Fight child hunger and you fight unemployment

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A hungry nation cannot prosper economically, and with three million of
South
Africa?s children going hungry, we need to join together to make sure that
their tummies are filled.


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With unemployment now at over 37%, over seven million South Africans may
not be able to provide their families with the nutrition needed to survive.
Children, from newborns to eight-year-olds, are not just hungry for nourishment
to grow physically but they also crave critical nutrients needed to develop
intellectually.
Without these, we face a severe lack of next generation nurses, pilots,
teachers and engineers, to name a few.
The unemployment rate, which is directly linked to a lack of skills in the
South African context, can also partially be linked to hunger and malnutrition.
Speaking at the launch of this year?s KFC Add Hope campaign on 25th
September, Co-founder of JAM International and JAM SA Ann Pretorius said, "A
hungry child can?t learn or play effectively and can?t concentrate.'
She noted that recent statistics in South Africa reflect that 19% of children
don't get breakfast at home and 51% don't take lunch to school. "The statistics
go on and on and on, and what we see in children externally is miniscule
compared to what is happening on the inside - to what is happening to the
retardation of their brain development.'

Country Director of HOPE Worldwide Marc Aguirre added, "Too many children
are going to bed and school with hungry tummies. Too many children have this
unwelcome companion called hunger. Whether or not we feed children has a
profound impact on their development and their ability to think analytically.
Developmental phases are progressive. You can?t turn back and trying to fix it
later on in life is very difficult.'

JAM SA and HOPE Worldwide are but two of 90 Add Hope beneficiaries that
include childhood development organisations, children?s homes and school
feeding programmes. JAM SA feeds over 20,000 children through the KFC CSI
initiative?s ongoing contribution. According to Pretorius, the humanitarian
organisation is on its way to feeding 40 000 South African children thanks to Add
Hope. In addition, HOPE Worldwide feeds 5,500 children on a monthly basis
through the initiative.
Backing up the link between employment vulnerability and childhood hunger
highlighted by Pretorius and Aguirre, a decade-long study performed by NGO
"Save the Children? shows that malnutrition severely hampers learning ability in
children. With three million hungry children, this means that hunger is a
contributing factor to South Africa?s skills deficit, which continues to keep the
unemployment rate up.
This study tracked 12,000 children across four developing countries, namely
India, Vietnam, Peru and Ethiopia. Its conclusion was that children suffering from
chronic malnutrition are 19% more likely to find it difficult to read simple
sentences like "I like dogs? or "The sun is hot?. It also found that these children
are more likely to find it harder to solve even the simplest maths problems like
five minus two.

Lauren Turnbull, Sponsorship and CSI Brand Manager at KFC South Africa
reflects on what she has seen working with Add Hope beneficiaries to feed
children from newborns up to eight year olds. "I have seen first-hand the impact
a nutritious meal has on children and how it improves their ability to concentrate
and function once they have a full tummy,' she said.
"Early childhood development is an important place to start preparing our
future generation to make their contribution to a country in which we learn,
grow and thrive. By focusing on feeding young children today, we can put
ourselves in a position to help alleviate unemployment,' concluded Turnbull.

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