Hidden hungerWhen vitamins and minerals are lacking, health and development suffer. More than two billion people worldwide are affected. 25-year-old Palang Hikoka lives together with her husband in the. Her 16-month-old baby in the small village of Hikiriguda in India. They belong to the indigenous community of Adivasi, the first inhabitants of India. They traditionally feed on wild fruits from the forest. But this knowledge is increasingly being lost. The forest areas are getting smaller. The nutritional situation of the Adivasi is therefore very poor.
Palang Hikoka from Hikiriguda can feed her family well-balanced because of the available food. © Roland Brockmann
Palang Hikoka and her young family in front of the house. The baby is strongly underweight. © Roland Brockmann
Palang Hikoka's son was dangerously malnourished. Welthungerhilfe and its partner organization Living Farms want to strengthen the population group in their traditional way of life. In courses, Palang learns about long-forgotten forest fruits that contribute to her family's balanced diet. Today, her son is well-fed and well-developed.
Ensuring a balanced diet
Not only is a sufficient amount of food crucial for a healthy life, but also its balanced composition. Every human being needs micronutrients, i.e. vitamins, minerals and trace elements, in order to develop healthily. For example, if vitamin A, iodine, iron or other important nutrients are missing, physical and mental health suffers.
No all-clear in sight: In many countries around the world, the hunger situation is "very serious," and in one it is even "severe".
Nearly two billion people – that's almost a third of the world's population – go undetected worldwide because they don't eat enough vitamins and minerals. They suffer from the so-called "hidden hunger. Even people who eat a high-calorie diet can lack micronutrients. People in thresholds are also-. Industrialized countries affected by hidden hunger.
Children and pregnant women have the greatest need
For pregnant women and children during the so-called first 1.000 days between conception and their second birthday, such a shortage has serious consequences for their physical and mental development. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth, low birth weight, growth retardation, reduced learning ability, and a lifelong risk of chronic disease can be their result.
Fighting hidden hunger
Answers to the most frequently asked questions about hunger
The key to sustainably overcoming hidden hunger lies in a balanced diet and access to diverse and nutrient-rich foods. Vitamin and mineral supplementation or food fortification are two among many ways to prevent hidden hunger. However, these approaches can only address the symptoms. Not tackling the causes of malnutrition. To find a sustainable solution to the problem, however, we must start with the causes. It's about diversifying agriculture, promoting a balanced diet, clean drinking water and sanitation, access to health care and education, empowering women – and most importantly, raising local incomes. Because malnutrition is mainly due to the fact that the people affected cannot afford a healthy diet.
Selected projects to combat hidden hunger
When Rina from Jharkhand in India learned that her children were showing signs of malnutrition and undernourishment, she was surprised: "Of course, in the past there was mostly rice and mashed potatoes. Vegetables or even fruit were always added once we had enough money. Everyone was doing it this way, so how could it be wrong?"In a 15-day nutrition camp, she has now learned that not all foods are the same, that they have different effects on the body. This has enabled her to significantly improve the nutritional situation of her children. Welthungerhilfe is working with three partner organizations to improve the nutritional and health situation in 120 villages. Learn more!
To combat malnutrition in the Karamoja region of the northeast Uganda's Welthungerhilfe is pursuing an unconventional approach together with the population: 400 women were given goats in order to be able to feed their children adequately – traditionally, men own all the livestock in Karamoja. After initial skepticism, men have accepted the approach. Meanwhile goat owners are respected community members. Goats' protein-rich milk is on many families' menus. The sale of the offspring is an important source of income. Learn more!
In the districts of Dedza and Mangochi in the west of Malawi Around 80 percent of the population lives from small-scale farming in the region. In recent years, however, severe droughts and floods have destroyed entire crops in the districts. To alleviate malnutrition and hunger, the population now relies on permaculture: the basic principle is ecologically, economically and socially sustainable management of all resources. Local plants are grown and the fields and gardens are treated in such a way that the available resources are used optimally. For example, wastewater is used for irrigation, homemade compost is used as fertilizer, and plants are planted side by side to benefit from one another. Learn more!