Effects of Poverty and Hunger


The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education (Pgs. 1-10)

Poverty and armed conflict can reinforce cycles of hunger and desperation. UNESCO reports that, in many cases, countries involved in conflict are often the furthest from reaching goals in education. In conflict areas, 42% of primary school age children are not attending schools and are twice as likely to die before the age of five. In an effort to destroy civilian infrastructure, armed groups attack schools because they are seen as vulnerable targets. According to a 2008 study, only 69% of children living in displacement camps received primary school education. In addition, excessive military spending can drain funds from schools and educational reform. A recent study states, “[I]t would take just six days of military spending by rich countries to close the US$16 billion Education for All external financing gap.” If military expenditures were to be cut by 10% in countries spending more on arms than on education, an additional 9.5 million children would be able attend school.

EFA Global Monitoring Report Team. “The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education.” United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. 2011. Pgs. 1-10. Web. September 2013. <http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0019/001907/190743e.pdf>.


Conflict, Food Insecurity, and Globalization (Pgs. 13-16)

This discussion paper, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute, draws correlations between food insecurity, malnutrition and the increased risk of conflict. As research has shown, few conflicts originate in areas where food is ample. Oftentimes, combatants join armies with the belief that they have nothing to lose in an already-lacking environment. The hope of acquiring meals in exchange for their military service is an incentive for most to participate in combat. These individuals often lack the ability to feed themselves or to rebel against oppressive forces because they are “1) insufficiently organized and 2) overly terrorized and repressed.” The effects of conflict on a region can be greatly magnified by food insecurities and the inability to provide for the larger population during times of turmoil. Countries with already lacking stable food sources have difficulty in coping with drastic changes and damages to their living environment. There is a need to break the cycle of hunger and conflict through timely investments in supplies and food sources.

Messer, Ellen and Marc J. Cohen. “Conflict, Food Insecurity, and Globalization.” International Food Policy Research Institute. May 2006. Pgs. 13-16. Web. September 2013. <http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/pubs/divs/fcnd/dp/papers/fcndp206.pdf>.


The Relationship between Poverty, Conflict and Development

Brian-Vincent Ikejiaku argues that political corruption is an underlying cause of poverty, which leads to various forms of conflict. Four variations of conflict have characterized Africa: secessions, civil wars, regional conflicts, and internal crises. These types of conflicts have been the cause of loss in human life and property and the destruction of social infrastructure. The Report of the Commission for Africa states, “[C]onflict causes as many deaths in Africa each year as epidemic disease and is responsible for more deaths and displacements than famine or flood.” When people are forced to flee from their homes and live in refugee camps, they often spread disease and ailments to one another. During conflict, roads and sanitation systems can also be destroyed, aiding the spread of ailments and disease and exacerbating the already derelict conditions of life. Poverty and economic paralysis of a nation results in the inability to fund social and public programs, thus leading to social disintegration which may be an underlying cause for further conflicts such as internal crises, regional conflicts, and civil wars.

Ikejiaku, Brian-Vincent. “The Relationship between Poverty, Conflict and Development.” Journal of Sustainable Development. Vol. 2, No. 1. March 2009. Web. September 2013. <http://ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/jsd/article/download/231/191‎>.


Food Insecurity and Violent Conflict: Causes, Consequences, and Addressing the Challenges (Pgs. 5-8)

This World Food Programme report recognizes the intrinsic link between food insecurity and conflict. In a study done by Pinstrup-Andersen and Shimokawa, the results showed that “poor health and nutrition are associated with greater probability of civil conflict […]. Countries with lower per capita caloric intake are more prone to experience civil conflict.” The authors state that sixty-five percent of the world’s people who live with food shortages are concentrated in seven countries: Congo, India, China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Ethiopia – with all but one experiencing civil conflict within the past decade. In cases of interstate conflict, disputes between neighboring states attribute to scarcity of land, which also play a role in reducing arable land and the invasion of territories with great agricultural production. Limited access to these regions can decrease food production, thus leading to food insecurity – an underlying cause of conflict.

Brinkman, Henk-Jan and Cullen S. Hendrix. “Food Insecurity and Violent Conflict: Causes, Consequences, and Addressing the Challenges.” World Food Programme. July 2011. Pgs. 5-8. Web. September 2013. <http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/newsroom/wfp238358.pdf>.

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