Matt is Action Against Hunger's Director of External Relations, guiding the organization's strategic direction in the U.S.
Finally, a Humanitarian Crisis That Corporations Can Completely Fix -- and Fast
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on The Huffington Post on August 7, 2013. You can view the original here.
In my two decades working for social change, I've found that donors of all stripes -- from the socially conscious 20-something texting a $5 gift to the biggest corporate partner -- share one common frustration. They feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of some of the problems we're trying to eradicate, and concerned that lasting solutions aren't possible.
That's why I'm excited about the work we're doing at Action Against Hunger -- because childhood hunger is unequivocally a crisis we can solve in our lifetimes. For an issue of this magnitude, that's fast! Malnutrition is a disease that's predictable, preventable, and affordable to treat; just $45 covers full treatment for a malnourished child.
We're at a turning point when it comes to unlocking the future potential of hungry children. For the first time in measured history, child deaths have fallen below seven million a year around the world. According to data released last year by UNICEF and the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, the number of children under age five dying globally has decreased, from nearly 12 million in 1990 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2011.
This is positive news, but urgent attention is still required. According to the latest series on maternal and child malnutrition published in June by leading medical journal The Lancet, global malnutrition now accounts for 45% all child deaths worldwide; so while the number of deaths overall has decreased, more than 3 million young lives are lost each year from causes related to malnutrition. The publication goes beyond diagnosis, calling for a focus on lifesaving treatment for severe malnutrition, which it deems one of the most cost-effective and highest impact interventions.
The Lancet estimates that $9.6 billion is needed to tackle under nutrition in the 34 countries that account for 90% of the global burden of malnutrition -- down slightly from the $11.8 billion figure cited by the World Bank in 2008. Our research suggests that current funding levels represent just 1.2% of the $11.8 billion figure, a far cry from the levels of support needed to properly take this crisis on.
That's why it makes so much sense for corporate partners to join us in our fight -- their capital and collaboration can help wipe out this crisis. We've been fortunate to have socially-conscious organizations like Ultimat Vodka take action; this summer they're engaging the public to text-to-give. Learn how to get involved below. Together, we'll make childhood hunger history.
To join Ultimat Vodka in supporting Action Against Hunger, text LEMONAID to 50555 to donate $5 through August 20th. To learn more about Action Against Hunger, visit www.actionagainsthunger.org.