HUNGER IN ETHIOPIA: THE FACTS
Back in the 1980s, Ethiopia was at the centre of one of the worst famines the world has ever seen. People all over the world were spurred into action, holding concerts to raise money to help children and families who were starving.
So how come kids in Ethiopia still don’t have enough to eat?
There are lots of reasons. First, we didn’t fix the problems back in the 1980s and 90s. Water is still scarce in Ethiopia and drought is killing off livestock and crops.
And now there are other problems, like crops being used to make biofuels instead of food, driving up the price of staples such as corn. Since more than 70 percent of Ethiopia’s population lives in severe poverty, when the price of food goes up, people go hungry.
How does hunger affect children?
Being undernourished doesn’t just mean you feel hungry; children who are poorly nourished often suffer from wasting (low weight for their height) and stunted growth (low height for their age). The effects of stunted growth are permanent and mean delayed development as well as poor school performance.
In Ethiopia, 50.7% of children under five suffer from stunted growth and 34.6% suffer from wasting.
Poverty is a vicious cycle. Some children have to drop out of school to help their family, while others never get the chance to go at all. Plus, when kids are hungry, they can’t concentrate at school. When children can’t get an education, they don’t get the chance to break out of poverty and the cycle continues.
Sources: UNICEF; United Nations World Food Programme.