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Think local and low-tech, Send a Cow urges global hunger summit

07.08.2012

Think local and low-tech, Send a Cow urges global hunger summit

Africa can feed itself – if investment is made in grassroots solutions to hunger and malnutrition.

That’s the message from sustainable agricultural charity Send a Cow to those meeting at the ‘hunger summit' in London on Sunday to discuss the issue of childhood stunting and malnutrition, which affects 180 million children worldwide.

The meeting is expected to focus on high-tech ways of tackling malnutrition, such as investing in businesses producing genetically modified foods aimed at enriching poor families’ diets.

But Send a Cow believes that investment should go directly to grassroots initiatives which aim to end hunger through sustainable farming, and which educate families about the importance of childhood nutrition.

“The thousands of communities we work in Africa with are proving themselves perfectly capable of tackling hunger and malnutrition through low-tech means – with a little support from us,” said Send a Cow’s Research and Development Manager, Richie Alford.

“With our training, they learn the importance of feeding their families a balanced diet – and gain the skills to do so.”

Send a Cow promotes sustainable organic farming in seven countries in Africa, providing farming families with the skills to manage their natural resources successfully and produce food all year round. Where necessary it gives families livestock, which provide eggs, milk or meat to enrich their diets, as well as manure to improve the soil so more crops and vegetables can be grown.

Send a Cow programmes place a particular emphasis on kitchen gardening: enabling families to grow nutrient-rich vegetables for home consumption and sale.

Farmer Mesfine, a father-of-four from Kotoba in Ethiopia, has set up kitchen gardens on his land in Kotoba, Ethiopia, and has also diversified into apple growing. He says: “We used to have nothing to eat and we had to try to fill our stomachs with something – but [local staple crop] enset is not nutritious.

“We now have enough to eat, and it is nutritious food.”

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