We all know how the cost of living can often seem to be unmanageable, forcing us to use most of our available resources for the simple necessities of survival such as energy (gas, petrol or diesel and electricity), housing and nutrition, leaving very little left over for savings or luxuries.
But what about those in Africa and beyond? Those who are forced to survive without the even the bare basics? Malnutrition can lead to terrible deficiencies such as anaemia, beriberi, scurvy, rickets and kwashiorkor, as well as devastating and lifelong effects in children and babies.
The Great Divide
Many people are struggling to maintain their quality of life these days as global food prices skyrocket. The recent oil crisis influences both the production and transportation of food and is just one element that trickles down into our grocery bills.
While the price of daily sustenance increases, many producers are experiencing a sharp rise in production costs. Food producers, especially in first world countries, are looking to specialised products and progressive methods to supply a smaller number of consumers who are able to pay more for gourmet produce.
This divide between the needs of the destitute, and decisions of the wealthy, comes at a cost. Organic coffee, for example, costs less than regular coffee bean farming, but the yields are smaller thus allowing producers to charge more for less.
Supplying the Necessities
Soup kitchens, community bakeries and other feeding schemes dont just aim to feed mouths, but rather nourish multitudes within ludicrous financial constraints.
How is this possible? Peanut butter on brown bread with a glass of milk is a tried and tested meal used in schools, refugee camps and emergencies to supply the basics of nutrition without breaking the bank. Here a breakdown of a basic nutritional meal:
Milk: As we all know, milk is one of our main sources of calcium, which is essential for the healthy structure of bones and teeth especially in developing bodies. Packed with nutrients, essential amino acids and vitamins; a glass of milk is said to contain over a third of our daily vitamin intake, and is also good for lining an empty stomach to prevent gastric acids from eating away at the lining and causing ulcers.
Whole Wheat Brown Bread: Brown bread is much less processed than white bread, contains fewer calories and is high in fibre and nutrients essential to healthy living (including Vitamin B and E, Iron and Zinc).
Peanut Butter: Like most legume products, peanut butter is incredibly nourishing. The household favourite of millions around the world, peanut butter is extremely high in protein and fibre as well as mono and polyunsaturated fats – wash it down with a glass of milk and youre well on your way to a healthy, cheap meal.
Soup Kitchens, Bakeries and Feeding Schemes
Given the resourcefulness, ingenuity and community spirit of the people of Africa, there are many who are making great strides in creating sustainable food production and distribution points like mobile soup kitchens and bakeries made from prefabricated structures and old containers such as shipping containers. Although these projects are doing a wonderful job of making an impact into malnutrition and starvation in Africa, they simply arent self-sufficient at this point. From teaching about good nutrition to buying or growing ingredients, these facilities and projects rely on donations and fundraising to feed those in need.
How Can You Level The Playing Field?
You dont need to donate a kidney, give up delicacies or live on morsels to help alleviate starvation in Africa and facilitate sustainability. Consumer consciousness coupled with a social spirit is more than enough to assist in saving the day.
There are many online charities devoted to collecting money from those who have resources to spare in order to help those who do not have anything to begin with. Many of these charities focus on nutrition and with guarantees that your donation will reach those in need, all you need to do is click the mouse and know that you are making a difference.
By being aware of what foods and brands you buy, as well as the subtleties between nutritional value and value-for-money, you can save a small fortune without having to give up the luxuries youve earned for yourself and have that small amount to spare each month to help the people of Africa.
A small sacrifice could be the difference between life and death in Africa.