“If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger.” -Buzz Aldrin.
In today’s episode, I will share with you a cause I’m passionate about… working to solve world hunger through entrepreneurship. This is Entrepreneurs of Faith, a Sunday episode of Monetization Nation. I’m Nathan Gwilliam, your host.
Going to Bed Hungry for the First Time
In 1994 I was a volunteer missionary in a rural, northeastern Brazilian town named Arcoverde. I remember one night I was there that I went to bed hungry for the first time in my life. I had no food and no money with which I could buy any food. Missing one meal was really not that big of a deal, but the feeling of helplessness that I was hungry and there was nothing I could do about it, was a big deal.
And, I cannot even begin to imagine how I would feel if my wife and children were also regularly going to bed hungry. That would be far worse.
What I went through one night is completely insignificant compared to the millions of people around the world who regularly go to bed hungry due to food insecurity. Imagine the helplessness and hopelessness they feel.
World Hunger Statistics
Here are a few statistics to help us understand the magnitude of the world hunger crisis:
- 1 in 9 people still goes hungry every day. (source: Concern USA).
- Each year 2 million children die from malnutrition. (source: Jonathan Sacks)
- More than 820 million people go to bed hungry every night. (source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
- And hunger isn’t just an issue in developing countries. “One in four kids in the U.S. faces hunger.” (sources: Jeff Bridges)
- “35 million people in the U.S. are hungry or don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and 13 million of them are children. If another country were doing this to our children, we’d be at war.” (source: Jeff Bridges)
Credible Sources Encouraging Us to Help the Hungry
“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for the minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr
Matthew 25:37-40 (NIV) teaches: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Causes of World Hunger
Global hunger is caused by many issues such as food shortages, disasters, conflict, forced migration, crop failure, etc. And, I know there are many great organizations working to implement numerous great solutions to world hunger. Today I want to talk about one of these solutions.
One Sustainable Solution to Help Conquer World Hunger
According to a World Bank report, poverty is the principal cause of hunger. We definitely need to help provide food to the people who are hungry today in the short term. But even more importantly, we can help people to become more self-reliant by building sources of income so that they can provide food for themselves and their families in a sustainable, long-term way.
One of my all-time favorite websites is Kiva.org. On Kiva, we can see photos and stories of different entrepreneurs around the world and learn about the ventures they are trying to grow and why they need funds. These loans they are requesting are relatively small, ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. These loans are often used to purchase livestock and animal feed so the entrepreneurs can raise animals they can sell for a profit.
Once we select one or more entrepreneurs on Kiva, we can make a donation of as little as $25. A group of lenders combines their funds to provide the resources the entrepreneur needs. When all of the funds are raised, Kiva makes the loan to the entrepreneur, along with providing support resources to help the borrower be successful. 100% of the money loaned goes to the field. And, remember, this is a loan, not a donation, which means the funds are almost always repaid.
Kiva borrowers have an astounding 96% loan repayment rate. Think about that. Only 4% of Kiva borrowers default on their loans. Compare that to the default rate of more than 8% on mortgages in the U.S. When the funds are returned to us, we can choose to then reinvest those funds with another entrepreneur, or withdraw the funds. So, the same money we use to fund our first loan to an entrepreneur on Kiva could be reinvested dozens of times to bless the lives of dozens of other entrepreneurs and their families.
So far, the Kiva community has 1.9 million lenders in 77 countries and has funded more than $1.6 billion in loans.
Proverbs 28:27 gives us a promise when we feed the hungry. It says, “He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”
Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. World hunger is likely a solvable problem. If we can put astronauts in space, we can definitely conquer world hunger if we all work together to solve it.
2. More than 820 million people go to bed hungry every night.
3. Each year 2 million children die from malnutrition.
4. We can choose an entrepreneur (or entrepreneurs) on Kiva.org and make a donation.
5. Our loan funds are repaid to us and we can choose to make the loan to another entrepreneur.
6. Kiva has a 96% average loan repayment rate.
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