Action Against Hunger’s global magazine, Hunger Matters, delivers perspectives from the front lines of humanitarian action and the race to end deadly malnutrition. Thematically organized around “access to good nutrition,” this edition of Hunger Matters explores new approaches to helping the most vulnerable access the resources they need to ensure healthy lives for their families and communities. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminds us in this edition’s foreward, “Never before has the world had such abundant resources of money, knowledge and food. And yet hunger continues to ravage the lives of millions of people.”
Action Against Hunger’s international network produces a variety of published works from context analysis and regional assessments to community surveys and field reports.
This report shows that funding for undernutrition programs represents a mere one percent of the estimated $11.8 billion that is needed annually, funding levels that remained unchanged between 2005 and 2009. And 11 percent of government and international funding commitments went unfunded. It also provides a detailed analysis on aid reporting systems, assesses the transparency, quantity and effectiveness of nutrition funding in recent years, and provides recommendations on what is needed to adequately address undernutrition. Funding for nutrition programs that deliver the full package of direct nutrition interventions, which address the more immediate elements of undernutrition and have the greatest potential for reducing child mortality and future disease burdens associated with undernutrition, were severely underfunded, receiving only two percent of the total funding earmarked for nutrition. Evidence also showed that the aid could be better directed to where needed most in the worst-affected regions of Africa and Asia. Another finding was that much of the data used in the analysis was inaccessible due to poor reporting by government agencies, suggesting a lack of transparency in nutrition funding and highlighting the need for more accountability.
As a leading partner in the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP), Action Against Hunger plays a key role in both applying and evaluating new methods for delivering aid to crisis-hit populations. By issuing cash-backed vouchers instead of material goods, organizations like Action Against Hunger can ensure that those affected by emergencies are able to get what they most need, while local vendors are not put out of business by distributions of free food and supplies.
At Action Against Hunger, we have a history of pioneering the application of cutting-edge tools and techniques to old, persistent problems in aid and development. In that tradition, we are a leading partner of the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP). The CaLP “aims to improve the quality of emergency cash transfer and voucher programming across the humanitarian sector.” In emergencies, distributing some form of cash or vouchers can be much more effective than the classic donations of food, soap, and other standardized sets of equipment that may not be useful to every affected family. Provided local shops are functioning, cash gives the flexibility to buy what’s needed, while keeping shop owners involved in the local economy.