Goal two of the Sustainable Development Goals, developed in 2016, strives for “Zero Hunger” by 2030. Unfortunately, hunger and malnutrition remain a large barrier of development in many regions, including Africa.There are large differences among continents in the prevalence of severe food insecurity. Approximately 27.4% of the population in Africa was classified as severely food insecure in 2016, which is almost four times as high as any other region. Alarmingly, food insecurity is on the rise, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa. From 2014 to 2016, food insecurity increased by about 3% (FAO, 2017).Table 1. Percentage and number of people affected by severe food insecurity in 2016 PercentageMillionsWorld9.3 (± 0.4)688.5 (± 27.6)Africa27.4 (±0.7)333.2 (±8.6)Asia7.0 (± 0.6)309.9 (± 26)Latin America6.4 (± 0.3)38.3 (± 2.0)Northern America and Europe1.2 (±0.1)13.0 (±1.3)Source: FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO. 2017. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017. Building resilience for peace and food security. Rome, FAO. Global estimates of undernourishment rose from 777 million in 2015 to 821 million in 2017. Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment, estimated in 2016 to be 20% of the population. This is especially alarming in Eastern Africa, where it is suspected that one-third of the population is undernourished. Due primarily to its larger population size, Asia has the highest total number of undernourished individuals—520 million, versus Africa’s 243 million (FAO, 2017).

Chronic undernutrition contributes to stunting in children under five years of age. This means that the child is too short for his or her age, which can have long-term negative impacts on health and development. The prevalence of stunting is highest in the eastern, middle, and western sub-regions of Africa, as well as Southern Asia and Oceania according to estimates in 2016. Prevalence of stunting has decreased in most regions, with reductions in the sub-regions of Africa being the slowest to decrease (FAO, 2017).Acute undernutrition contributes to wasting in children under five years of age. This means that the child is too thin for his or her height. Childhood wasting is attributed to higher risk of disease and death. The prevalence of wasting in Africa was estimated to be 7.4% in 2016 (FAO, 2017). What are the causes of hunger?Food insecurity and hunger are caused by many factors, often being intertwined with one another. In general, the principal causes of hunger include poverty, conflict, climate and weather, lack of investment in agriculture, and unstable markets. (World Food Programme, 2018). Note: This is not an exhaustive list; See factsheet on hunger and nutrition. Poverty Poverty is a principal cause of hunger in Africa and elsewhere. Individuals living in poverty often cannot afford food of sufficient quality or quantity to live a healthy life. According to the World Bank, in 2013, 42.3% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lived on $1.90 or less per day, a principal factor of widespread hunger. Poverty is often a cycle. Children exposed to long-term undernutrition are often stunted, leading to long- term consequences including decreased labor productivity and income-earning potential (FAO, 2017).ConflictConflict and violence can have direct and indirect impacts on all levels of the food system, leading to food insecurity and hunger. Conflict often puts constraints on employment and income opportunities, which affects an individual’s ability to acquire food. Conflict can also affect exports and imports, which can lead to limited food availability and affordability. Availability of food can also be affected if resources (land, equipment, etc.) used to produce food are destroyed during times of conflict (FAO, 2017).In 2017, conflict was the major cause of food insecurity and hunger in 18 countries, affecting about 74 million individuals. Eleven of these countries were in Africa, which totaled about 37 million people. Northern Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and South Sudan account for the majority of these individuals (Food Security Information Network, 2018). Since 2013, South Sudan has experienced ongoing conflict, which has caused an increase in food insecurity. In 2017, parts of South Sudan declared famine (see image below), and more than 42% of the population faced severe food insecurity

Poverty and disability in a vicious cycleBoth adults and children with disabilities are excluded from education and employment. This exclusion prevents them from being able to make a living and get out of poverty. In fact, people with disabilities are the poorest people in the world. In addition, if a person was in the middle class, had an accident or illness that left him disabled - he almost certainly will become poor. Also parents to children with disabilities can’t find a job, and are often not allowed to bring their disabled children to work, becoming very poor. Children with disabilities are hidden in the houses and don’t see the light of day"Disability is a punishment from God" – A common belief in Kenya is that if someone has a disabled child, it means he is punished for his sins, and many who don’t want other to know they have sinned, hide their child in the house.I was aware to this phenomenon in my first visit in Kenya during 2015. My Kenyan team explained about the different ways they are trying to fight it, and to locate those neglected children. Their stories about children that were locked in the houses for all their lives were horrified, and in particular because children with disabilities who always require special attention and are being left without almost any attention or often being abused. Children with disabilities that are treated as less than human, with no hope, and aren't allowed to go to school.

If I asked myself why most of the people with disabilities in Kenya are children and met only a few adults now I found the answer; Children in Africa do not survive to reach adulthood.
There is no awareness and no knowledge of disability, its medical causes and treatment.
Shedding a light on the lives of people with disabilities should not be a matter of good deeds. We are responsible to one another, and the world's situation today for people with disabilities is a reflection of our actions and desires. Ignoring this situation is impossible, and to me it is no less terrible than seeing someone seriously abused in the middle of the street and just keep walking. When we become aware of a certain subject and it troubles us, we know how to stand up and shout, get up and do something about it. Well, now you know

Parental separations can also create conflict between parents and children. This may drive children out of their parent’s home and potentially into homelessness in subsequent years

We found that parental separation increases the overall likelihood of becoming homelessness, although the risk for any individual is influenced by the particular characteristics of both the family and the individual. The effect is substantial. For boys, their risk of becoming homeless by age 30 increases by ten to 15 percentage points. This is irrespective of their age when the separation occurs. For girls, only parental separation before the age of 12 matters. This increases their likelihood of being homeless before 30 by 15-20 percentage points. The effects of separation on homelessness are larger when the parents were formally married.These results constitute a critical first step in understanding how individuals, and in particular children or young adults, become homeless. They highlight the role of parental separation in the process and hence the need to act on the issue of housing affordability for disadvantaged families that break down in order to protect children from poverty and homelessness.

Helpingsteps is a community-based program that is situated in Kenya and is within the initial starting stages and for now, only offers a mobile community Kitchen. The Community Kitchen is not large nor is it capable of providing for all the children as it is limited due to financial constraints. It is critical to note that as for now the Helping Steps program is self-financed and is unable to critically address the needs of the children. While the kitchen community does offer food and water, it is imperative to cater to the overall development of the children. The program aims at offering a safe and hospitable environment for the children in order to cater to their needs and sustainability as they grow into adults.


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