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  • malnutrition treating food sachets
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  • treatment for one undernourished child

Children need good, nutritious food - that's a fact

But right now, millions of children around the world don’t have enough to eat – that’s another fact.​

Behind those numbers are children’s real lives. A little girl in Somalia crying from hunger pains in the night. A toddler in Afghanistan too weak to stand. And here in the UK, children coming to school with empty lunchboxes.

Today’s global food crisis is the result of conflict like the war in Ukraine, skyrocketing food prices, Covid and the climate emergency.

We know it’s a complex global problem – and it needs both immediate and future-proof solutions.​ That’s why tackling hunger and child malnutrition is such a priority in 2023.

With our experience and their resilience, together we can help children fight for their childhoods and feed their futures.

With your support, we can make this the last children’s food crisis.

Meet Ubah

Ubah*'s mother holds her in her arms as Ubah looks into her eyes and squeezes her cheeks

Ubah* was suffering from severe acute malnutrition (S.A.M) when she arrived at the local hospital with her mother Yasmiin*.

“Her weight doesn’t always reach 100% where it is supposed to be, and the sickness is weakening her,” Yasmiin*, 28, explains.

Watching your child’s health deteriorate is every parent's worst nightmare. But S.A.M. can be treated quickly and effectively if a child can access the right health care. 

“She could not drink well, but within 24 hours I felt good to see my child playing”, says Yasmiin*.

After going through such a difficult time, Ubah* and Yasmiin* share a special mother and daughter bond. “I want her to live a good life.” Yasmiin* says.

* Name changed to protect identity

How is Save the Children helping to end the global food crisis

A quote from the Chefs in School survey in The Observer which says "The child was pretending to eat out of an empty lunchbox because they did not qualify for free school meals and did not want their friends to know there was no food at home"

We’re working with local organisations, communities, and children themselves in countries around the world – and with your help we can make the change we need to see. ​ Because the answer to this crisis is more than just food…​

  • In famine-like conditions in East Africa, we’re getting emergency nutrition to children as they battle for survival.
  • We’re making sure children from Nepal to Nigeria get a healthy start in life by providing breastfeeding support and nutrition.
  • Here in the UK, we’re helping families with the cost of the weekly shop and campaigning for more action by governments on the cost of living crisis.

Through cash transfers, vouchers, free school meals, drought-resistant seeds, and livelihood support, we’re helping families right around the world put good food on the table.​

We must save lives and prevent hunger in the short-term, whilst making systems more resilient for the future. 

What's the difference between a food crisis and hunger crisis?

The main difference between a food crisis and a hunger crisis is that a food crisis is about the availability of food, while a hunger crisis is about the access to food.

What is a food crisis?

A food crisis is a situation where there is not enough food to meet the needs of a population. This can be caused by a number of factors, including drought, floods, war, and economic instability.

What is a hunger crisis?

A hunger crisis is a situation where people do not have access to enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. This can be caused by a lack of access to food, a lack of money to buy food, or a combination of both.

How can we end global hunger?

There are a number of things that can be done to prevent and address food crises and hunger crises. These include:

  • Investing in agriculture and food production
  • Providing food assistance to people who need it
  • Promoting economic development to reduce poverty
  • Addressing the root causes of hunger, such as conflict and climate change

Hunger is a preventable problem.

By working together, we can end hunger and create a world where everyone has enough to eat.


Afghanistan is facing its worst food crisis since records began. Over 22.8 million people have been pushed into severe hunger this winter. The country now has the highest number of people facing emergency levels of food insecurity in the world. This is the number of people who are just one step away from famine – and it includes 5.2 million children.

Our mobile health teams are working across Afghanistan to treat malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. We’re also working with partners to give cash grants to families, so they can buy food, medicine and other essentials.

Democratic Republic of Congo is facing conflict, economic challenges, and extreme weather events. 27 million people can‘t get enough food. 

When Coronavirus hit, we supported local health facilities to treat malnourished children and improve nutrition in the face of the pandemic. We’re working across the country to improve child protection, hygiene, healthcare, and nutrition.  

Countries across East Africa are facing droughts, flooding, desert locusts, political instability, conflict, and economic instability. 

Across East Africa, we’re: 

  • treating children with acute malnutrition, 
  • supporting families with cash transfers, 
  • promoting positive nutrition practices, and 
  • distributing emergency food assistance

North-East Nigeria’s three states have suffered ten years of violence and conflict. Alongside partners, we’re supporting livelihoods, treating malnourished children, and teaching parents how to spot malnutrition and help children get enough good food. 

Burkina FasoMali, and Niger. For decades, communities in the Sahel haven’t been able to get enough to eat. Climate change and COVID-19 have made the situation worse, and competition over land and resources has led to growing violence.

Alongside partners, we’re pushing governments to control the price of food and put in place social safety nets for the most vulnerable families. We’re also helping families access money and food, and teaching communities how to help children get a nutritious diet. 

Syria has suffered through ten years of war. And this war has caused inflation, job losses, and economic deterioration. More than half of the population can’t get enough food to eat. Almost a third of Syrian children are stunted. 

Together with our partners, we’re: 

  • providing counselling to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, 
  • teaching parents to spot malnutrition,
  • promoting positive eating habits, and
  • giving money and food essentials to families .

Venezuela’s economic crisis has been ongoing since 2015. Hyperinflation means most people can’t afford food and medicine, and millions have been forced to flee the country. And the impact of COVID-19 on jobs and support services means the situation is likely to get worse. 

We’re working with partners in Colombia and Peru to help children get good food and give families cash for essentials. And in Venezuela, we’re: 

  • supporting struggling children and families with food and nutrition supplements, 
  • teaching about good nutrition, 
  • helping schools and community kitchens provide healthy meals, and 
  • delivering cash grants 

Yemen is facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The ongoing war has brought the country to its knees, and 5 million people are a step away from famine.

  • We support over two hundred health facilities across Yemen to deliver life-saving nutrition services.
  • Our teams of health workers and community volunteers screen children under 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding women for malnutrition and refer them for treatment in our clinics.
  • And we're giving families food assistance, livelihoods support, and cash grants.

Help prevent more hunger

Millions of children are facing a hunger crisis brought on by conflict, climate change, and COVID-19.

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Page last updated May 2023

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