October 16th, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, an event that is commemorated annually through the celebration of World Food Day. Since 1945, organizations, clubs, and individuals from around the globe have rallied under this banner in an attempt to stamp out global hunger.
Today the issue stands unfortunately undefeated; although significant progress has been made, over 800 million people on earth still suffer from chronic hunger.
The world’s poorest populations continue to endure the daily burden of hunger, which persistently impacts their families, personal lives, and ability to thrive.
Volunteering abroad in nutrition is one way that you can have a hands-on impact on ending world hunger. While it may be impossible for one person to turn the fate of 800 million, nutrition volunteers can play a vital role in supporting entire communities through both nutrition education and food distribution. Nutrition volunteering abroad is a perfect way to devote your time to helping those less fortunate while undergoing an incredibly rewarding and educational experience yourself.
In honor of World Food Day, we have compiled a list of six diverse programs which offer some of the best ways to volunteer abroad in nutrition. With thousands of people struggling with hunger around the world daily, this is your opportunity to step up and make a real difference in the fight to eradicate hunger abroad.
International Volunteer HQ helps facilitate a feeding project for homeless people in Vietnam that provides steady meals for up to 300 people a day in Ho Chi Minh City. Volunteers will work at a soup kitchen which provides sustenance for Vietnamese citizens of all different backgrounds, including children, disabled, and elderly. Everyday volunteer tasks may include preparing food, cooking, serving, and cleaning, all while interacting and building relationships with locals. Individuals can volunteer in Vietnam with IVHQ and receive on-the-ground support for as little as one week or as long as six months.
Projects Abroad spearheads a successful nutrition program in Peru that is targeted at lowering malnutrition rates among rural communities. Students and recent graduates can enroll in an internship that combines elements of healthcare and education to equip local communities with the right tools to battle hunger. Interns will make door-to-door visits and also lead educational workshops for the community at large in order to reach the largest demographic possible. This program is a great opportunity for Spanish learners to take their fluency to the next level, as volunteer will be interacting with locals that only speak Spanish everyday!
GoEco offers a unique opportunity for volunteers to help bring relief to hungry populations in Tel-Aviv, Israel’s largest city. Volunteers will work at a food distribution center, which was established over 25 years ago and has been a continual support to the metropolitan community, to help provide regular meals for hundreds of hungry families and over a thousand school children. Volunteers will work from Sunday through Thursday, but will be able to use their free time to explore all that Tel-Aviv has to offer. From the pristine Mediterranean beaches to the impressive architecture and bustling marketplaces, Tel Aviv is truly a thriving urban environment for volunteer work abroad.
ELI gives volunteers the opportunity to explore the beautiful and rugged Ecuadorian countryside while leading many different types of nutrition programs in the capital city of Quito as well as in rural areas. Participants will spend their time leading workshops on nutrition and proper eating habits in a variety of settings, ranging from schools to community centers to retirement homes. Volunteers will undergo total cultural immersion during their program, by speaking Spanish living with their local host family daily and regularly partaking in community events and celebrations. Individuals can volunteer in Ecuador with ELI for as short as one week or as long as a full year.
Child Family Health International has paired with KIHEFO, a local nonprofit organization based in Kabale, to bring volunteers an incredible opportunity to address malnutrition across the Ugandan countryside. Eighty percent of Uganda’s population are rural farmers, and volunteers can make a huge impact on small rural farming communities and future generations by educating farmers about productive agricultural techniques and nutritional habits. Volunteers will live in furnished apartments and attend information sessions with medical doctors weekly as part of their volunteer program. Volunteers will be able to engage in a variety of outreach efforts, ranging from nutrition education and counseling to drama and theater presentations.
Maximo Nivel offers international volunteers the chance to make a positive impact on the lives of Guatemalan children in the mountain city of Antigua. Participants will live in a beautiful small town while working on various projects in orphanages, schools, and community centers to keep the local youth properly fed and educated. This volunteer program in Guatemala, which offers academic credit for participants who stay for at least four weeks, goes far beyond nutrition; it is the opportunity to be a mentor and guardian for the children of Guatemala. Volunteers will help children with their schoolwork, play games, lead arts and crafts, and teach them English, all as part of a comprehensive effort to improve the lives and futures of disadvantaged children.
Haven’t found the right nutrition program for you yet?
Check out our directory of nutrition volunteer abroad programs and you'll surely find your own way to fight hunger!
Doing something else to help #EndHunger for World Food Day? Tell us about it in the comments.