Building a Future: Where do we go from here?

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been travelling with Nelly, a 10-year old girl from Dzinkunze, Kenya. Nelly’s family – as well as her community – gets most of their nutrition and income from farming corn and cassava, particularly through a technique called zai pits, which enhance plant nutrients.

World Vision has been working in Nelly’s area since 2007, helping the community to develop a safety net through agriculture. More than 1,300 people, in this community of 3,500, participate in agriculture programming similar to those benefiting Nelly and her family. By diversifying food sources through zai pits and adopting drought tolerant crops, more families are becoming hungerfree.

In fact, zai pits have helped families double their crop production, generate income from the sale of surplus crops and improve nutrition. Farmers are learning how to care for the land and plant trees, reducing soil degradation and enhancing soil nutrients and water retention. World Vision has also improved access to water for drinking, agriculture and livestock. As a result, the distance travelled by community members has been reduced in half, creating more time for individuals to work on their farms, go to school or generate income. The access to water also helps improve the condition of livestock which in turn increases their price of sale.

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As the community looks to the future, it recognizes that a hungerfree Dzikunze is only possible if it involves young people.

Across Kenya and much of Africa, the average age of farmers is 60 years and getting older – meanwhile, the population overall is getting younger. More than half the population of Kenya is under the age of 25. Today’s generation of young people are facing unprecedented unemployment and having difficulty finding a job, yet they are uninterested in agriculture. Many young people don’t see agriculture as profitable or sustainable.

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World Vision’s HungerFree hopes to change that by training vulnerable young people how to not only use agriculture to feed themselves and their families but by also providing the skill training to run their own agricultural business and grow enough food to create their own future by generating sustainable income.

By being a part of the 30 Hour Famine, you are supporting opportunities to empower young people in Kenya with the skills they need to become hungerfree. But it is so much more than that. You are also joining a global community of young people who believe that the way the world is now isn’t the way it has to be in the future. You are questioning stasis and telling the world that we can change. You are accepting the challenge to build something better than what we have.

You are joining a movement that believes a hungerfree world is possible – and that it starts with youth. Are you in?

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Food for Thought: How Hunger Affects Your Education

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How many of us have sat through a class that’s right before lunch, staring at the second hand on the clock, imagining our teeth crunching on chips? Watching that clock becomes far more important than French or algebra.

For too many kids in the world, their first meal of the day is dinner. Lunchtime doesn’t mean relief from chronic hunger, and that hunger drastically impacts the way children learn.

It turns out hunger doesn’t just affect how we learn or pay attention in school – it also affects how well our brain works or develops. A healthy brain uses 20% of your body’s energy, and energy comes from food. That means that hunger starves the brain.

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Children who are malnourished fall behind in school because they can’t concentrate or often miss classes to help the family put food on the table.

Is it really surprising that it is difficult to learn and break the cycle of poverty when your body needs all the energy it can get just to get to school?

With proper nourishment, children are able to learn and grow, sometimes even going on to become teachers themselves.

With your help, families are equipped to grow healthier, more abundant crops and livestock to feed her family and generate income.

Unfortunately, that’s not always enough. When families and communities need more immediate assistance to get started or withstand life’s setbacks, World Vision ensures there are safety nets in place, like school feeding programs, emergency food supplies when there’s a disaster, and special assistance for vulnerable groups, such as the sick, elderly, orphaned, pregnant/lactating mothers and young children.

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In a HungerFree world, children are able to grow and learn the way they should. Through 30 Hour Famine, you are helping make that world a reality.

A HungerFree world means everyone gets enough food for both today and tomorrow. It means families can become self-sufficient through the skills, education, and productive assets. It means they can be hungerfree for a lifetime.

That world doesn’t have to wait. This is our time to make it happen, our time to boldly embody change. Will you join the voices calling for better?

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