Overcoming hunger and malnutrition

Working for food security, enhancing resilience

Mothers and children in Kabunyata village in Uganda

Hunger has different causes. That it is why an individual approach must be used to address it – an approach that has been adapted to the situation in the country concerned. The emphasis in German development cooperation is on using a mix of measures from a range of different fields such as agriculture, trade, infrastructure, health, education, social protection, water and hygiene. Germany also advises its partner countries in development cooperation on good governance and on establishing suitable institutions.

International cooperation

In order to fight the causes of food insecurity and undernutrition efficiently, everyone must work together: the United Nations, international organisations and donors, the national governments of the partner countries, the private sector, scientists and academics, and civil society.

At the international level, one initiative that Germany is supporting through its development cooperation is the Scaling Up Nutrition initiative (SUN). The goal of this international platform is to put more emphasis on food and to make the food programmes being carried out in partner countries more effective.

Production that is sustainable and makes careful use of resources

The only way to increase harvests enough to feed a growing world population is through sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, preserve biodiversity and soil fertility, and maintain stable water cycles.

Soil protection and restoring soil fertility play an important role in German development cooperation. One example of the work being done is something called conservation tillage, which involves either reduced or no ploughing of the soil. Protecting sloping fields against erosion also helps to conserve soil fertility in the long term and to improve the soil’s water storing properties. Furthermore, in many places, alternatives to the intensive use of fertilisers are possible, such as using compost or mulch.

All these activities are part of the priority area of German development cooperation known as soil conservation.

Providing transitional aid, developing structures

The many different linkages between crises, natural disasters, climate change and conflicts on the one hand and hunger, food insecurity and poverty on the other demand that short- and medium-term assistance for securing survival is linked to long-term approaches which address causes and underlying structures. The transition between the two approaches must be fluid and flexible.

Food security within the framework of transitional aid is aimed at directly improving the food situation of the people concerned. The activities to be carried out are determined according to the needs and possibilities of the people most at risk. Women play a particularly important role here: they are particularly at risk in crisis situations and must often take care of their households alone because their men have left home in search of income opportunities.

The approach followed by Germany is to initiate longer-term measures in parallel with transitional aid. These measures are used to restore and improve people’s livelihoods, strengthen their resilience and the resilience of their communities and institutions, and create new income opportunities.

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