Using ICTs to fight hunger
Eradicating hunger is a global goal enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals
ICTs poised to help achieve SDGs and specifically SDG 2 on ending hunger
ShareTheMeal an example of mobile app that is help in fighting hunger
The world can produce enough food to feed everyone, yet 795 million people (representing one in nine) retire to bed each evening on an empty stomach (FAO, IFAD and WFP, 2015). Eradicating hunger and malnutrition becomes one of the greatest humanitarian challenge of our time.
How can Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) help solve this humanitarian challenge? The application and use of ICTs in agriculture and rural development has been widely reported on the e-Agriculture platform , for example on cases to deal with drones,mobile applications and internet technologies within various farming practices.
However, not much has been dedicated to hunger per se in terms of ICTs.
In unravelling this theme, l will firstly focus on the overarching humanitarian goals dealing with issue of hunger, then l zero in on the state of hunger and malnutrition in the world. Then l will conclude with the use case of how smartphone apps are used in fighting hunger.
Hunger, Food Security and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 Global Goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development isssues. Hunger is specifically mentioned in Goal number 2.
- Zero Hunger - End Hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
In terms of achieving this goal (SDG 2), ICTs give farmers new ways of accessing information and services, for instance, this can be through extension services enhanced by mobile access to digital services, using technology to monitor farming practices and improving farmer/extension feedback.
In that section, they detail how the ICTs will be absolutely crucial for achieving the SDGs.
A summary of ICTs within SDGs (Source ITU)
The State of hunger and malnutrition in the world
FAO,WFP and IFAD have been monitoring the state of hunger and malnutrition in the world, and they jointly produced SOFI2015. Based on this data an interactive map was produced to detail The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.
The FAO Hunger Map 2015
ShareTheMeal App: Smartphone App fighting hunger
ShareTheMeal is an example of utilizing technology for humanitarian assistance in ending hunger; with this app one fights hunger one meal at a time. This app was introduced by the World Food Programme (WFP) as a free smartphone app that allows iOS and Android users to donate US$0.50 cents - which is enought to provide a child with nutrition for a day. There are estimated 2 billion smartphone users in the world, and so far over 12,4 million meals have been shared from funds donated through this app.
FAO, IFAD and WFP. 2015. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015. Meeting the 2015 international hunger targets: taking stock of uneven progress. Rome, FAO.
FAO.2016. The State of Food and Agriculture: Climate Change, agriculture and food security. Rome, FAO
ITU.2015. How ICTs can fast forward progress on the SDGs. ITUblog
Markozashvili,D. 2017. Campaign Art: Smartphone App fighting hunger one tap at a time. http://bit.ly/2oqCHB8
Ending Rural Hunger.https://endingruralhunger.org/