Alliance against hunger
Sara Worku is the Alliance2015 Coordinator in Ethiopia. It is European nation’s initiative to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recently, she sat down with Samuel Getachew of The Reporter to reflect on the alliance, the partners, the commitment and challenges of ending world hunger. Excerpts:
The Reporter: Tell me about Alliance2015?
Sara Worku: The Alliance2015 is a strategic partnership of eight European non-governmental organizations founded in 2000 with a shared commitment to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Its members are: ACTED (France), Ayuda en Accion (Spain), Cesvi (Italy), Concern Worldwide (Ireland), HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation (Switzerland), HIVOS (The Netherlands), People in Need (Czech Republic), and Welthungerhilfe (Germany). The Alliance2015 aims to fight poverty more effectively by cooperation on various levels, working together in the least developed countries and influencing and campaigning together on the EU level. Between them, Alliance2015 members have a presence in more than 90 countries, spending in excess of 1 Billion Euros globally to achieve the goals of sustainable development among many communities. Ethiopia is among the countries where most Alliance2015 members are working for the past many decades.
Who are some of the partners?
Our members are: Ayuda en Acción, Concern Worldwide (CWW), HELVETAS Swiss Inter cooperation, People in Need (PIN) and Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (WHH), have been working in Ethiopia for over a decade, intervening in the area of development cooperation and humanitarian aid with a focus on the eradication of global hunger and extreme poverty. These organizations collectively work in all regional states of the country. Additionally, CESVI – Cooperazione e Sviluppo and ACTED have recently been registered in the country and the former one has already started implementation. The development intervention of Alliance2015 has reached 1.2 million people with the budget of 18 million EUR. Alliance2015 in Ethiopia is operating in all regions with main areas of priorities including joint programs (with the community) resilience, advocacy and knowledge sharing and joint emergency preparedness and response. One of the added values of the Alliance is that members can invest on learning and leadership in setting the development agenda. The platform has also enabled member organizations to collect evidence and enlighten donors and government on adapting their policy and practice towards when and how they should act. Alliance2015 members also join forces by sharing knowledge and resources to develop and implement ambitious joint programs. For example, Alliance2015 is engaged in significant community resilience building programs funded by the EU, the Italian Government and DFID. When I look at the Global Hunger Index (GHI), there still are plenty of challenges to have many people access the basic necessities of life, such as food.
Tell me more about the Global Hunger Index (GHI)?
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool that measures and tracks hunger globally, by region, and by country. The GHI is calculated annually, and its results appear in a report issued in October each year. The 2019 GHI report is the fourteenth annual publication of the Global Hunger Index (GHI). The report is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions, and call attention to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest. The GHI scores are based on a formal parameter that captures three dimensions of hunger: insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—and use four component indicators: Undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting child mortality. GHI scores are expressed on a 100-point scale, where 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst. This way, the scale shows the severity of hunger from low to extremely alarming; an increase in a country's GHI score indicates that the hunger situation is worsening; while a decrease in the score indicates improvement in the country's hunger situation. The 2019 GHI measured hunger in 117 countries where the assessment is most relevant and where data on all four component indicators are available.
Share with me the highlights of the report (GHI)?
The report indicates that 43 countries out of 117 countries have levels of hunger that remain serious. Some 4 countries: Chad, Madagascar, Yemen, and Zambia suffer from hunger levels that are alarming and Central African Republic is at a level that is extremely alarming. High-income countries are not included in the GHI but it still shows variable, non-negligible rates of food insecurity. The Food Insecurity Experience Scale—another measure of hunger not used in or directly comparable to the GHI—shows that in the European Union, 18 percent of households with children under age 15 experience moderate or severe food insecurity. In 2019, GHI report also revealed that Ethiopia has ranked 97th out of 117 qualifying countries showing a slight improvement compared to the status in 2017. The 2019 theme of the GHI is “The Challenge of Hunger and Climate Change,” that is an increasingly relevant threat to the world’s hungry and vulnerable population. The report focuses on the impact of climate change and hunger. Extreme and irregular weather events are risking food production and food security and are only expected to increase in number and severity in conjunction with global climate change. The evidence indicates climate change affects nations such as Ethiopia a great deal. Climate change will affect all nations, but the impact will be higher on low-income countries, such as Ethiopia, which have limited capacity to cope with the effects of a changing climate. Climate change has brought a huge impact on human health, the environment, agriculture, water supply, sanitation and socio-economic activities. Climate change has specifically direct and indirect negative impacts on Ethiopian food security and hunger through changes in food production and availability, access, quality, utilization and stability of food systems. Food production is likely to fall in response to higher temperatures, water scarcity, greater CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and extreme event such as heat waves, droughts and floods. Already yields of major food crops such as maize and wheat are declining owing to extreme events, epidemics of plant diseases and declining water resources. Considering the urgency of the issue, it will take humanity’s ingenuity, dedication, and perseverance to ensure that we collectively achieve Zero Hunger while tackling the unprecedented challenges of climate change.
There are many targeted deadlines to end hunger in the world. Do you think that is ever possible in a world where the gap between rich and poor is growing?
My opinion is ending hunger is not a one sector commitment, rather it is a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder engagement. Since the issue is very complex and intertwine, it requires all actors (development actors, government, donors, community, private companies, think tank, media and others actors) collaborative work, systemic approach and commitment. Good governance, women participation, partnership and collaboration, social protection, decent work, climate, nutrition, conflict and gender sensitive interventions, corporate social accountability are some of the key elements that need to take in to account in all intervention. Ending hunger and minimizing the gap between rich and poor are a collaborative effort between government and all other actors. If systematic collaboration and partnership, accountability and integrated, inclusive, impact focused and context specific development intervention increased and preserved, we may achieve the targeted deadlines to end hunger in the world.