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World hunger and famine

It's time to end world hunger.

It's time to end world hunger. After all, we produce globally more than enough food to feed everyone. Yet each night, about one in every 10 people go to bed on an empty stomach.

That's not right. Conflict, climate change, and bad policy all play a role in creating the right conditions for hunger and famine. One in three people do not have access to adequate food, and not everyone is affected equally–women, for example, have a 10 percent higher chance of being food-insecure than men.

But with the right support, especially for small-scale farmers and women, we can fight hunger and prevent famine. The global struggle to end world hunger is central to Oxfam’s mission to fight inequality and the founding cause of our creation in 1940s. Today, we face new challenges and are finding innovative ways to solve world hunger and famine.

Ways to help stop hunger

Stopping hunger takes a short and long-term approach.

You can help Oxfam offer lifesaving support in times of crisis to fight hunger right now, delivering food to communities around the world made vulnerable by climate change, gender-based violence, exploitation, illness, and war.

In the long term, you can help us dismantle the unequal systems that drive why some people don't have enough to eat. We advocate to end conflicts that make food inaccessible or unaffordable, we call for climate action to slow the effects of the climate crisis on people who live from the land, and we help small-scale farmers grow their own food and better access markets for their products. We also harness the power of consumers to advocate for a healthy and sustainable food system and for the rights of the workers, women, and farmers who source the food we enjoy.

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You can help end world hunger

Right now, you can donate to help families fight hunger around the world, provide lifesaving support to countries recovering from disaster, and support refugees fleeing from violence.

Donate now

Who is affected by world hunger?

Oxfam estimates that more than 150 million people in 55 countries across the world are experiencing extreme levels of food insecurity. That's enough people to fill Madison Square Garden in New York City–7,750 times over.

About two-thirds live in 23 countries affected by conflict, the primary cause of hunger since the pandemic began. The number of people living in famine-like conditions has increased sixfold to more than 520,000. Women, children, displaced people, informal workers, and disadvantaged groups are bearing the brunt of this food crisis.

That means that 11 people are likely dying every minute from acute hunger linked to conflict, COVID-19, and the climate crisis.

How Oxfam fights hunger and famine

When disaster strikes, Oxfam works with a global network of local organizations to address urgent humanitarian needs and protect lives. We deliver food, clean water, cash, and information, working closely with local leaders who know how best to help people in need.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed the fragility of our food systems. That's why Oxfam is working with local communities across the world to build resilient and sustainable local food systems able to provide nourishing food for everyone to solve world hunger.

Vietnamese farmer Hoang Thi Lien, 53, right, and Nguyen Thi My, 49, are specialists in the System of Rice Intensification. They teach other farmers innovative techniques to produce more rice using less water and seed.
Vietnamese farmer Hoang Thi Lien, 53, right, and Nguyen Thi My, 49, are specialists in the System of Rice Intensification. They teach other farmers innovative techniques to produce more rice using less water and seed. Chau Doan/Oxfam America

Building livelihoods

In order to stop world hunger, Oxfam and our partners help farmers learn new techniques, share their innovative ideas with each other, grow more food, and earn more money. And when sudden disasters (an earthquake or an upsurge of locusts), or slow-onset emergencies such as drought bring hunger and the threat of famine, we help people rebuild the ways they make a living so they can put food on the table.

For farmers, we provide seeds, tools, and other supplies people need to grow their own food, keep their livestock healthy, and become self-sufficient. In many emergencies, Oxfam provides cash so people can make their own food purchasing decisions, to ensure they can get what will help them best (and circulate money in the local economy).

Juana Gutiérrez washes her son's hands at their home in Guatemala, in part of the country known as the Dry Corridor. Oxfam has been helping families here with soap to ensure they do not get water-borne diseases.
Juana Gutiérrez washes her son's hands at their home in Guatemala, in part of the country known as the Dry Corridor. Oxfam has been helping families here with soap to ensure they do not get water-borne diseases. Carlos Zaparolli / Oxfam

Providing water, sanitation, and hygiene

Communities enduring emergencies and food shortages may also face a lack of clean water and the threat of disease. It’s hard to absorb nutrition from any available food if you have a stomach ailment. Oxfam and our partners help people with a source of clean water, soap so they can stay clean, and a proper toilet to avoid contaminating water supplies. In many of Oxfam’s ongoing programs, our partners work on promoting good hygiene and sanitation to help people stay healthy even when there is not an emergency.

Monica Maigari, a finalist in Nigeria’s Female Food Hero contest, went to Washington, DC, to help Oxfam advocate in Congress for legislation that will improve global humanitarian assistance for small-scale women farmers.
Monica Maigari, a finalist in Nigeria’s Female Food Hero contest, went to Washington, DC, to help Oxfam advocate in Congress for legislation that will improve global humanitarian assistance for small-scale women farmers. Keith Lane / Oxfam America

Advocating with and for communities

Oxfam and our supporters advocate for peace, push for adequate assistance for people affected by war and famine, and campaign for climate action given the climate crisis' effect on the world’s supply of food and the poorest communities.

Our research and advocacy advance sustainable development in ways that help reduce the risk of future food crises and disasters, helping communities become more resilient.

We also advocate for more assistance for rural women farmers, who account for nearly half the agricultural workforce in developing countries. Despite their crucial roles in producing food, they face discrimination and limited bargaining power, disadvantages in land rights, unpaid work, insecure employment, and exclusion from decision making and political representation.

Volunteers in Washington, DC, help Oxfam advocate for humanitarian assistance for countries struggling to avoid famine in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in 2017.
Volunteers in Washington, DC, help Oxfam advocate for humanitarian assistance for countries struggling to avoid famine in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula in 2017. Keith Lane / Oxfam

How you can help end world hunger

Find out what you can do to reduce hunger and the likelihood of famine in the world. Visit our Take Action page to sign up for a virtual event, add your name to a petition or contact your member of Congress to push for better policies, and join our E-Community.

You can also make a donation towards hunger relief: Your financial contribution can help fight hunger and famine, so we can defeat poverty and injustice.

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