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World Hunger

New Report Confirms 811 Million People Living In Hunger 

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The UN-led 2021 ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ Report finds that up to 811 million people globally are living in hunger amid the pandemic. 

It’s no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted progress towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including ending hunger. In fact, it’s looking more likely that the world won’t reach these goals any time soon – that is, if the global community continues “business as usual” instead of rethinking what’s possible and implementing new ways of thinking, being and acting to create a world that works for everyone.  

The 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report (SOFI) sets out this new reality. According to the report, up to 811 million people are living in chronic, persistent hunger – that is 161 million more people than in 2019. It says, “Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns are the major drivers slowing down progress [towards ending hunger], particularly where inequality is high. The COVID-19 pandemic made the pathway towards [Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger] even steeper.” 

Additional Findings of the 2021 SOFI Report 

  • Nearly 420 million people living in hunger are in Asia, over 280 million live in Africa, and at least 60 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
  • Moderate or severe food insecurity has been climbing slowly for 6 years and now affects more than 30% of the world population. 
  • The rate of undernourishment rose from 8.4% in 2019 to 9.9% in 2020. 
  • Without significant modifications to the world’s current global strategy, around 660 million people may still live in hunger in 2030, the date set by the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve Zero Hunger.

The Hunger Project has always believed in a world that works for everyone. Clearly, with hundreds of millions of people still living without enough food – or the right kinds of food – to eat, the world isn’t working for anyone. Together as a global community we need to continue finding new, bold approaches that go to the root cause of problems and create sustainable solutions. That’s what we’re doing at The Hunger Project. We’d love for you to join us on this exciting and meaningful mission. Interested in being part of the solution? Give now, sign up to our mailing list or follow us on social media. 

The 2021 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report was published jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). 


Meet Cheikh Diouf.

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Originally published by The Hunger Project Nederland

Cheikh Diouf from Ndié has been a member of the grain bank at Ndereppe Epicentre, Senegal, since the start of 2006. He has also become a member of the newly established farmers’ association. This has enabled him to provide his family with enough food.

“I have learnt and improved on my sowing technique and get good seeds from the grain bank. The yield from my country has increased enormously! I now harvest a greater amount with less time investment and less land. I used to grow millet on four hectares of land — now I only need two hectares. On the remaining two hectares I can grow peanuts and beans, some for my family and some for sale. ”

Cheikh Dioud, member of the grain bank - Senegal - Ndereppe - Johannes Odé - 300x300In his house, Cheikh has six barrels of millet — a few in the storehouse and a few in the bedroom.

“I have enough supplies at home to feed my family. I have two women, nine children and many grandchildren living with me. One barrel, which holds 250 kilos, can last three months. With the six we have enough millet to get through the year! I don’t have to buy millet at the grain bank, but it is good that this facility is present for others. ”

As an Animator (local volunteer leader) with The Hunger Project, Cheikh provides information about sowing techniques and food security to his fellow villagers. He is also a member of the food security village committee.

“Being a member of the grain bank has enabled so much for me. I no longer have any problems feeding my family. My fellow villagers and I have more knowledge about agriculture, and the village has gained a greater sense of community and solidarity.”

How The Hunger Project is working to combat climate change.

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The Hunger Project’s mission is to end hunger by 2030 through sustainable, holistic solutions. Due to climate change, levels of people living in hunger have been on the rise since 2015. Understanding how climate change affects the communities where we work is critical to provide the resources and capacity-building needed to better prepare the communities to respond to climate risks.

Climate change and poverty reduction are intertwined. The vast majority of people in hunger live in rural regions. They rely heavily on agriculture and their well-being closely tied to the natural environment. They are especially vulnerable to extreme weather events like droughts and flooding, which are often exacerbated by climate change. Weather-related events linked to climate change affect food availability in many countries and contribute to the rise in food insecurity. Climate-related events can limit food accessibility and availability through a number of channels. Drought is especially dangerous to communities as it diminishes livestock and agricultural productivity, thus instigating more broadly held grievances.

Improving environmental and climate resilience in rural communities is crucial to our work. We empower the communities we work in with the tools, skills and resources they need to adapt to climate risks and protect their future through our Climate Resilience program. This includes working on environmental sustainability, sustainable agriculture, climate adaption and risk management. These are some of the initiatives that we work on with our village partners.

Promote sustainable farming practices

At our epicentres in Africa, partners create community farms where villagers learn composting, intercropping and other methods to improve crop yields, restore soil fertility and make the best use of scarce resources.

Increase access to sustainable agriculture technology

The Hunger Project provides training and credit, mobilising people to adopt sustainable agricultural technology and practices, and encouraging them to demand agricultural extension services from their government.

Raise awareness of and build capacity to adapt to climate change

In India, The Hunger Project and its partners hold workshops to build our partners’ capacity to exercise leadership, take steps to reduce their vulnerability and formulate strategies to mitigate climate change risks. At the regional and international level, we also advocate for the conservation of natural resources, the mitigation of the harmful effects of extractive industries, and the recovery and promotion of traditional knowledge and technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions.

Facilitate reforestation and tree-planting campaigns

Throughout our program countries, trained village partners establish tree nurseries to reforest their communities and control soil erosion. These can also become entrepreneurial village businesses, supplying families with fruit trees that not only capture carbon but also provide nutrition and income.

Form Climate Committees

Along with training all of our Animators (local volunteer leaders) on climate change in their communities, Climate Committees are formed across our epicentres in Africa. These committees are made up of at least 50% women as well as youth participants who lead activities, promote and create partnerships, support farmers to adapt to changes and help produce and review the communities action plan against climate change.

The communities we work with have proven their resilience in the face of harsh conditions time and time again and, equipped with the right tools, will continue to do so. 


Our year in numbers

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Our year in numbers around the world



  • 15.9 million people reached across 12,900 communities
  • 41 Epicentre communities now self-reliant – home to 700,000 people!
  • 444,000 Animators trained to lead change in their communities
  • $80 million savings in our Microfinance loan program in Africa
  • 1 million children vaccinated against preventable diseases
  • See more in our 2018 Annual Report 


Our year in numbers in Australia



  • Through the #OpenForBusiness Christmas campaign, the funds raised could provide 1,946 women with microfinance loans and financial literacy training
  • Over 25 events around Australia, including 4 Animator Collective events in QLD, WA, NSW and VIC
  • 38 Animators went on 3 Leadership Immersion Programs  to experience our work
  • 12 partners participated in our Unleashed campaign raising $108,000 to educate and empower women so they can end hunger for themselves, their families and their communities
  • 29 people served on our Boards including 9 people who joined our new Youth Board
  • 5 Australian-funded Epicentre communities reached Self-Reliance — Sanar (Senegal), Mbale (Uganda), Chokwe (Mozambique), Wurib (Ethiopia) and Bougue (Burkina-Faso)


Faces of The Hunger Project



Behind each of these numbers is our global community of people working within their own communities for the end of hunger. Here are the top five stories of people we want to share:

Stella’s Story.

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We will never forget the look on Stella’s face when she described having no choice but to marry off her 14-year old grand-daughter, Emilida, to keep the other three children in her care alive. Stella’s eyes were heavy. The shame she felt was etched on her face. No choice. What would you do? Save three children or potentially lose four?

Stella’s daughter and son-in-law had died of HIV and Stella had taken on the care of their children. Suddenly, she had four children she couldn’t afford to raise.

Stella’s grand-daughter, Emilida, was married off at 14 to a man twice her age. One day, while Emilida was at the markets, she was approached by two Women’s Empowerment Animators (local volunteer leaders) trained by The Hunger Project. The Animators asked Emilida why she wasn’t at school and why she was so dirty. After confiding in them about her marriage, the Animators and Emilida returned to her Grandmother’s house and spoke to her about the negative impact of child marriage and the importance of education. The group decided that it was time to take action.

They went to the village chief and had Emilida’s marriage annulled.

The Women’s Empowerment Animators empowered Stella with the knowledge and resources she needed to transform her family’s life. Now, Stella farms maize and sells firewood to earn an income. She re-enrolled Emilida in school and is an advocate for girls education.  Stella has also become a Women’s Empowerment Animator, so that she can empower other women and girls in her community.

Emilida’s vision is to one day become a teacher so that, she too can empower others through education.

This is not a story of despair. This is a story of hope, courage, transformation and possibility for the future. Leadership is not about having influence or power. Leadership is having a clear vision and having the determination, courage and passion to achieve it.

Find out more about our Leadership Immersion Programs.

The Dr. Badiul Majumdar Series: How We Shift Mindsets

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This is the third video in our special series with Dr. Badiul Majumdar, Country Director of The Hunger Project Bangladesh.

He discusses how The Hunger Project shifts mindsets of people living in hunger from one of dependency to empowerment through our Vision, Commitment, Action workshops.


Video credit: 

Invest in a hunger-free Bangladesh here.

The Dr. Badiul Majumdar Series: Vision for Bangladesh

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Dr. Badiul Majumdar, Country Director of The Hunger Project Bangladesh, visited Australia recently and talked at a number of events around the country.

Our team in Bangladesh are executing community-led initiatives and solutions to address the extreme cycle of hunger and poverty that exists in their country. We sat down with Dr. Badiul Majumdar to interview him about the work that he and his team are carrying out.

Watch the first video in our special series with Dr. Badiul Majumdar in which he discusses his vision for a hunger-free Bangladesh.

Video credit:

The Dr. Badiul Majumdar Series: Hosniara’s Story

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Dr. Badiul Majumdar, Country Director of The Hunger Project Bangladesh, tells the story of a young woman named Hosniara from Bangladesh who transformed her situation after taking part in training with The Hunger Project.

How Climate Change is Causing Levels of Hunger to Rise

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Despite increased efforts to end hunger by 2030, the amount of people living in chronic hunger has risen since 2015. The number of people living in hunger is now 821 million people, which corresponds to roughly one in nine people. One of the main culprits? Climate change.

When you think about climate change, it brings about images of melting ice caps and barren land. You may not associate it with world hunger.

However, as global warming increases, levels of hunger become more prevalent. Vulnerable communities are the most likely to suffer the effects of climate change. They lack the appropriate resources and skills to adapt and find solutions to its ever-changing effects. Furthermore, as the effects of climate change build, they cause entrenched issues that contribute to chronic hunger and will take sustained effort to reverse. Like chronic hunger, climate change is complex and multi-faceted with numerous effects. It is creating uncertainty about what the future will look like. This makes it difficult to plan and respond to environmental changes.

The UN’s latest annual report shows that the prevalence and number of undernourished people is higher in countries that are also highly exposed to climate extremes. These also tend to be the countries where the majority of the population depends on agricultural systems that rely on rainfall and consistently optimal temperatures, such as African and Latin American countries.

So how exactly does climate change contribute to world hunger?

Global Warming

It’s no surprise that temperatures are rising. The Earth’s global surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth warmest since 1880. This has a direct impact on crop farming. Each crop has an ideal temperature for growth. If the rising temperatures then exceed that optimal temperature, the yield of that crop will decline, causing a decrease in available food. Furthermore, warmer air holds more moisture and can make precipitation more intense. This can directly damage crops, resulting in decreased yields.

Unpredictable Rainfall

Patterns of rainfall are much trickier to predict than temperature. It is this unpredictability of rainfall patterns in the coming years that is making it difficult to detect patterns and adjust agricultural patterns accordingly. Unlike rising temperatures, the effects of climate change on rainfall will depend on the country. Scientists predict that rainfall will become more extreme based on current patterns, so already wet regions will become wetter and dry regions in the subtropics will become even more dry. With rising temperatures increasing the level of precipitation,  it is likely that warmer climates will experience heavier rainfall, however this will come in less frequent, more intense weather events. This could lead to more flooding and longer dry spells, both which have the potential to damage farms.

Extreme Weather Events

The UN have identified extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and heatwaves as key drivers in causing levels of hunger to rise. Like the unpredictability of rainfall, as the climate reacts in a way that hasn’t been seen before, it is difficult to predict weather patterns in different areas. Whilst developed countries are far more equipped to respond to weather crisis’, a natural disaster is a huge burden on developing countries that may not have the adequate resources and funding to respond to the damage. Responding to a weather crisis takes a toll on the resources that families and communities may have been building to help pull themselves out of hunger, as they now have to direct these to the new problem at hand.

Rise of market costs

As a roll-on effect of rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and extreme weather, produce is taking more resources to grow. As such, this might mean a higher cost when it does finally get to the market stall. If food becomes more scarce, it will become more of a valuable resource, and therefore less accessible to those who need it most.

The solution?

We can still reach our goal of zero hunger by 2030 if we take urgent action on climate change and continue to educate and empower the people living in hunger to create their own solutions to these complex problems. That’s is exactly what we do at The Hunger Project — find sustainable and holistic solutions to end hunger. Find out more about how we work and invest in a sustainable end to hunger.

Breaking the Cycle in Bangladesh

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Bangladesh has an extreme child malnutrition rate.

After a devastating famine in 1974, there was an enormous flow of aid to Bangladesh that was required to sustain the country. Reliance on foreign aid has now created a mindset of dependancy for the government and people of Bangladesh.

Twenty-four million people live below the poverty line, the majority of which are women and children. A major factor that contributes to this is the severe subjugation of women and girls that exists in Bangladesh. Discrimination starts right at birth as the birth of a boy is favoured. Girls are breast-fed  for weeks less than boys. They are fed least and last in the family. Malnourished girls are then married off young and give birth to malnourished babies. The cycle continues.


How are we breaking this cycle?

Research shows, however, that when women are empowered, all of society benefits. When women have equal rights and earn an income, they reinvest that in things like health, nutrition and education for their families. This means that they are empowering themselves and generations to come to end their own hunger.

The Hunger Project has created initiatives that break the cycle of discrimination. We train women and men as Animators (local volunteer leaders) who are deeply engaged in bringing about real and lasting change across Bangladesh. We work at a grassroots level in select rural areas to deliver training and workshops. This includes Women’s Leadership training that provides intensive education in gender equality and legal/reproductive rights to at least two women per village.

These women then become a resource to all the women in their village, launching campaigns to stop domestic violence and child marriage for good, and educating others to transform their communities so women and girls can flourish.

Invest in a hunger-free Bangladesh today.

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