Hunger and famine - Women's Agenda


We’ve launched this Girls & COVID-19 hub in partnership with Plan International Australia to highlight the plight of girls internationally, who stand to lose so much from the COVID-19 Pandemic. In times of crisis, it is often girls who face the greatest violation of their rights. They face a greater risk of gender-based violence, of having their education permanently stopped, of being married off early, and of being fed least and last. Research has shown that when girls are isolated at home rates of sexual violence, teenage pregnancy, trafficking and child labour increase dramatically. By standing with girls and empowering them to know their rights and lead, we can work towards a better, more equal world for all. Because a better now for her means a better future for everyone.

Girls & COVID

Hunger and famine

The World Food Program has warned the virus could push the world into a “hunger pandemic” that will lead to “multiple famines of biblical proportions” within months if action is not taken now. Analysis shows that if food relief is not provided, 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period.

Recent data from West African countries that Plan International work in show they are facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity due to severe drought and flash floods caused by climate change. An estimated 19 million people will face food shortages from June to August 2020 (a 77% increase from 2019) – and that’s even without considering the impact of COVID-19.

When there are worsening food shortages, girls and women are often fed the least and last – and this can have a detrimental impact on their health.

Deterioration of quality and diversity of food consumed at home, reduction in quality of children’s care and increase of child morbidity weaken the nutritional status for both young children and mothers. With an expected caseload of more than four million children affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition (as estimated before COVID-19), the risk of an unprecedented child mortality rate in the West and Central Africa region during the seasonal peak of acute malnutrition (July – October) is very high.

We’ve partnered with Plan International Australia to publish these explainers on the impact of COVID-19 on girls internationally, for the Girls & COVID hub. You can make a donation to Plan International Australia today to help support girls and young women around the world.