Why is there still hunger?

Published June 11, 2010

Hellen Wangusa Photo: Art Babych

Hellen Wangusa, the Anglican Observer to the United Nations told General Synod that Anglicans need to examine the causes of hunger and poverty in the developing world.

In 2000, countries committed themselves to eight millennium development goals. “The millennium development goals are very exciting-and they are achievable. Why is it we are not 50 per cent there and the deadline is 2015?” she asked.

One of the reasons the world has not met the goal of at least halving the number of people in poverty is because “we have not dealt with causes,” Wangusa told the 300 delegates. “People die every day from hunger. I sit here every day with more food than I can eat. Why is there hunger?”

Wangusa said one of the reasons is “short sighted policies” by international financial institutions, naming the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. There is a need to discuss policy discussions on the accumulation of wealth, she said, and how U.N. efforts are often marginalized by the policies of the Western countries in the G8 (which includes Canada).

Education is extremely important, Wangusa said. Speaking of her own experience, she said that without education “I probably would have married or been forced to get married by 12. I probably would have died in childbirth.”

She said the church should question how success is measured. Statistics are important, but there is a need to go beyond statistics. Quality is important-one can promote elementary school education, but it shouldn’t be “one teacher for every 100 students whose classroom is under a tree.”

Mrs. Wangusa thanked the synod for her invitation to speak, and said that “the Canadian Church gives me hope.” Synod dares to debate, to disagree, but deals with issues that are important, she said.

[sidebar hed] The Eight U.N. Millennium Development Goals

1. End poverty and hunger

2. Universal education

3. Gender equality

4. Child health

5. Maternal health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS

7. Environmental sustainability

8. Global partnership


  • Neale Adams

    Neale Adams is a freelance writer in Vancouver. He was former editor of Topic, the newspaper of the diocese of New Westminster.

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