Last Saturday Jennifer James, Founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good and Global Team of 200, two communities I’m proud to be a part of, headed to Tanzania along with 10 other international new media journalists on an International Reporting Project fellowship.
The International Reporting Project (IRP) is a part of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University and provides opportunities for journalists to report on critical international issues that are often under-represented in the press.
The program was created in 1998, making it a pioneer in the “nonprofit journalism” movement that seeks to fill the gap left by much of the mainstream media’s reduction of international news. The IRP has provided opportunities to more than 400 journalists to report from more than 100 countries and produce award-winning stories.
This is Jennifer’s second trip with the IRP (her last was in Zambia) and I’ve truly enjoyed following her and the other fellows while they are on the ground in Tanzania learning about a very important topic: Poverty, hunger and food security. With World Food Day rapidly approaching on October 16th, the IRP trip to Tanzania will discuss some of the complex social, political and environmental issues faced by a developing country in the midst of a growing food shortage and its impact on the global food system.
As the world grows more and more populous and the impact of global climate change is real and dire, how on earth are we as a planet going to feed 7 billion people in the coming years?
Per a recent alarming UN report on global sustainability, the forecast is frightening:
“As the world’s population looks set to grow to nearly 9 billion by 2040 from 7 billion now, and the number of middle-class consumers increases by 3 billion over the next 20 years, the demand for resources will rise exponentially.
Even by 2030, the world will need at least 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water, according to U.N. estimates, at a time when a changing environment is creating new limits to supply. And if the world fails to tackle these problems, it risks condemning up to 3 billion people into poverty”.
Food Security has long been a critical topic of concern and debate but it is becoming even more important that we find innovative ways for food production, food transportation, technology and innovation in agriculture, and environmental sustainability. Countries such as Tanzania are already experiencing some of the negative effects of inadequate food supplies in terms of hunger, malnutrition and stunting of its children. The IRP fellows trip to Tanzania aims to examine these complex issues in detail and report to the world their findings.
Jennifer James’ main focus during her 11-day trip as a fellow with IRP will be the impact of food security on women and girls. Women and girls are often the ones who suffer most in poverty and hunger and it will be interesting to hear more about what Jennifer and the other fellows learn while visiting urban and rural areas within Tanzania.
The trip began on September 29th and runs through October 9th. To follow along on Twitter, follow hashtag #IRPTZ.
To learn more about the fellows and read some of their stories from Tanzania, click here.
All photos in this post used with permission from Jennifer James.