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Hacking Hunger

Hidden, human stories about food on the front lines of hunger.
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Hacking Hunger
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Oct 8, 2019

The tale of the Dry Corridor is one that’s becoming all too familiar. It’s one of extreme weather and desperation, hunger, drought and rain.

The Dry Corridor is the nickname given to a region in Central America that’s been suffering from erratic weather patterns fueled by climate change. For the past five years, it’s been devastating crops, and driving migration and hunger.

In this podcast, we spoke with Elio Rujano, a WFP communications officer based in Panama. He has witnessed firsthand the impact climate change is having on families in the Dry Corridor who are already struggling to survive.

Sep 3, 2019

For the fourth year in a row, hunger is on the rise globally. And one of the main reasons is climate change. The number of extreme climate-related disasters has doubled since the early 1990s, with an average of 213 of these events occurring every year.

One of the places where you can see the effects of climate change very clearly is Mongolia – a country new to WFP’s work. We sat down with Darko Petrovich and Amit Wadhwa, who are spearheading WFP's efforts in the country - one of the coldest and most polluted places in the world. 

Jun 19, 2019

On March 14, 2019, Cyclone Idai slammed into central Mozambique near the city of Beira. Its torrential winds and rains destroyed everything in its path, and left millions of people without the food, shelter and water they needed to survive. We spoke with one aid worker who was one of the first responders to this "apocalyptic" scene.

May 21, 2019

Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is home to the world’s largest refugee camp. One million refugees live there – 80 percent are women and children. The camp is plagued by poor water, unsanitary conditions, and limited access to health services and food. We spoke with Tracy Dube, a WFP nutritionist in the camp, about the challenges that pregnant mothers, new moms and young children face in this pop-up city.

Mar 20, 2019

Homegrown school feeding is not only transforming the lives of students, but entire communities. We sat down with Carmen Burbano de Lara, WFP director of school feeding, and Amy Blauman, who manages WFP’s homegrown school feeding program in Rwanda, to learn more. 

Jan 17, 2019

Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. WFP cameraman Marco Frattini recently traveled to the country to document the human impact of its four-year civil war. What he saw is something he’ll never forget. On our latest episode of Hacking Hunger, Marco shares his experience visiting the children and families who have become innocent victims of Yemen’s war.

Oct 18, 2018

Years of conflict have pushed Yemen to the edge of famine. There are 8 million people in the country suffering from severe hunger, and intensifying violence could bring this number to 12 million. WFP’s Yemen Country Director, Stephen Anderson, talks about his experience on the ground in Yemen. He shares the stories of Yemenis struggling to feed their families, and how WFP is doing whatever it takes to deliver food and nutrition to the people who need it the most.

Jun 25, 2018

In her final episode as host, M.J. Altman turns the mic over to three women in Guatemala, Chad and Jordan who share their own stories in their own languages as part of a unique project from the U.N. World Food Programme known as Storytellers.

May 31, 2018

The Sahel of Africa has always been an unforgiving landscape, but now families in the region are facing two growing threats at the same time: Climate change and conflict. Boko Haram’s campaign of terror has displaced thousands of people as farmers and pastoralists clash over access to shrinking land. M.J. takes you to Niger, a country in the Sahel where families are fighting for their lives—and a better future for their children.

Apr 30, 2018

Diko Amariah has been on both sides of humanitarian aid, first as a child refugee and now as an aid worker in South Sudan, where five years of conflict have pushed millions of people—especially women and girls—to the brink of famine. M.J. talks to Diko about delivering emergency supplies in one of the world's most dangerous conflict zones and how she maintains faith in a brighter future for her country.

Mar 15, 2018

Escalating violence in Eastern Ghouta has dominated recent news coverage of the conflict in Syria as humanitarians struggle to reach families trapped without food. Jakob Kern has witnessed the turmoil firsthand as head of the U.N. World Food Programme’s operation in Damascus for the last two years. As the conflict enters its 8th year, hear what Jakob has seen—and what the headlines often miss.

Feb 14, 2018

When violence in Myanmar sparked a mass exodus last August, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled for the border. Today, the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh has become the world’s largest refugee camp, hosting more than 1 million people. M.J. talks to one aid worker who’s been on the ground since the beginning of the crisis—and hears about a new threat that now looms.

Dec 13, 2017

When a historic drought struck Mozambique last year, the nation’s farmers found themselves plunged into hunger. So how did the U.N. World Food Programme help pull the country back from the brink? On the last of a two-part series, M.J. shares five voices in Mozambique—a farmer, an aid worker, a teacher, a student and a father—who found themselves on the front lines of this slow-motion natural disaster and a massive and artfully timed humanitarian operation that saved millions of lives, including theirs.

Nov 14, 2017

A year ago, Mozambique was on the brink of disaster. Successive droughts meant the country’s farmers had almost nothing to harvest—or feed their families. In the first in a two-part series, M.J. takes you to the country’s urban streets and rural farms, introducing you to five Mozambicans who recount how their lives intertwined with a historic humanitarian crisis that left the U.N. World Food Programme with no choice but to sound the alarm.

Aug 4, 2017

Good nutrition helped Natalie Coughlin earn the most Olympic medals of any female swimmer in U.S. history. But a recent trip to Uganda with World Food Program USA — where she met farmers, elementary students and refugees from South Sudan — transformed her perspective on nutrition and food. M.J. talks to Natalie about her journey of discovery and how she intends to use her celebrity platform for good.

Aug 1, 2017

Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, but hunger has always been different. For decades, Congress and the White House have worked together to feed families around the world. M.J. talks to former Senator Tom Daschle about why this American legacy must endure — even as war, climate change and four looming famines threaten millions of families across the globe.

Jun 26, 2017

In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, farmers can expect to lose nearly half of their harvest before it even leaves the farm. M.J. talks to the World Food Programme’s Brett Rierson about why and how “tupperware for crops” could change the way the world’s small-scale farmers do business.

May 25, 2017

As conflict rages in neighboring South Sudan, Uganda’s leaders -- many of them former refugees themselves -- are welcoming thousands of people seeking refuge from the violence with food and opportunity. M.J. talks to WFP USA’s Erin Cochran about her recent trip to Uganda and how aid workers responded when an entire village in South Sudan fled for the border one night following a brutal attack by government forces.

Mar 11, 2017

Famine paints an unspeakable picture: Families desperate for food, children dying of hunger, an urgent need for life-saving aid. The recent declaration of famine in South Sudan reveals the tragic consequences of war—and how the gradual collapse of a country can drive people into starvation. M.J. talks to Rose Ogola, a World Vision staffer in South Sudan, and Challiss McDonough, a World Food Programme staffer, about the human toll of famine, what’s at stake for the world’s youngest nation and what you can do today to help save the lives of innocent children.

Feb 10, 2017

Lovebirds Poonam Kaushal and Nishkaam Mehta are getting hitched this Valentine’s Day. Instead of throwing a big wedding, they teamed up with friends, family and perfect strangers to create an unconventional wedding gift using the world’s first hunger-fighting smartphone app. As they prepare to tie the knot in four days, M.J. talks to Poonam and Nishkaam about their “Million Meals for Love” campaign and explains how you can be part of their big day by changing the life of a hungry child.

Jan 27, 2017

Season 1 of Hacking Hunger was an experiment that uncovered moments of joy, heartache and the unexpected. M.J. takes a look back at a few of her favorite interviews from Season 1 and shares what’s in store for Season 2 -- and what you can do to help her find hidden, human stories about food on the front lines of hunger.

Dec 16, 2016

The city of Mosul has become the latest frontline in the war against ISIS and hunger in Iraq. Tens of thousands of families have fled the violence, reuniting with food and loved ones after years of separation. M.J. talks to Alex Murdoch, a World Food Programme communications officer in Iraq, about documenting the human experience of this exodus -- from the heartbreak of continual displacement to the joys of unexpected reunion.

Nov 18, 2016

Journalist Dalia Mortada may have been born and raised in the U.S., but she grew up in a Syrian kitchen. As a child, she savored aromas and flavors like orange blossom, tamarind syrup and cardamom -- tastes that would define her childhood and seal her identity as a Syrian-American. M.J. talks to Dalia about the inspiration behind her new project, Savoring Syria, and how she’s using food to spark a deeper conversation about a country torn apart by conflict.

Nov 4, 2016

When Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti last month, the storm ravaged its southern coast and left hundreds of thousands of families without food, shelter and clean water. But its devastation only tells part of the story. M.J. hands over the mic to Laura Cantave, a World Food Program USA staffer born in Haiti, to share her reflections on the spirit of her homeland and to Alexis Masciarelli, a World Food Programme staffer, who has spent the past month on the ground talking with families who survived the hurricane’s wrath.

Sep 30, 2016

For Peter Mumo, escaping a childhood of hunger and poverty in Kenya began with an empty bowl, a nervous excitement, and the delivery of his very first school meal. These simple meals and the encouragement of his parents would change the trajectory of his life. M.J. talks to Peter about what it was like sharing a scarce amount of food with five brothers growing up, how he’s helping transform the way his homeland feeds its people and being selected for President Obama’s prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship.

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