Involuntary hunger is a complex problem with various causes and manifests in many forms. It is a problem exclusively experienced by poor families and its most damaging effects are unleashed on children below the age of 12. When children go hungry on a sustained basis and are undernourished at this age their brains and bodies fail to reach the adequate cognitive and physical development that will serve as their life-long foundation for productivity and general well-being—an almost irreversible effect that radically undermines their chances for a better future. Addressing hunger among children is a key step in breaking the vicious cycle that keeps people poor. Better nourished children will be more productive and will thus have greater chances of ending poverty for themselves and their families.
The long-standing problem of hunger has been a significant factor in the vicious cycles and systems that have kept so many families poor. Involuntary hunger may result from a number of causes such lack of regular income which in turn was caused by the combined lack of opportunities and lack of proper education. For complex and interconnected problems such as this, there is no preferred starting point for a solution. These kinds of problems can be only be untangled when enabling environments are created to allow patterns of success to gain momentum and eventually tip the balance towards comprehensive and lasting change.
It is in this context that Gawad Kalnga has embarked on a campaign to end hunger as a key strategy of ending poverty for 5 million families by 2024. We cannot end poverty without addressing hunger. As a first milestone, GK aims to feed 50,000 children in school and on the streets through Kusina ng Kalinga (KnK)—a large-scale, year-long, and universal feeding program.
The first Kusina ng Kalinga was established in Alang-Alang, Leyte in partnership with Ateneo de Manila University, the LGU of Alang-Alang, the Department of Education Division of Leyte, Lifebank Foundation, and the Charles Borromeo Philippine Medical Mission. By February 2015, three more kitchens were established in Brgy. Baesa in Quezon City, Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat, and the Municipality of San Isidro in Leyte. By February 2016, 10 kitchens have been established to serve daily lunch to 20,144 kids nationwide.
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A powerpoint presentation can also be downloaded for more information.