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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put the term “food security” into the minds of millions of people around the world.

Broken global supply chains and rising unemployment have forced millions of people around the world into a struggle to put food on the table.

Even before the pandemic, food security was one of the biggest and most complex problems in the world. So, what does it mean?

Essentially, food security is the idea that everyone has easy access to the food they need to survive and thrive.

That idea may seem straightforward, but the definition has evolved since it was first introduced at the World Food Conference in 1974.

At that time, the focus was on the availability of food. Over time we have learned that availability is not the only factor to consider. Famines can occur even when food is widely available.

The United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security (CFS) now defines food security as existing “when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

What determines food security?

Sometimes the reasons for food insecurity are fairly straightforward. Long-running droughts that affect food production can lead to a scarcity of food, affecting anybody relying on that source of nutrition.

In other cases, like the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more complex. Even though the plants and animals people consume are not directly affected by the virus, job losses, travel restrictions and lockdowns have made it much harder for people to get the food they need.

In 2020, the CFS identified six key factors that determine food security:

Availability

There needs to be enough food available so as people can satisfy their dietary needs. For food security to exist this food must not be contaminated and it has to be something the people in that culture are willing to eat.

Access

Even when food is available, it is not always accessible to all people. Some people may not be able to afford food without compromising other basic needs. This makes them food insecure. They must also be able to access the food without putting themselves in harm’s way.

Social status can also play a role in food security.

Given some people’s status within society their access to culturally appropriate, nutritious food is far less than others.

Utilisation

Sometimes people cannot access the nutritional benefits from food because they do not have access to clean water, sanitation, healthcare preventing them from making the most of the nutrients they consume. For example, having access to clean water sources enables people to prepare and cook food safely.

Stability

Sudden shocks in the form of natural disasters, conflict, political instability, unemployment, and rising food prices can affect food security. In the context of these shocks, even if people have enough food today, they may be food insecure tomorrow given the dramatic changes that these shocks can entail, particularly for those who are considered most vulnerable.

Agency

People need to have a say in how their food is harvested, processed and distributed, as well as a choice in what they eat and produce. People who are historically and currently disadvantaged are more likely to be food insecure.

Why is food security such a big issue

Food security has been a global issue for decades, and it will be a priority for decades to come.

A growing population, higher levels of meat consumption, climate change, water shortages and rising food prices are just some of the pressures facing food security worldwide.

With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion in 2050 and a changing climate putting even more pressure on vulnerable families, food security is an issue that is here to stay.

How you can help

ChildFund’s programs in more than 60 countries address food security head on by partnering with communities to develop sustainable solutions.

Donate to ChildFund today to help create a secure future for children.

The Include a Charity campaign, which is supported by dozens of not-for-profit organisations, aims to encourage more people to leave a charitable gift in their Will, and increase the positive impact we can make as individuals on society.

Research conducted by the Fundraising Institute of Australia shows that the number of Australians leaving gifts in their Wills increased from 7.9 per cent in 2016 to 11 per cent in 2019. To build on this progress, every year the campaign provides important information and guidance on how to leave a lasting legacy during Include a Charity Week (7 – 13 September). 

Read on to learn why gifts in Wills matter for charitable organisations, and the positive impact you can make for future generations.

What is Include a Charity Week?

Include a Charity Week is an annual social change campaign, initiated by the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA). The aim of the annual observance is to encourage more Australians to leave a gift in their Will to a charity of their choice, increasing the funds invested in Australia’s non-profit sector, and the impact member organisations can make. 

The campaign relies entirely on the involvement of its charity members, which run their own awareness activities leading up to and during Include a Charity Week. Together, Include a Charity members use this opportunity to raise public awareness of gifts in Wills, and the important difference a legacy can make.

What is a charitable gift left in your Will?

A gift left to a charity in your will is simply that, a gift to your chosen charitable organisation. It is a dollar amount of your choice, bequeathed to a charity whose work you admire. 

You don’t need to be wealthy to leave a gift in your Will. A donation of any amount supports the work of the beneficiary organisation into the future.

What does it mean to leave a donation to charity as a gift in your Will?

It’s time to change the way we think about Will-making. Your Will is your legacy. Of course, every Australian wants to ensure that their loved ones are taken care of, but after you’ve provided for your family and friends you have the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the world

Think about the world you’ve lived in, and how you’d like the world to be in the future. A gift to a charity in your Will is an opportunity to express your wishes for that future, and to support organisations who are working towards realising that dream. 

Did you know that much of charities’ vital income comes from those who leave a charitable gift in their Will? Your legacy contributes towards a reliable and sustainable source of income, which enables organisations like ChildFund Australia to continue its vital work.

How can you support a cause or charity you care about during Include a Charity Week?

We are asking all Australians to take the time to consider leaving a gift in their Will, of any size, to a charity that supports a cause they care about. 

This week is a timely opportunity to start the conversation, do some research, and carefully consider the legacy you’d like to leave for future generations. 

For valuable guidance on including a charitable gift in your Will, visit www.includeacharity.com.au. And if you are considering leaving a gift to ChildFund Australia, learn more about naming us as a beneficiary and get in touch with our staff if you have further questions.