Tech, Now + Beyond

Here’s how technology is helping fight global hunger

815 million are hungry today and there's no reason they should be

In 2015, the United Nations announced 17 goals to achieve by the year 2030. These goals include fighting injustice, ending inequalities and economic growth. The second huge goal on the table, however, is to achieve no world hunger.

Is it possible to live in a world where no one struggles to find their next meal?

To end hunger or any social inequality, a blueprint on how to tackle the situation is urgent and the UN has outlined targets that the world has to meet by 2030 in order to make this possible.

Worldwide, 815 million people are undernourished- that’s about 1 in 9 people. Furthermore, 1 in 4 children suffers from irreversible malnutrition or stunting. A dearth of safe water, proper nutrition, and sufficient food lead to negative effects on their education and growth. Leading them to perform poorly at school. This systematically leaves generations of young kids behind in poverty.

Assessing the massive reach and innovation in technology there’s no arguing it is a powerful tool to help tackle this issue. This is happening, around the world, impacting millions.

Thankfully new technologies are emerging to help with this problem and reach some of the targets the UN has outlined.

1.  Share the Meal

Screenshot of the share the meal website that it light blue on top with the faces of three children smiling and white at the bottom.
[Image description: Screenshot of the share the meal website that it light blue on top with the faces of three children smiling and white at the bottom.] Via sharethemeal.org
You might have already seen ads about this app on Youtube or elsewhere on the internet web. An initiative started by the UN World Food Program (WFP) this app allows you to provide a meal to people in the most critical hunger spots.

The WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger and reaches about 80 million individuals worldwide. According to the app it requires $0.50 to feed one child. This money then goes to the WFP, that they use to feed a child. Share the Meal provides food assistance to children in Lebanon, Palestine, and India.

2. Precision Agriculture

Several farm trucks on a crop field while the sunsets in the background.
[Image description: Several farm trucks on a crop field while the sunsets in the background.] Via Joao Marcelo Marques on Unsplash
One of the targets of the zero hunger plan is increasing the income and productivity of small-scale food producers. In countries like Ethiopia, India, and Pakistan precision agriculture is used. This technology equips local farmers with information on soil, land, and weather.

It includes providing farmers mobile-phone based agronomic information to increase crop yield. Furthermore, farmers can call agriculture hotlines for any sort of query on the crops.

3. SAFE stoves

Several stoves made of clay on the ground outside under a shade with people gathered at a distance.
[Image description: Several stoves made of clay on the ground outside under a shade with people gathered at a distance.] Via google.com
Hunger is also a gender issue. According to statistics, it’s reported that 60% of the world’s hunger population are women. Moreover, women and girls are held responsible for collecting items like firewood which are essential to make food. To collect wood they have to travel far and through unsafe areas- putting their lives in danger.

The WFP launched fuel-efficient stoves called Safe Access to Firewood and Alternative Energy in Humanitarian Settings (SAFE). These stoves are made of clay, soil, bricks, and metal. Its flexible design makes it portable and reduced cooking time. Furthermore, these stoves reduce environmental degradation by serving as a sustainable alternative to firewood.

4. E-cards

A little girl holding an e-card with both her hands showing it to the camera and smiling
[Image description: A little girl holding an e-card with both her hands showing it to the camera and smiling.] Via google.com
The WFP partnered up with Master Card to provide refugees in Lebanon and Syria a source of food. E-cards allow refugee’s shop for food in markets with the help of cell phone technology Food rations provided by organizations don’t include fresh produce, something the e-card can provide. Moreover, the card is topped up monthly with $27 for each family member. This reduces the cost of distributing food, storage, and bring business to local vendors.

Although these innovations are helping thousands of undernourished and vulnerable people, a lot more has to be done to meet the 2030 goal. Political investments towards zero hunger and outlining long-term food security plans.

After all, proper nutrition is a basic necessity and a human right.