Global Hunger: Let's Talk Game Change

Posted by Paul Weisenfeld
March 22, 2012
Farmer Sows Wheat

For weeks now, my teenage daughter and her friends have been buzzing about the release of the new film The Hunger Games. I asked her recently about the trilogy -- she'd already read the books -- and I was struck by how much the premise relates to the very heart of what we are trying to address at USAID and through Feed the Future. Among other themes, the book touches on the fundamental right everyone should have: access to food.

As a father, nothing is more important to me than ensuring my daughter has a happy life. Sure, this includes her ability to hang out with friends at the movies (after her homework is done, of course). But more importantly, it means she's healthy enough to go to school and work toward opportunities for a bright future. Kids all over the world deserve the same, and it starts with access to healthy, nutritious food.

Through Feed the Future, we're addressing the root causes of hunger and undernutrition by working with countries to help them develop their own resilient agricultural sectors so they can feed themselves over the long-term. Our efforts recognize the importance of providing critical humanitarian assistance to save lives and protect livelihoods in times of need, but ultimately, our hope and goal is to create the conditions where our assistance is no longer necessary. Our efforts through the Feed the Future initiative aim to assist 18 million women, children and family members -- mostly smallholder farmers -- escape chronic hunger and poverty. We're making great progress, but there is still a long way to go.

Tonight, almost one billion people in the world will go to bed hungry. That keeps me up at night.

Global hunger seems like such an impossible challenge, but in fact we have the ability to beat it. Efforts USAID is supporting through the game-changing Feed the Future and Global Health Initiatives as well as through disaster assistance programs are critical to global progress and stability, but we as individuals can make a difference just by sharing information, raising awareness, and committing ourselves to staying engaged. While the challenges are real, we know we can use our collective voices to turn the page on hunger.

That's what intrigues me about The Hunger Games. It's an entry point for discussion and engagement on a very real issue based on an incredible pop culture success. If it gets people talking about hunger, the need for political will and access to resources, the consequences of inaction, and the transformative power of our collective commitment, that -- for me -- is a success beyond any box office record the film might set.

Our partners at the United Nations World Food Programme recently teamed up with the makers of The Hunger Games film and Feeding America to raise awareness about hunger. We're excited to be a part of the discussion.

Do you want to join the conversation? Follow us @FeedtheFuture and @USAID and tell us why global food security matters to you.

Editor's Note: This entry also appears on the USAID Impact Blog.



mohamad j.
Palestinian Territories
March 23, 2012

Mohamad Amin J. in the Palestinian Territories writes:

engage in fighting hunger and poverty all over the affected areas.

Delaware, USA
March 23, 2012

Breon in Delaware writes:

I think that the grov. should bring our kids home and fouse on the people who don't have enought food to get by

New Mexico, USA
March 23, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"We’ve tried to put it right at the center of the work that we do in diplomacy and development. And why? Well, very simply, we have an interest in reducing poverty and sparking economic growth around the world, in creating greater security, prosperity, and even peace. And we know that corruption and the lack of transparency eats away like a cancer at the trust people should have in their government, at the potential for broad-based, sustainable, inclusive growth. Corruption stifles entrepreneurship, siphons funding away from critical services, poor fiscal transparency makes it impossible to hold governments accountable. And if these problems go on long enough, if they run deep enough, they literally can and have been shaking societies to the core.

The vegetable vendor that Al mentioned certainly is a prime example of that. But we so much evidence of the increasing awareness and rejection by people of the corruption that has been for the millennia just taken for granted.

Anyone who doubts the power of frustrated citizens to rise up need not only look at the Middle East and North Africa, but increasingly across the globe because social media has given every citizen a tool in order to report and literally post in the matter of seconds the kind of abuses that have been, up until now, just taken for granted. So this is an integral part of national security.

We also know that corrupt practices contribute to the spread of organized crime and terrorism. They underwrite trafficking in drugs and arms and human beings. And we have a major stake in building up partners who can work with us to take on these transnational threats and to promote stability, who will work with us to champion an international standard of behavior that gives more people in more places the opportunity to fulfill their own God-given potential."


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
The Mayflower Hotel

Washington, DC

March 22, 2012



Someone once said USAID was an Org. trying to work itself out of a job, and the thanks folks get is in the making of friends around the world.

One would hope folks in conflict zones would seek to protect their family's basic existance, and get out of the way, but all too often neighboring countries are hesitant to accept a migration of populations in order to to have conflict on their turf, and the economic and environmental strain it places on the nation.

To put this in really basic ternomology, it's like nations need a baby's buggy rubber bumper to deal with crisis caused by ethical infants who arn't with the program, or a taco shy of a combination plate.

And then you have a nation like Turkey stepping up to the plate and offering santuary for the displaced.

I think if it is a debate involving sovreignity, it is the obligation to protect populations within the boundaries of a nation regardless of the individual's citizenship status, for human rights trump national rights when it comes to a person's life or death.

It is more practical if a nation had the space and housing and a heart, for its leadership to encorage the people to turn the homeless into houseguests, with the thanks of their government.

Keep up the good work folks,


John P.
March 24, 2012

John P. in Greece writes:

QUOTE: Anyone who doubts the power of frustrated citizens to rise up need not only look at the Middle East and North Africa, but increasingly across the globe because social media has given every citizen a tool in order to report and literally post in the matter of seconds the kind of abuses that have been, up until now, just taken for granted. So this is an integral part of national security." END OF QUOTE!!!

Moira G.
March 24, 2012

Moira G. in the Philippines writes:

It's nice to hear about this initiative, hunger is a very pressing issue hundreds of million people. It's good to know that there are efforts being made to address this problem and I commend all those involved in the effort. I fully subscribe to the author's idea that we all can help individually in this effort by raising awareness and sharing the information.

Seymour P.
United States
March 24, 2012

Portia S. in the U.S.A. writes:

The United States certainly has enough political clout to shut down the World Trade Organization, which penalizes nations which attempt to become self-sufficient in food production. The US could also take action against the food cartels, which profit from food scarcity. A return to parity pricing would help restore collapsing food production in the US. The Obama administration could also stop slashing disaster relief funding for agricultural states that are ravaged by floods and tornadoes. These are all eminently practical steps which are not being taken.

John C.
March 24, 2012

John C. in Canada writes:

Eric in NM said it perfectly.

Ashim C.
March 27, 2012

Ashim C. in India writes:

All welfare programs for poor ought to be linked with compulsory family planning programs. Implementing birth control programs is an extremely sensitive issue for more than one reason. But that does not diminish the imperative need to pursue birth control measures with sufficient degree of severity. India is going to enact food for all laws soon. One thinks this and many other measures would not be required if thrust on birth control in late saventies in India were not opposed for political gains. It is estimated there are are about 400 million people below poverty line today. This number would probably be 1/5th if campaign against birth control was not thwarted. Every country decide on an optimal population level and strive vigourously to keep it's population within that. And countries with negetive population growth should encourage 3 or 4 child norm. Over population drains natural resources, which would be prevented by birth control and family planning and growth of population in developed countries with negetive population growth would prevent recession by creating demand for goods and services.

Gail E.
California, USA
March 28, 2012

Gail E. in California writes:

Why In The USA Is It OK For FDA To Knowingly and Willingly Cause Horrific Adverse Developmental Health Effects That Includes; Cancers, Brain Disorders, Gender Chaos, Homosexuality, Reproductive Disorders Without Warning Labels? Why Is There No FDA Investigation And Accountability For This Extreme And Outrageous Behavior?


I will appreciate and look forward to your reply.


Latest Stories