Ending the Global Hunger Crisis

12/11/2012 02:03 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2013
JAMAM, SOUTH SUDAN - JULY 17:   Haram Hjana holds her son Samani,1, suffering from severe malnutrition at the MSF ( Medecins
JAMAM, SOUTH SUDAN - JULY 17: Haram Hjana holds her son Samani,1, suffering from severe malnutrition at the MSF ( Medecins Sans Frontieres ) field hospital July 17, 2012 in Jamam refugee camp, South Sudan. Up to 16,000 refugees are in the process of being moved due to flooding in the camp as the rainy season causes problems with the flooded fields around the tents. Jamam refugee camp is approximately 80k from the North Sudan border. There are currently three refugee camps in the Upper Nile area housing 107,000 refugees from the Engassana region coming from North Sudan. South Sudan recently celebrated it's first independence anniversary. Over the past year repeated conflict with North Sudan, corruption scandals and economic difficulties have plagued the new country. Further problems caused by the shutdown of its oil production have led to a sharp decline in its currency and a rise in the price of food and fuel. South Sudan is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

In a world that currently produces enough food for the entire population, I continue to be astonished that every year 870 million people go hungry and 5 million children die from malnutrition. In today's world of abundance, hunger is still the number 1 health risk, killing more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

Although most of the world's hungry are in developing countries, even here in the United States, one of the largest food producing countries, approximately 1 out of 6 people are "food insecure"; including 16.7 million children. Progress to reduce hunger is being made by tackling both the cause and the consequences of extreme poverty and famine.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world's largest humanitarian aid organization, has been championing this for decades. By the end of this year WFP will have provided food assistance to over 90 million people around the world. WFP inspires the masses to get involved by giving a face to poverty and telling stories from real people through the use of video and the Internet.

Cisco partnered with the WFP in the creation of a video series entitled "Molly's World: A Girl Films Her Life in a Nairobi Slum." Molly used a flip camera to record her story of being educated with the help of WFP's school meals program. Her video series has given insight to 60,000 viewers around the world on just how life-changing school meals can be. To date, Molly's campaign has raised over 50,000 meals to ensure another child like her gets a nutritious meal in school.

Corporations have also been championing this cause by leveraging their resources and areas of expertise. For example, Cisco believes that leveraging technology can be a potential game-changer. Cisco partnered with OneWorld South Asia on the LifeLines Agriculture project, which uses voice technology to connect 150,000 farmers in India with timely, free information on anything from new and sustainable farming techniques, to animal husbandry, to weather updates. In India, 65 percent of the working population are farmers living in harsh environments - a crop failure or animal illness away from catastrophe. By linking voice to web technology, these farmers can use a telephone to leave a message about a problem and have their questions answered within 24 to 72 hours. On average, they have experienced a 20 to 30 percent increase in productivity and income while ultimately improving their quality of life.

Another example is how Kraft Foods Foundation partnered with Feeding America, a Chicago-based nonprofit. Feeding America and its 202 member food banks deliver 3 billion pounds of food to 37 million American's each year. Kraft has been affiliated with Feeding America for nearly 30 years and together; they launched a Mobile Pantry program. This fleet of 35 refrigerated trucks delivers meal-time staples, including a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and protein items to high-need neighborhoods. Over the course of this 4-year program, the fleet aims to deliver nearly 70 million meals to their neighbors in need.

Cisco's annual Global Hunger Relief Campaign engages our Cisco family to raise close to $4 million each year for over 140 food and water agencies across the globe. Our goal for the future is to multiply our impact and feed more people. To get involved, you can contact Feeding America, CARE, and the World Food Programme to help end this global hunger crisis.

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