Now, given today is Saturday, which is not a working day, and you’ve ended up here, happily browsing the Web for some news to read, it means that you probably have a little time to spare. If you’d like to do some good, I might have, as it turns out, just the right thing for you today: you may help a child receiving a warm meal only by taking a short 5-question online quiz organized by the World Food Program.
The headline of this column is, to tell you the whole truth, a little misleading. The sad reality is that many children on the planet today actually live with less than US$1.25. By taking the hunger quiz (link at the bottom of the page) organized by the World Food Program (WFP), you can help giving a warm meal to a child in need.
1.2 Billion People Starving
The US$1.25 value is not a random one, but was, in fact, identified as the poverty line in May 2008, updating the famous “US$1 a day” poverty level first proposed in 1990 for measuring absolute poverty by the standards of the world’s poorest countries. This, of course, does not revolve around children alone, but adults as well.
Of the 7 billion people on Earth today – a value which continue to grow in fact, as clearly indicated by this National Geographic world population counter – just about 1.2 billion still live in poverty on less than US$1.25 a day.
The Bad News
The touching video further down, published a while back by the World Bank, also tell us that:
- 21 percent of the developing world’s people are extremely poor.
- People in that 21 percent live on less than US$1.25 a day.
- Three in four people of the extremely poor live in South Asia and Africa.
- 76 percent of the extremely poor live in rural areas.
- 40 percent of the extreme poor are illiterate as opposed to only 16 percent of the non poor.
- One in six children under five in developing countries is malnourished.
- 2.5 billion people live without basic sanitation.
- 800 million don’t have safe drinking water.
- 1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases, and 90 percent of those are under five years of age.
- In India, the percentage of underweight children in 2006 was 56 percent for the poorest and 20 percent for children of the richest families.
- In Nigeria, per 1,000 live births, child mortality rate is 219 among the poorest, and 87 among the richest.
The Good News
As much as the above list may be, at the very least, concerning to read about, the situation can be helped. As a matter of fact, as always indicated by the video above, more than 600 million people moved out of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2008. The percentage of people facing hunger has declined from 16 percent in 1990 to 13 percent in 2008.
Moreover, the economic crisis we have witnessed since 2008 may have caused, along with the food crisis, up to 91 million more people to face starvation.
Take the Hunger Quiz and Start Helping Right Away
If what you’ve just read touched you even a little, and you’d like to help, you may now visit this page on the World Food Program’s website. For every person who takes the hunger quiz, which is also a very short one, a child will receive a warm meal thanks to an anonymous donor to the WFP.
As for me, I have done that already, but now it’s your turn. Take the quiz, and be sure you’ve done some good, at least for today. Also, don’t forget to tell all your friends!
Video: Who Are the Extremely Poor? Credit: World Bank via YouTube