Combating Malnutrition: The Importance of a Reliable Food Source in Ramadan

Food security is an issue year-round, with one of today’s most-affected areas being the Horn of Africa. But with the start of Ramadan, it is especially the Muslim world’s responsibility to keep the hungry fed each night.

Fasting can be challenging enough when there is food on the table to resist. Now imagine that there is no food, and those fasting may not be able to break their fast when they’re supposed to at sundown because they cannot afford to eat a meal each day. As many Muslims fast willingly, others are forced to fast, often indefinitely, because of their socioeconomic situations.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization identified Yemen and Iraq as the most undernourished countries in Western Asia from 2014-2016. The FAO defines undernourishment as being unable to acquire enough food to meet the daily minimum dietary energy requirements over the period of one year. At least 35 percent of people in Yemen and between 25 and 34.9 percent of people in Iraq faced undernourishment in that time period.

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) reported that under nutrition contributes to nearly half of all deaths in children less than 5 years old, amounting to about 3 million young lives each year. Under nutrition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections and leads to delayed recovery. Poor nutrition in a child’s first three years can lead to stunted growth, which is irreversible and associated with impaired cognitive ability, according to the report.

Last year, Zakat Foundation of America distributed nearly 8 million meals during Ramadan through a combination of food packages and single-meal iftar dinners. One food package feeds a family of five for an entire month, and the food items may vary by country and region.
Help Zakat Foundation of America feed even more people this Ramadan by donating to this year’s Ramadan campaign.