World Food Day 2015: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty

October 13, 2015

On October 16, join The Hunger Project in celebrating World Food Day—a day to heighten public awareness about the interconnection of agriculture, food security and world hunger. The theme, “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty,” underscores the reality that agriculture alone cannot sustain the cultivation of food; social protections are critical to the world’s most vulnerable, especially in times of crisis.

About one billion people in developing countries live in extreme poverty. Seventy-eight percent of them live in rural areas, where agriculture is the main driving force of the rural economy and, in some cases, of the whole economy. Enhancing the productivity and incomes of smallholder family farmers is key to progress and the reduction of hunger.

Social protection programs, such as public works projects, can raise farm incomes and boost agricultural productivity. In countries where women have limited access to land, financial services, technologies and labor, social protection programs can make a marked difference, in particular by preventing maternal and child malnutrition. Moreover, it has been repeatedly shown that social protection interventions have a greater impact on education, health and nutritional outcomes when women are directly included.

And, evidence shows that when poor rural households are provided with social assistance, they are better able to manage risks and shocks. When women feel more financially secure, they tend to increase their investments in agricultural assets and engage in more profitable livelihoods—in addition to providing for their families.

The Hunger Project provides these types of social protections. Examples include ensuring communities have access to credit through our Microfinance Program, building essential skills through trainings and workshops, focusing on maternal and child health and education, especially within the first 1,000 days, and empowering women, who are the key drivers in ending hunger and poverty. The Hunger Project also supports ending child marriage in the communities where we work—and ending child marriage is key to breaking the cycle of malnutrition. Watch this video to learn more about how the two are connected.

In addition to social protections, we know that empowering communities to take charge of their own development is to ending hunger. Learn more about how The Hunger Project invests in the leadership of communities and women. When our rural partners have the opportunity to gain leadership skills, they become critical change agents for a sustainable and well-nourished world.

Learn More:

Fact sheet: Investing in Nutrition to Achieve Sustainable Development
The Cost of Childhood Undernutrition 
The Cycle of Malnutrition