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‘1 Billion Meals’ Ramadan initiative combats hunger in over 50 countries

By Rayya Al Muheisen - Apr 27,2022 - Last updated at Apr 27,2022

AMMAN — The “1 Billion Meals” initiative, organised by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, aims to combat hunger throughout Ramadan.

The initiative, launched at the start of the holy month, is run in coordination with the World Food Programme, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Food Banking Regional Network, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment and relevant humanitarian and charity institutions in the targeted countries, according to a statement by the organisers.

“The ‘1 Billion Meals’ initiative is the largest humanitarian initiative of its kind in the region,” Sara Al Nuaimi, Director of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI) told The Jordan Times.

Nuaimi added that the initiative aims to provide food support to the most vulnerable groups in the world — particularly women, children, refugees, displaced people and victims of disasters and crises.

Nuaimi noted that the initiative will remain active until it has collected the contributions required to deliver one billion meals to the underprivileged and the undernourished around the world.

“The initiative will deliver support in the form of food parcels,” Nuaimi stated.

She added that the parcels will contain ingredients to prepare a nutritious meal, or will provide vouchers that can be directly redeemed in participating stores in more than 50 countries, noting that this ensures the help reaches the less fortunate communities in the most efficient means possible.

The countries, which will receive the aid include Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Tunisia, Iraq, Egypt, Kosovo, Brazil, Benin, Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Angola, Sierra Leone, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and others.

The initiative is also directly responding to the increasing global hunger crisis by delivering consistent humanitarian assistance to underserved communities all over the world. It also supports efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Two that aims to end hunger by 2030, according to Nuaimi.

“Today, more than 800 million people are undernourished globally, 52 million of whom live in the Middle East and North Africa,” Nuaimi added.

She highlighted that the majority of them are women and children and 25,000 people globally die of hunger every 10 seconds, of which 10,000 of them are children.

The number of people suffering from starvation or “catastrophic hunger” has also increased sixfold since the start of the pandemic, with hunger claiming a child’s life every 10 seconds, Nuaimi said.
“This is the third chapter of our efforts to combat global hunger,” she noted.

She added that MBRGI has already launched two previous campaigns: “10 Million Meals” and last year’s “100 Million Meals, and we see “1 Billion Meals” as a long-term continuation of these efforts.

The campaign will continue until we have reached the one billion target and, once that has been achieved, we will assess its success and determine in what ways, and in which countries, it can evolve to help even more people escape hunger, she noted.

“Logistics will be an area of increased focus,” she said.

Nuaimi pointed out that there are also new challenges, such as a 50 per cent increase in the number of displaced people in Africa since 2020, which is one of the regions most targeted by the campaign.

The ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic, particularly to supply chains, continue to provide challenges, too, she noted.


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