Why hunger?

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Why hunger?

Concern Worldwide knows hunger affects everything for the world’s poorest people. We believe no one should have to live with hunger and the damage it does. That’s why we're working for a world in which no one dies for want of safe, quality, nutritious food.

Atem Akol with his mother Adut Ariath at the Gok Machar primary health care centre, Gok Machar, Aweil North, Republic of South Sudan.

Our role

We are specialists in tackling hunger with the most vulnerable people in the world’s poorest places. For more than 40 years, we’ve been developing and delivering practical, intelligent, sustainable solutions that have transformed lives. We combine our expertise with local knowledge.

The problem of hunger 

Hunger is the world’s biggest health problem – every year it kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Right now 795 million people do not have enough to eat and the vast majority of them live in developing countries. We believe that no one should have to live with hunger and the damage it does.

Lack of food jeopardises the wellbeing of families: mothers are forced to reduce the number of meals children eat; families replace nutritious foods like vegetables and beans for staples like corn and millet. Without the right nutrients, children can’t grow up healthily, adults don’t have enough energy to work and people’s immune systems are weak, turning common infectious diseases into killers.

Tough choices

Hunger forces people to make tough choices that push them further into poverty: parents take their children out of school to work; families eat seeds that should be preserved for the next harvest. These choices make vulnerable people even more vulnerable. When disaster strikes, it’s the poorest communities – already exposed to hunger and disease – who suffer the most. 

Long-term effects 

Hunger prevents communities from escaping poverty. The long-term effects of hunger go beyond health. Poor nutrition leads to poor performance in school and fewer opportunities. Children’s brains will not fully develop and their bodies will be stunted. This has a devastating long-term effect on families, communities and countries.

In depth