I was reading an article about the food emergency crisis in Africa, and specifically Mali, and got to thinking about food insecurity and unequal access in the United States. Two-thirds of the people in Mali are considered to be living in poverty, and if the situation worsens, it will be irreparable within a few months. The usual time frame when food stocks run “low before being replenished in a new harvest came particularly early this year (same article)”, and the value of livestock, particularly cattle and goats, has declined dramatically. This is a major socioeconomic problem that has trickled down to al facets of Malian society. While the situation often goes unnoticed in developed nations, statistics show that even in America, one-fifth of the U.S. populations children do not know where their next meal will come from. Good nutrition is important for “maintaining physical and mental health.1″ Unfortunately, “food insecurity is an obstacle that threatens our society’s critical foundation.2” When people are suffering because of poverty, their access to health, food, and shelter are limited because of their social status. The issue of food security is tied into the larger realm of structural violence. Instead of simply debating culturally relativist approaches, the overall degree social inequalities should be reduced. The precautions should focus on reducing global poverty, “by so we can break the link between social violence and its acceptance of poverty.3” Societies with larger economic gaps tend to perpetuate unequal access to food and other basic needs such as healthcare. The World Health Organization (WHO) discusses the three pillars of food security: “availability, access, and allocation.” There not only needs to be enough food and funding, but it also must be appropriately used based on knowledge of basic nutrition and care. Both of these in conjunction with sanitation are important to curbing the global prevalence of food insecurity as it relates to structural violence. Changes must come from both local and governmental levels in order to make an impact.
1. World health Organization
2. Feeding America