The World Food Programme’s recent Nobel Peace Prize highlights how food security is indispensable to peace and development, particularly in times of crisis. The WFP estimate that 690 million people are suffering from hunger worldwide -- almost 9% of the world’s entire population. As the global pandemic disrupt lives and economies, millions more are at risk of being pushed into hunger.
Food security is closely linked to child labour, because when parents struggle to provide enough food for their families, they often feel there is no choice but to send their children to work. Since 2015, the number of people who suffer from hunger has begun to increase and we are currently not on track to meet SDG 2 to end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round, by 2030. A critical situation which is only being exacerbated by crises like conflict, natural disasters or COVID-19.
It is critical that we coordinate and invest in susrtainable solutions which help rural communities, families and children access the food and nutrition they need to live healthy, safe and happy lives.
What can be done?
The World Food Programme has recently drawn increased media attention as winners of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger, and for its valuable contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and other inter-related development challenges.
One of the ways in which the WFP provides vital food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable people around the world is by working with Governments to strengthen social protection systems. Social protection can support people to mitigate risks like economic shocks and stresses which could push them into poverty, food insecurity and their children into child labour. These systems can include reliable cash transfers, improved access to credit, school-meal programmes and subsidies.
Supporting smallholder farmers
Smallholder farmers produce 70% of the world’s food but are often themselves lacking a secure access to nutrition. Programmes which help boost incomes and improve rural livelihoods are crucial to advancing progress towards SDG 2 and for the elimination of child labour.
One of the ways in which ECLT supports smallholder farmers is through Farmer Field Schools in Mozambique. Farmer Field Schools aim to improve rural livelihoods through technical farming and business skills training. They are adapted to the supply and demand of local markets so that farmers are growing a variety crops and always have a place to sell their products. Basic business skills such as profit calculation, record-keeping, and marketing are also providing farmers with ways to diversify their income and become more resilient to poor yields and economic shocks.