Archive for the ‘famine’ Category

Mindset 3.0: Ending Famine by Ignoring the Experts

In Africa, famine, mindset 3.0 on December 3, 2007 at 6:52 am

Often consultants come up with chic new terms like Mindset 3.0 and of course most people don’t understand what it means other than it being another buzz phrase.  For most women and men in developed countries, we hear about famine, hunger and the 4 billion impoverished souls who live on less than $2 dollars a day and give it scant thought.    Now, I want to share with you a real-life illustration of what it takes to make American Idol Gives Back a worthless exercise in popular television altruism.  To illustrate: In Malawi itself, the prevalence of acute child hunger has fallen sharply. In October, the United Nations Children’s Fund sent three tons of powdered milk, stockpiled here to treat severely malnourished children, to Uganda instead. “We will not be able to use it!” Juan Ortiz-Iruri, Unicef’s deputy representative in Malawi, said jubilantly.

Farmers explain Malawi’s extraordinary turnaround — one with broad implications for hunger-fighting methods across Africa — with one word: fertilizer


Over the past 20 years, the World Bank and some rich nations Malawi depends on for aid have periodically pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers. But after the 2005 harvest, the worst in a decade, Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s newly elected president, decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached.

In a withering evaluation of the World Bank’s record on African agriculture, the bank’s own internal watchdog concluded in October not only that the removal of subsidies had led to exorbitant fertilizer prices in African countries, but that the bank itself had often failed to recognize that improving Africa’s declining soil quality was essential to lifting food production.  Full article.  This is what Mindset 3.0 is about.


Living or Conservation: Is There a Choice?

In Africa, conservation, famine on June 10, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Yes, there is a choice, but for most people in Central Africa, killing elephants and selling the meat for profit is a growing business.  For people that live on less than $1 dollar a day, making $6,000 or so by selling elephant meat is a no-brainer.
People in the forest live in such poverty they do not have time to think about animal conservation, said Andrea Turkalo, a researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society who works in the Dzangha-Sangha National Park.  “This country can’t run their health dispensaries, they can’t educate their children, how can you expect them to think about conservation?” she said. “I think people are still killing for ivory, but there has been a shift in the meat trade because of the human demographics. There are a lot more people here.”  Read more for full content.

Obese Kids and the Hunger Season

In famine, hunger season, obesity on May 14, 2007 at 4:19 am

Two compelling extremes and yet, there does not seem to be an easy solution. At one end, there are kids eating high calories foods from China to Chicago. At the other end of the spectrum, 1 year old kids are learning to adapt to missing meals.

When her 7-year-old son, always a healthy eater who liked his fruits and vegetables, suddenly started begging for sugared cereals and potato chips, Sharon Habeck couldn’t figure out where the new cravings were coming from. Then she sat down and watched 30 minutes of his favorite TV show with him. “Burger King, Lunchables, McDonald’s, Pop Tarts, Cheetos, Burger King again. It was all junk food ads, just one commercial after another,” said the Belmont mom. “It was ridiculous.” At the other extreme, children at ages as young as 1, are learning how to accept and adapt to the loss of missing meals. The clip below is 32 seconds was fear in my heart. See what I mean:

The good news is there is a great organization you should checkout that is focused strictly on helping villagers in Africa to get through the hunger season by teaching locals how to raise food on their own.