It’s not that there isn’t enough food in the world, the challenge is access to it
When we speak of the ‘slow violence’ of hunger and food insecurity, the phrase is often used to describe how starvation is ‘experienced in private, incremental and accretive ways – that are often invisible’. This ‘slow violence’ inevitably impacts even more seriously on children than it does on adults.
Food and nutrition insecurity casts a long shadow across the life course and contributes towards the intergenerational transfer of poverty, malnutrition, and ill-health. Lack of nutrition not only stunts physical growth, but also mental growth, negatively impacting a child’s ability to study and learn.
With World Hunger Day observed, suggests Andra Nel, CSI Manager at KFC, it is clear that getting food aid right has never been more critical.
“It has become vital that we look at the social compact and have the public, private and NGO sectors join forces to build out a targeted and sustainable network of feeding schemes – ones that target and reach the most vulnerable,” she says.
The benefits of interventions focused on children are huge – and include strengthened immune systems, improved physical and cognitive ability, better performance in school, and ultimately in improved health and economic capacity in adult life.
“Children who receive a meal at school are more likely to be able to concentrate, participate and learn,” adds Nel. As such, non-government and government feeding schemes have a crucial role to play in alleviating crisis situations.
“KFC’s Add Hope initiative plays a key role here, providing some 30-million meals per year to over 150 000 children, while supporting more than 140 different non-profit organisations and contributing millions through a percentage of our profits each year – to extend the positive impact of customer donations in our restaurants.”
In addition to this, KFC in South Africa has directly distributed 775 tons of food – some five million meals, as well as 45 603 emergency food parcels – during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has been done across all nine provinces and 1 616 supported locations, where the business continues to receive numerous requests for food support outside of its network.
“We have a critical responsibility to act in the interest of South Africa and this means continuing to support the communities which we serve, as well as amplifying efforts at such a critical time, through our Add Hope programme,” says Nel.
“Everyone has a role to play – the consumer, NGO, big corporate, small business and government. We can make a big difference if we tackle this together. But we must remember it is about more than food: hunger and poverty affect people’s health, education, dignity, and ability to live full productive lives. This creates a larger societal divide and impacts South Africa’s ability to move forward. Today, more than ever, we need to look at mechanisms that address the inequality in access to food – one that tackles transformation and ensures food is a basic right – especially for children.”
“For us this is a critical pillar where our aim is for Add Hope to liberate kids’ potential through nutritious meals, in every community we operate in, one R2 at a time,” says Nel.
As we commemorated World Hunger Day on the 28th of May, (#AccessEndsHunger) we must focus on collaborative efforts in civil society, business, and government to manage supply better and ensure that food is more accessible to those most vulnerable in our community!