Why should I care?

Food to us is both an essential and a luxury. Yet for the poor, something as simple as a piece of bread may already be a luxury. When we struggle with picking a main course on that fancy restaurant menu, people from the other end of the world are frantically searching for anything edible to put on their table. After a decade of steady improvements, global hunger is on the rise again. With more than 800 million people suffering from starvation worldwide (WFP, 2017), global hunger is a more pressing issue than ever.

The Asia and Pacific region (where Hong Kong is located) is home to over half of the world’s population, and the highest number of world’s hungry people are located at (UN 2018). Global hunger is not as distanced as we think it is. Yet ironically, we continue to waste tonnes of food. Solely in Hong Kong, according to the Environmental Protection Department*, there is approximately 3,600 tonnes of food wasted every day. These numbers are embarrassing and unacceptable when so many people are suffering from starvation in the world today.

Hunger happens anywhere, anytime. We, as privileged global citizens, have the power and responsibility to make a change. Take your first step, learn more about the brutal reality of hunger, and more importantly what it takes to save the lives of hungry children in the following sections. As you proceed, think of what you can do and share it with your community. Remember, together we can make the world a better place.

* Source:Monitoring of Solid Waste in Hong Kong 2016 Report, EPD


Today, more than 800 million people are undernourished, a significant increase after a decade. But ever wondered what actually is global hunger, how it is measured and its effects?

What is hunger?

Hunger doesn’t only affect one’s belly, its physical and psychological effects can be life threatening. Starvation hinders one’s growth and their ability to live their daily lives – let it be going to school, working or doing housework. Children in poverty are extremely fragile when facing hunger. Today, according to the WHO (2018) more than 5 million under five children die every year from preventable causes. Hunger and malnutrition are the underlying causes for close to half of such deaths. For more information, please see section "How Do We Measure Malnutrition in Children". To tackle this matter seriously, the United Nations has implemented the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, including eradicate hunger. But it takes more than the UN and humanitarian agencies to make it work, we need you to join us and use your power to end hunger.

How to measure food insecurity?

Food security is a problem with multiple dimensions, there isn’t a standard way to measure hunger. But for research and aid purposes, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) came up with the Voices of the Hunger survey and the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) to estimate the amount of undernourished people and the severity of their situation. The survey aims to assess people’s access to food. For example, whether they worry about running out of food and adjusting their diet to make food last – same food for every meal, cutting portions, eating a single meal a day or fasting.

Below are the questions asked in the survey:

“During the past 12 months, because of a lack of money or other resources, was there a time when…

  1. You were worried you would run out of food?

  2. You were unable to eat healthy and nutritious food?

  3. You ate only a few kinds of foods?

  4. You had to skip a meal?

  5. You ate less than you thought you should?

  6. Your household ran out of food?

  7. You were hungry but did not eat?

  8. You went without eating for a whole day?


Food insecurity is caused by a number of factors. In particular conflict and climate change account for the rise in global hunger.


Hunger perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty. When the poor are hungry, they lack strength for any kind of production. Their hunger traps them in poverty. In developing countries, many poor people cannot afford the necessary resources to produce food for themselves and do not have enough money to buy food to feed their families.

Many poor children have to sacrifice school because their families need them to find food or to do household chores. Yet education is crucial to long-term food security. Research has shown that in many countries, small-sized farm owners still have limited access to the innovations, technology, knowledge and information needed to enhance productivity and incomes (FAO, 2017).

Nature and Climate Change

With increasing environmental degradation, global climate has been changing. In recent years, we have seen more frequent, widespread and intense droughts and floods that lead to increasing crop failure, severely affecting food security in developing countries. According to UN, in 2016 Southern Africa experienced its worst drought in 35 years, with Mozambique being one of the worst-affected parts. Till this day, the region is facing great difficulties. The lack of rain has greatly reduced available agricultural products, and has left millions of people uncertain of when their next meal would be while already living with restricted water supply. The effects of climate change are permanent and long-term. Sudden climate shocks are believed to be one of the key factors for the rise of global hunger.

Conflict and War

Armed conflicts lead not only to human casualties and financial losses, but also destroy farmland and agricultural infrastructure, thereby stopping or reducing food production. Sometimes, food itself becomes a weapon. Soldiers will starve opponents into submission by seizing or destroying food and livestock and systematically wrecking local markets. Fields and water wells are often mined or contaminated, forcing farmers to abandon their land.

From Asia to Africa to Latin America, fighting displaces millions of people from their homes, leading to some of the world's worst hunger emergencies. The South Sudan civil war started in 2013, till this day, the fight is still going on. In 2017, famine was declared in parts of South Sudan. Today, there are more than 6 million people, about 60 percentage of the entire population, facing extreme starvation (FAO, 2018). The brutal war has destroyed multiple farmlands and farmers’ ability to work. Despite large-scale aids from different countries and humanitarian organisations, South Sudan will not be capable of improving their own resilience unless the constant fighting stops.

Other causes of world food crisis

A number of factors have also contributed to the recent food crisis:

  • Even in some peaceful settings, food security has deteriorated as economic slowdowns challenge access to food for the poor.
  • High fuel prices have increased the costs of producing and transporting food.
  • Increased biofuel production from food crops has resulted in higher prices for staples like maize (corn), rice and wheat.
  • Speculation by investors in food and industrial commodities markets in recent years has fuelled further price rises.
  • Protectionist trade policies and panic hoarding are preventing food from reaching markets in other countries, contributing to potentially deadly food shortages.


At times of a food crisis or a famine, the following groups often bear the brunt of the impact.

Watch this video to understand hunger's impact on children


At World Vision, we believe all children have the rights to live their lives to the fullest. But today, millions of children under 5 die from multiple causes rooted in poverty. Malnutrition in particular took away the most lives. According to WHO (2018), malnourished children are more at stake of death compared to common childhood diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, and malaria. In 2017, nutrition related factors led to about 45% of mortality in children under 5 (WHO 2018). Child hunger is often inherited. Every year, many children are born underweight, often related to inadequate nutrition in mothers before and during pregnancy.


Women are slightly more likely to be food insecure then men in every region of the world. Even though they are world's primary food producers, they are much more affected by hunger and poverty. Hunger also deprives mothers of the energy they need to care for their children. Malnourished mothers often give birth to underweight babies who are more likely to die before the age of five.

Rural poor

Poverty and hunger are inseparable. Many rural subsistence farmers that depend highly on agriculture for food are vulnerable to hunger. They have little or no alternative source of income or employment, and therefore are especially vulnerable to hunger. However, there is a rising trend for rural-urban migration where people migrate to cities in search for employment, swelling the ever-expanding populations in urban slum dwellings in developing countries.


Around the world, more than 800 million people go hungry on a daily basis. Many people usually associate hunger with Africa, but in fact, Asia Pacific are home to the majority of the hungry population! See World Food Programme’s Hunger Map to find out where people are hungry.

How We Help

Hunger is one of the world's greatest solvable problems. Together we can work towards creating a world without hunger.

What World Vision is doing:

As an international relief and development organisation, World Vision focuses its work on three key areas:



Most of our development works in different countries build upon an Area Development Programme model (ADP). We work with local communities and stakeholders to identify their needs and layout a community development framework. The long term goal is to empower the community, including sponsored children and their families, to become self-reliant.

Many ADPs will include livelihood and nutrition programmes. World Vision supports large-scale actions to prevent malnutrition at the community level in food insecure countries. This encompasses agricultural production and marketing, mother and child health and nutrition, disaster early warning, and infrastructural improvements. World Vision fosters vibrant community-based activities that develop local capacity to address food insecurity, build resilience against future shocks, and provide for a clearly articulated sustainability plan so that community residents have greater access to nutritious food. In some countries, World Vision works closely with governments as well, calling on leaders to prioritise the prevention of hunger and to convert rhetoric about hunger into concrete action.

More project examples include:

  • Providing farmers with vital food production resources, such as drought-resistant seeds and training in improved agricultural methods.
  • Helping families enhance their methods of food storage, minimise post-harvest losses, and gain access to markets where they can sell their excess crops.
  • Introducing improved livestock breeds and livestock farming techniques.

  • Enhancing environmental conservation through suitable agro forestry practices.
  • Improving access to microfinance service.
  • Promoting nutritious food intake for children, pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • Improving medical supplies of health centre, and the management of Severely Malnourished Children at Therapeutic and Stabilisation centre.
In everything we do, we put children first because they are most vulnerable to the effects of hunger.



World Vision has been helping hungry children for over six decades. In 2017, we provided food assistance to 13.3 million people in 34 countries. World Vision is also the largest distributor of food aid provided by the World Food Programme.

In 2017, 25 million people needed humanitarian assistance in East Africa, where continued conflicts and climatic issues have put South Sudan and Somalia in despair. People were forced to flee to nearby countries such as Kenya and Uganda and stayed in refugee camps. Uganda in particular is responsible for taking in most of the South Sudanese refugees. With no way to sustain themselves, these refugees can rely on food aid distributed by humanitarian organisations.

World Vision’s response in South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia:

  • Distribution of food supplies (including cooking oil, pulses and sorghum) to refugees and families suffering from food insecurity
  • Provision of nutrition supplements to malnourished children
  • Construction of water facilities and distribution of hygiene kits
  • Distribution of emergency shelters, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, blankets and other necessities
  • Provision of tools (such as fishing nets) and seeds (such as sorghum and maize) to improve their livelihood
Please join World Vision in the fight against hunger.

Education and advocacy


We share the world's needs and stories through different ways, with the hope of touching more people's lives so that in the end even more lives across the globe can be touched and transformed. They include:


Acute malnutrition

It is usually caused by a sudden lack of food — often due to a drought or other natural disasters. The telltale sign is wasting, measured by low weight in relation to height. Without sufficient food, a child's body uses energy stored in fat – eventually causing the body to break down.

Chronic malnutrition

It occurs when a child lacks sufficient nutrition over a long period of time. The telltale sign is stunting, measured by low height in relation to age. A stunted child's body and brain develop at a slower rate than normal, especially during the first 1,000 days of life. The effects are irreversible.

Corn Soy Blend (CSB)

Made by American farmers and distributed through the North American Millers' Association (NAMA), Corn Soy Blend (CSB) is a particularly effective example of in-kind commodity food aid. The nutrient-packed food is made primarily from cornmeal, soy flour, and soybean oil. It is easy to prepare and easy to digest, making it ideal for nursing severely malnourished children back to health.


A period of diminished rainfall — in both frequency and amount — lasting a season, a year, or several years. Droughts can diminish crop yields or destroy crops altogether. In many parts of the world, droughts are occurring with greater frequency and severity as a result of climate change.


A severe and widespread shortage of food, that results in large-scale starvation, malnourishment and death. In 2017, famine was declared in South Sudan, affecting 6 million people.

Food aid

Any food-supported intervention meant to improve the food security of people experiencing poverty and hunger. There are different forms of food aid, including in-kind commodity and food for work programme.

Food insecurity

Food insecurity exists when people do not have adequate physical, social or economic access to food to maintain overall health and well-being.

Food losses

Food losses refer to the decrease in edible food mass throughout the part of the supply chain that specifically leads to edible food for human consumption. Food losses take place at production, post harvest and processing stages in the food supply chain.

Food security

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.

Food waste

Food losses occurring at the end of the food chain (retail and final consumption) are rather called "food waste", which relates to retailers' and consumers' behaviour.


A general term describing any condition in which the body does not absorb enough nutrients for basic health.

In-kind commodity food aid

A form of food aid in which physical food supplies are procured, shipped, and distributed to hungry populations. Most food aid distributed through World Vision comes in this form.


It is not the sensation of hunger pangs – it is a medical condition in which the body cannot maintain normal physical functions due to lack of nutrients from food. There are two types of malnutrition: acute malnutrition and chronic malnutrition.


Plumpy'nut is a ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) that looks and tastes like peanut butter. Plumpy'nut is frequently used for treatment of emergency malnutrition cases. When administered regularly, Plumpy'nut can help acutely malnourished children recover in a matter of weeks.


A term sometimes used to describe the most extreme form of malnutrition, which often results in death.


One of the primary indicators of malnutrition among children. As defined by the World Food Programme, this term refers to children whose height is below average for their age group as a result of an inadequate diet.

Subsistence farming

Practiced by many in the developing world, subsistence farming involves growing only enough crops to feed one's own family. Subsistence farmers and their families tend to be food-insecure; one drought or crop failure can push them into hunger. Helping them grow surplus crops and gain access to markets is one way of equipping these families to overcome poverty.


One of the primary indicators of malnutrition among children. As defined by the World Food Programme, wasting refers to severe weight loss, usually associated with starvation. Wasting is measured by low weight in relation to height

Ways you can help :