World Food Day celebrated annually on October 16th is a “day of action dedicated to tackling global hunger” (source: www.greeningtheblue.org).
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), this year citizens of the world are called upon to take action and make healthy and sustainable diets accessible to everyone. Achieving #ZeroHunger, is not only about addressing hunger but also to encourage everyone to start thinking seriously about what we eat simply because “we are what we eat”! (Healthy diets for a #ZeroHunger World).
It is reported that in both developed and also low-income countries, hunger and obesity often co-exist. Now, over 670 million adults and 120 million girls and boys (5-19 years) are obese, and over 40 million children under 5 are overweight, while over 820 million people suffer from hunger.
On the local front, we feature several Malaysian NGOs striving to eradicate hunger and provide access to nutritious meals to the needy.
1. Rise Against Hunger Malaysia
Founded in 1998, Rise Against Hunger Malaysia is driven by the vision of a world without hunger. The organisation provides food and life-changing aid to the most vulnerable communities. One method is through the production and distribution of meal packets.
Upon having their volunteers complete the packaging, the following food packets are distributed to their partners across the globe as a tool for change. For instance, the meals are provided in schools to encourage increased enrollment and attendance. Food packages are also distributed to hospitals and clinics to support patients’ nutritional needs and medical treatments.
2. The Lost Food Project
The Lost Food Project is the nation’s leading food bank in the country.
Launched in 2016, it aims to end both hunger and food wastage. To date, the organisation has managed to save 500,000 kilograms of surplus food wastage while providing over two million meals to the needy through collaborations with supermarkets, manufacturers and wet markets within the local community.
“Our core function is as a food bank. Our driving force is to feed people, but the knock-on effects are to do with the environment and sustainability,” says the founder, Suzanne Mooney in an interview with Going Places by Malaysian Airlines.
3. Charity Right Malaysia
As part of a food rescue initiative under Mercy Mission Malaysia in 2012, Charity Right initially sought to rescue excessive food from eateries for distribution to the homeless around the Klang Valley area.
Since 2017, their new mission, ‘Feed To Educate’, aims to provide “low-income families with monthly supplies of raw and canned food for a whole year. The supplied foods are meant to offset any expenses needed by the family to send their children to school.” Reviews and feedback reveal that the programme has made a positive impact in reducing absenteeism amongst the students from impoverished families.
4. The Nasi Lemak Project
The Nasi Lemak Project (TNLP) reaches out to poor families by empowering them with entrepreneurial skills. Initially, founders, Matsura M. Rashid and Zul Imran Ishak wanted to provide food and education to the urban poor. In due time, they realised food contributions were only a temporary solution to alleviate poverty and hunger.
They devised a social business model by recruiting women and breadwinners in poor families to sell packets of nasi lemak including delivery services to offices and business units, catering services and mobile food retailers. The social enterprise even won prestigious accolades such as the International Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award in 2014, for their efforts in eradicating poverty.
* Featured image sourced from Mobile Cuisine