Going through 2021 Together
The pathway of our growth is formed by our experiences. In 2021, have you taken a new step?
Under a pandemic that is still full of uncertainties, it seems that, despite our efforts, it has not been that easy to move forward.
“Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, all children in my village are scared. I have not been able to meet my friends, and go to school,” says Samjhana, a 13-year-old from Nepal.
A Pandemic that Scars Children’s Hearts
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has not ceased to affect the world. In addition to causing a health risk, it has also presented greater challenges for the economy of developing countries. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) forecasts that global unemployment will reach 205 million people in 2022, up from 187 million in 2019. Compared to 2019, an additional 108 million workers worldwide are now classified as “poor” or “extremely poor”. The report also claims that vulnerable workers have been hit harder during the COVID-19 pandemic, thus aggravating pre-existing inequalities. As a consequence of the immense livelihood pressure, children often suffer verbal and physical abuses, and even sexual violence, as family members tend to vent frustrations on them. They may also become victims of child labour and child marriage.
In its Unmasking II: Childhood Lost report, released in October this year, World Vision completed a survey across Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, asking 17,700 individuals about their mental health, access to education, and child protection issues. It points out that children experienced anger, fear and hopelessness during the pandemic, and that those with existing vulnerabilities were worse off. According to the report, about one in seven children felt so afraid that nothing could calm them down most or all of the time in the two weeks prior to the survey, while more than one in nine children felt very angry and out of control most or all of the time during the same period. Children’s mental health must be taken seriously, and more resources should be allocated to helping them recover from harm. World Vision has been implementing interventions in different parts of the world, such as distributing psycho-social support materials and supporting children with child protection programming. Through our actions, we are overcoming challenges facing vulnerable children.
World Vision teaches improved agricultural techniques to women in Kenya, enabling them to cope with the impact of persistent drought caused by climate change. Now they can grow their own food and sell the surplus for extra income.
Numbers in Hunger Continue to Rise
In the provisional State of Climate in 2021 report, published in late October this year, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) highlights that, in the last ten years, the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, as well as conflict, economic shocks and the COVID-19 pandemic, have brought about compounded effects that are leading to a rise in hunger and undermining decades of progress towards improving food security. In the past two years, rainfall seasons were also altered by the extreme weather during La Niña, leading to disruptions to livelihoods and agricultural activities across the globe, aggravating the existing food crisis.
According to the United Nations The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 report, published in July this year, it is estimated that about 10% of the global population was undernourished last year, while more than 149 million children under-five are estimated to have been stunted, or too short for their age. Lacking food and access to basic healthcare and nutrition support, these people are at heightened risk of severe malnutrition or even death. The majority of them were already highly vulnerable and relying on humanitarian assistance. In East Africa, more than 7 million people are on the edge of starvation, and the situation of vulnerable children experiencing high levels of malnutrition is deeply concerning.
World Vision is conducting emergency responses in multiple countries across East Africa. Our work includes distributing emergency food packs in Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan in partnership with World Food Programme, providing drought-tolerant seeds and other agricultural inputs, as well as monitoring nutrition status of infants, pregnant and lactating mothers and providing treatment means. These interventions will hopefully help children and families cope with the threats brought by food insecurity.