16 October 2023

The world faces an unprecedented hunger crisis as conflict, COVID-19, climate change and rising costs drive many people into extremely vulnerable situations. On World Food Day, 16 October, The Salvation Army joins other churches and Christian organisations in prayer and action against hunger.

The Salvation Army's International Development Services partners with local corps (churches) and communities across the world to help tackle poverty and challenge injustice. Here we explore three projects focused on nutrition and food security.

Conservation Agriculture in Zimbabwe

Persistent drought in Zimbabwe is having a severe impact on the many people who rely on subsistence farming in rural areas. Climate change makes conventional farming methods less effective and food price inflation of 285% - the highest in the world (World Economic Forum) – means that buying additional food is increasingly out of reach for the poorest.

A Salvation Army project in the north of the country is promoting conservation agriculture to help local farmers adapt. Lead farmers come together at demonstration plots to learn techniques such as agroforestry, where trees are planted alongside food crops to improve and protect the soil, and the cultivation of drought-tolerant crops including sorghum, finger millet and rapoko.

After training at the demonstration plots, lead farmers pass on their newly acquired skills to others in their local area. 

A lead farmer in Zimbabwe
Solomon, a lead farmer in Zimbabwe, speaks about the project

Joanne Beale, The Salvation Army’s International Community Development Lead, explains, ‘At a time when we’re deeply concerned about the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable, conservation agriculture is one adaptation that can be made to traditional farming practices. Not only does it optimise crop yields, using this method can also reduce erosion, improve soil quality and biodiversity and preserve natural resources.’ 

All possible when the local community works together with support from The Salvation Army locally and funding from the United Kingdom and Ireland Territory and The Salvation Army’s World Service Office.

Pearl Millet demonstration plot
Participating famers checking for pests at a pearl millet demonstration plot

Food Diversity in Malawi

Communities The Salvation Army works with in the Kasungu district of central Malawi identified food insecurity as a problem in the area. Most households rely on farming alone with little food diversity.

Thanks to funding from the Sweden and Latvia Territory, The Salvation Army in Malawi is able to provide training in conservation agriculture to help 3000 smallholders diversify their crops and boost production.

One of the problems farmers faced was a lack of suitable fertiliser, which is where the goat-pass-on programme comes in. Farmers receive goats as part of the project, along with training on animal care and disease prevention. The first kids born are then passed on to other farmers in the area.

Goat manure goes into making better compost, reducing the need for expensive chemical fertilisers and improving the health of the soil. The goats also provide farmers with an extra source of income, giving families a resource to fall back on if the harvest fails or when school fees are due.

Healthier soil and a wider range of foods – it all adds up to better nutrition for people and the land!

Child Development in the Dominican Republic

Shared meals are a key part of the program run for children at three corps (churches) in the Dominican Republic. Children in the areas served by the Cotuí, Moca and Tres Brazos corps come from very low economic backgrounds. The corps officers (ministers) report that up to 60% of children are malnourished.

Funding from the Norway, Iceland and The Faroes Territory supports the three corps to run child development programs in their communities. Children come after school to share a meal, receive help with maths, reading and writing and to play games together. The centres are safe spaces where they can simply be children, without having to work or look for food on the streets.

Hamlet, 10, regularly attends one of the centres with his little brothers. When he first arrived, Hamlet was unable to read, something he was bullied for at school. Thanks to hard work and literacy support at the centre, he is now making excellent progress with his reading and is no longer being teased by classmates.

Local parents have embraced the centres, with many offering help to prepare food and to support activities for the children.

Weekend of Prayer and Action Against Hunger

The Salvation Army is participating in the Weekend of Prayer and Action Against Hunger (14-16 October). Find prayers, reflections and ideas for individual and community action on the World Vision website.

You can also share how your corps or community is working to end hunger using the hashtag #WoPA2023.

IHQ Communications

Tags: Africa, Americas and Caribbean, International development, News