities,” says Marion Wagner from Breadline Africa.
Breadline Africa has been working with low-income communities in South Africa for almost 30 years, providing infrastructures like classrooms, libraries, toilets and kitchens. Since the start of Covid-19, the organisation made a humanitarian decision to direct resources toward community feedback programmes to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.
The Mesco farming community in the Western Cape, which was referred to us by one of our partner kitchens, has been dealing with challenging circumstances that hinder the residents’ access to nutritious food. Currently, there are 65 families living in households without running water or electricity. Water is supplied by the local fire department, where residents collect their water using buckets. All cooking is done on gas or open flame, presenting a significant fire risk.
“I have to walk eight kilometres to Kraaifontein every week to work. With my weekly wage and R350 Covid-19 grant, I have to support a big family,” says Margie, a resident of the community. “I have a son, a daughter, and two grandchildren that I have to cook and provide food for. I cook only using wood fires.”
And she is not the only one, many of the residents are dealing with similar challenging circumstances.
To date, Breadline Africa has supported 44 projects, 85 communities and provided nearly 4 million meals to people in need since the start of 2020. Currently, they support 21 feeding sites, providing more than 50 000 meals a month.
“On World Hunger Day, we wanted to draw attention to the hunger crisis and malnutrition, especially in youth,” says Marion. “Young people are particularly vulnerable, with it causing stunted growth, impaired motor and cognitive development, and severe nutritional deficiencies. This significantly impacts their ability to perform in school.”
World Hunger Day, May 28, addresses the urgent need to raise awareness of the dramatic rise in hunger in recent years that is affecting populations. Malnourishment, stunting, and starvation within youth create entire generations of individuals who are born into poverty and face a steeper climb to self-reliance than their parents. With 70% of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30, organisations and programmes that increase access to food are more important than ever.