The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a lush country of rainforests, hills, and mountains. It’s home to gorillas, the white rhinoceros, elephants, and giraffes. Its natural beauty is matched by its wealth of natural resources, ranking it among the richest in those terms.
It’s therefore ironic that this beauty and bounty co-exist with one of the largest hunger crises in the world. The country has the greatest number of people in the world — 27 million — facing high levels of food insecurity. This means people are without reliable access to enough affordable and nutritious food. To afford a little food, they must use crisis-coping strategies such as borrowing money or depleting assets. To stretch the food, families ration portion sizes, or adults skip meals to leave more for their children.
This crisis didn’t happen overnight. Decades of conflict and political instability have crippled development, forcing millions to flee their homes and farmlands. The effects of conflict are compounded by an economic slump resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation.
This crisis is part of a global hunger challenge of unprecedented proportions that’s been brewing for nearly a decade. Thankfully, it’s beginning to capture the attention it deserves to jolt people into action.
What are we supposed to do about 27 million hungry people in the DRC, or an estimated 345 million acutely hungry people in the world? The simple answer comes from the Bible: “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble”(Isaiah 58:10, NLT).
How can we save lives now and build a food-secure future, working toward hunger as a bad memory rather than an intolerable reality? We won’t achieve a zero-hunger world before Jesus returns. Nevertheless, isn’t it part of our calling to work toward that goal until He comes and accomplishes it fully?
With the support of many people, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Canada is working toward that goal. In the DRC, a new ADRA project funded by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) is preparing to bring therapeutic nutritional treatment to 1,000 severely malnourished children. After completing this lifesaving treatment, they’ll receive a supplementary treatment to further support and strengthen their health. The project will also encourage mothers to breastfeed their children under two years old. Community-based programs will promote good dietary practices. This will save lives and fend off the irreversible consequences of malnourishment.
Families will also receive cash to empower them to buy sufficient food, pay off debts, or invest in livelihoods to sustain themselves. This project, along with two previous ones like it, will reach 22,000 people and their families.
In countries such as Kenya, Mozambique, and Nepal, ADRA projects funded by CFGB are teaching families how to grow their own food and investing in livelihood development. Similar projects will begin soon in Sudan, Indonesia, and one country in South America.
It will take many people pulling together to meet this crisis. Even then, it will take God’s blessings on ADRA’s resources and efforts. But He has promised blessings. We can therefore be undaunted in our task of feeding the hungry and helping “those in trouble.”