Starving Kids in Africa: A Deep Dive Into the Hunger Crisis
Child hunger in Africa affects millions of children across the continent. Hunger is especially devastating in childhood — leading to malnutrition, stunted growth, and even death. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 4 people are affected by hunger, with children being the most vulnerable.
As we begin, it’s important to note that certain words in the field of humanitarian aid carry a great deal of meaning. For example, “famine” and “starvation” mean that a specific set of criteria has been met — telling us when help is needed, and in some cases, when it’s too late.
The definition of famine comes from The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification: “In a given area, famine occurs when food security, nutrition, and mortality altogether portray famine conditions — meaning at least 20% of the population is affected, with about one out of three children being acutely malnourished and two people dying per day for every 10,000 inhabitants due to outright starvation or to the interaction of malnutrition and disease.”
It’s important to know the several stages of food insecurity that precede a famine. The chart below outlines the FEWS NET classifications between food security and food insecurity and are important to the discussion of starvation.
Phases of Food Insecurity (Paraphrased from the IPC)
Most households can feed themselves and their families without outside assistance.
Finding food is difficult, and households can’t easily afford non-food essentials.
Households are either experiencing food gaps that lead to above-usual acute malnutrition OR can only meet their food needs by going without other essential resources.
Households are either experiencing large food gaps that lead to very high acute malnutrition OR can only meet their food needs by going to extreme lengths.
No matter what they do, households are experiencing an extreme lack of food. Starvation, death, and extreme acute malnutrition are widespread.
Having these stages of food insecurity in mind will bring better clarity as we examine the following.
- • The root causes for starving children in Africa
- • The cost of feeding hungry kids in Africa
- • How to donate to help starving kids in Africa
- • How much it would cost to end hunger in Africa
- • Whether the U.S. sends food to kids starving in Africa
- • What Convoy of Hope is doing to feed kids in Africa
What Causes Child Hunger in Africa?
Child hunger in Africa is caused by a range of factors, including:
- • Poverty
- • Conflict
- • Natural Disasters
Across Africa, extreme poverty is widespread, with about 460 million people affected. Poverty limits access to food and basic resources, leading to malnutrition and hunger.
Conflict-affected countries like South Sudan also suffer from food shortages and displacement — leading to acute malnutrition among children. Natural disasters like droughts, floods, and climate change also impact the production and distribution of food, which exacerbates food insecurity.
Convoy of Hope is continually feeding children throughout the horn of Africa.
Africa Hunger Facts
- • The hunger crisis in East Africa is particularly acute, with an estimated 33 million people in need of emergency food assistance.
- • The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst food crisis in decades, with more than 20 million people facing extreme hunger.
- • Malnourished children in the region are at risk of death, with an estimated 1.4 million children acutely malnourished.
- • In West Africa, the Sahel region is facing a severe food crisis.
According to Oxfam International, between 2015 and 2022, the number of people in need of emergency food assistance nearly quadrupled — from 7 million people to 27 million people.
The same report notes that an estimated 6.3 million children are acutely malnourished, with more than 1.4 million suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
How Much Does It Cost to Feed a Kid in Africa?
The cost of feeding a child in Africa varies depending on the location and availability of food. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been working for the well-being of the world’s children for more than 75 years and has a presence in more than 190 countries.
UNICEF USA, a nonprofit working to support UNICEF’s nutritional and health goals, reports it is able to feed a child for about $0.50 a day. That benchmark is achieved by other organizations.
By doing research, people can find a nonprofit that can translate $15 a month into helping alleviate hunger for children in Africa. Your donation can help provide food, clean water, and basic healthcare to hungry children in Africa.
How to Donate to Help Starving Kids in Africa?
There are several ways to donate to help starving African children. You can donate to reputable organizations, such as:
All of these organizations are actively working to provide food and other essential services to children in need. They provide emergency food aid, nutrition programs, and long-term solutions to address the root causes of child hunger in Africa.
Additionally, people can participate in fundraising events, or they can donate directly to local food banks or community-based organizations in Africa. Donating to organizations like the World Food Programme — which provides emergency food aid to millions of people in Africa — is also a meaningful way to make a difference.
How Much Would It Cost to End Hunger in Africa?
Ending hunger in Africa is a daunting task that requires the efforts of governments, international organizations, and individuals.
- • According a 2008 United Nations report, it would cost an estimated $30 billion annually for a decade to end world hunger.
- • In 2020, a German study essentially echoed that figure when shifting the end year to 2030.
- • A 2019 study by the IFC (International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group) estimated the annual cost to eradicate hunger in Africa alone would be about $5.25 billion.
Investing in this endeavor is not only a moral imperative, but an economic one. With sustained investment and commitment, the world can work toward ending hunger and poverty in Africa.
Does the U.S. Send Food to Africa?
Yes, the U.S. government provides food aid to Africa through various programs like the Food for Peace program. In addition, private organizations and individuals in the U.S. provide donations to support hunger relief efforts in Africa.
However, it is essential to note that while emergency food aid is necessary to address immediate needs, long-term solutions like investing in agriculture, education, and infrastructure are necessary to build food security and end extreme poverty in Africa.
Child hunger is a significant problem affecting millions of children in Africa. The crisis is compounded by large influences like poverty, conflict, and natural disasters. The solution can begin to take shape when a compassionate partner commits just $0.50 a day to feed a kid in Africa.
Do research, identify a donation that feels meaningful and achievable, and support a reputable organization that can make a significant impact in the lives of children.
How Convoy is Feeding Kids
Founded in 1994, Convoy of Hope is a faith-based nonprofit organization with a driving passion to feed the world. You can learn more about Convoy at convoyofhope.org.
Especially relevant to the needs of starving kids in Africa are Convoy’s Children’s Feeding program and its feedONE campaign. Each year, the Children’s Feeding program grows to serve even more hungry kids around the world. That number stands at more than 533,000 in 2023.
Convoy strategically gathers and distributes resources to live up to its promise that “$10 will feed a child regular meals for a month.” That works out to be around 33 cents a day.
Convoy of Hope has been developing targeted programs in Africa through much of its history. You can read about Convoy’s programs in Ethiopia and get a first-person perspective from Chege in Kenya. If you are concerned about the nutritional needs of children in Africa, you might find that partnering with Convoy of Hope will position you to make a meaningful difference.