One in ten children in Haiti is acutely malnourished and one in five is underweight. One in five is stunted. One in 14 will die before reaching the age of five.
Malnutrition in Haiti is the result of many factors, including endemic poverty brought on by the nearly 80% unemployment rate and primitive agricultural practices that prevent farmers from growing enough nutritious food to feed their families. Haiti has endured centuries of political unrest, foreign occupations, corruption, and natural disasters, leaving the country weakened and families vulnerable.
Haiti’s most rural regions continue to see a rise in severe and chronic malnutrition. A recent article published by National Geographic listed Haiti as the hungriest nation in the world, with 52% of the population cited as being undernourished. The lack of nutritious food available in the markets and the inability to access food are all contributing to Haiti’s inability to provide a diverse diet that will meet the needs of its people.
The Situation in Haiti
After winning its independence from France in 1804, Haiti has struggled to survive, and now finds itself with a broken-down infrastructure, no jobs and few opportunities for its people to improve their standard of living. More than nine million people live in Haiti; over one third of them are under age 14.
Now the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti’s literacy rate is only 50%. The World Bank estimates that 86% of educated Haitians have left the country, looking for a better life and taking with them the knowledge their country needs to face its many challenges and prosper.
With an average household income of approximately $1,700 a year, families in Haiti struggle to survive daily, leaving children vulnerable. In Haiti more than one in 10 children is acutely malnourished and one in five is underweight. One in five is stunted. One in 14 will die before the age of five. Those that survive malnutrition will never be as strong, smart, or healthy as they could have been. Malnourished children will live with lasting physical and cognitive deficiencies, as their brains cannot develop as they should. These children, Haiti’s children, must have the ability to learn, work and lead Haiti to a brighter future.