Poverty is responsible for the deaths of more than six million children before their fifth birthdays, and a child under 15 dies every five seconds around the world. Poverty contributes to a lack of access to healthcare and immunisations, as well as to proper nutrition, leaving children vulnerable to mostly preventable illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. Malnutrition is responsible for 45 percent of all deaths in children aged under five.
The situation is improving, and the number of deaths has fallen. In the late 1960s, 20 million children under the age of five died every year. In 1990 it was 12 million. However, almost 805 million people in the world – one in nine – don’t have enough access to food.
Drought, a lack of money, low productivity and poor health and limited education among farmers all contribute to food insecurity. A natural disaster or conflict, like the current situation facing Rohingya people who fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh, can further exacerbate an inability to access food, and families living in poverty are less able to make up the shortfall when markets change dramatically.
World Vision addresses both the short-term and long-term causes of hunger and food insecurity in many countries around the world, by teaching farmers how to nurture their land, prevent soil degradation and increase sustainability and productivity. We also provide farmers with new varieties of seed that are both more productive and nutritious, and training in improved agricultural techniques.
When food is assured and children don’t have to contribute to providing food, water and firewood to a household, they can focus on the education that will help lift them and their own children out of poverty.
Educated mothers, for example, are better informed about healthcare and appropriate nutrition, and raise healthier children. Education also results in higher wages and economic growth, with each additional year of schooling equating to a 10 percent increase in wages.