Christian Aid Week challenges global hunger

Jabulisa Ndlovu gives a drink of clean water to his daughter, Sharon. The difference between life before and after the Bhejela Garden is stark for Jabulisa, 42, and his wife Zuzeni. Before, it was a struggle to put food on the table – now they eat a wide range of healthy and nutritious food. Cooking oil is no longer a luxury item for them, and Jabulisa even owns a bicycle which helps him sell any surplus crops to surrounding homesteads and villages.(Photo: Christian Aid)

Christian Aid Week kicks off on 12 May and the development agency will be using it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the one in eight people who go to bed hungry each night.

People across the UK will be fundraising to 'bite back at hunger' - the theme for this year's Christian Aid Week.

It wants people to think more about why, in a world where there is enough food for everyone, millions are still struggling without enough to eat every day.

According to Christian Aid, hunger is the world's biggest health risk, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. A third of all child deaths in developing countries are linked to hunger.

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."

Christian Aid is supporting people in places like Matabeleland, in Zimbabwe, through the work of the Dabane Trust.

The area is affected by drought and in 2011, more than 70% of households did not harvest enough food to make it through the year. Most were forced to have just one meal a day to survive.

The Dabane Trust helped the community build a sand dam on a dry river bed to secure a constant supply of water.

The families have learned how to adapt their farming methods in order to cope with the increasingly arid environment.

Two market gardens with water holes now provide the community with much needed clean and safe water for them and their crops.

Food grown by the community is processed and packaged at a new processing centre and cold storage facility. Farmers pay a small membership fee but this is compensated by the increase in earnings from their crops.

In Bolivia, Christian Aid is working with indigenous communities in Beni, the second poorest region in the country.

Many communities have been displaced as a result of deforestation, floods and droughts. Christian Aid partner, the Centre for Research and Training of Peasants is helping them to grow and maintain organic cocoa groves.

The area is ideal for cocoa tree-growing and the trees are able to cope well with natural disasters. The income from cocoa is also higher than what they were able to receive through traditional rice growing.

They are now building a chocolate processing factory to further develop this local sustainable industry.

Christian Aid is also helping people in Beni secure land rights as their traditional homelands are coming under threat from large companies and cattle ranchers.

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.

The focus on hunger ties in with Christian Aid's participation in the Enough Food For Everyone If campaign, calling upon the UK Government to take action to end global hunger.

Mr Langley said: "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."

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