Can suffering improve people

What can the individual do?

Where does our food come from?

There is no simple answer to this question. "If I forego my second bread roll for breakfast, a starving person in Africa will not benefit either," says Simone Pott, spokeswoman for Welthungerhilfe.

But that doesn't give us the right not to do anything. Instead, we need to become aware that we live in a complex world that we have helped to shape through our consumption and our eating habits.

"If you want to do something against hunger in the world, you have to deal primarily with where your own food comes from," says Simone Pott. Only in this way can a start be made to combat structures that produce exploitation, poverty and hunger.

Only buy what you eat

Depending on which statistics are used, between six and 20 million tons of food end up in the garbage in Germany every year.

This leads to the conclusion that most of us are wasteful with goods that are scarce elsewhere in the world. In order to produce them, workers stood in the field, drove ships across the sea and animals from factory farming died.

But it is avoidable that we throw away food. For example, by making a shopping list before every purchase and asking ourselves: What will we eat in the next few days? And how much of it?

We should also think about the shelf life of food. Because there's no point if we buy great organic vegetables that we then don't eat.

Eat less meat

Anyone who wants to do something against hunger in the world should severely limit their meat consumption. Experts advise eating meat no more than three times a week.

The reason for this is very simple: In order to feed an animal, large amounts of feed such as grain or soy have to be planted and harvested. If people could eat these plants directly, they would be much more full of them.

A quarter of the world's grain harvest is now fed to animals. In 2013, American scientists calculated that four billion more people could be satisfied if the grain were processed directly into food.

If you believe this study, the world's hunger problem would be solved if no one would eat meat anymore.

Look closely at fish

In the case of fish, too, you should find out where the goods come from. 75 percent of the commercially used fish stocks worldwide are used to their limits or overfished. In some marine areas we actually catch the fish away from people who are subsequently starving.

This is the case, for example, when huge fishing trawlers fish empty off the African coast. People from Senegal, Mauritania or Guinea are thus deprived of their livelihood. For some of the African fishermen the existential need is so great that they dare to flee to Europe. Quite a few find their deaths in the process.

But anyone who buys fish fingers in the supermarket is not informed about such relationships. And the seals (e.g. Marine Stewardship Council, Naturland, Bioland) that are sometimes on the packaging refer primarily to ecological criteria.

But at least they are a rough guide for all those who care about the food that ends up on their plate.

Buy fair trade and regional products

Buying fair trade products can also be a way of helping people in poorer regions of the world. "Transfair" is a seal that can now be found almost everywhere.

Today you can buy fair trade coffee in the supermarket, as well as fair chocolate, bananas, wine or orange juice. These Transfair goods mean that small farmers in developing countries get fair prices for their products and thus really benefit from their harvest.

If it is not about tropical fruits or coffee, one should prefer to buy organic products from the region. If you drive across the fields in the course of a year, you get an impression of which plants are growing in front of your own front door and at what time of year.

If you adjust your menu accordingly, you support local farmers - and make Germany more independent of global trade.

Direct help through donations

Exploitative structures do not change overnight - millions of people around the world suffer from hunger every day. If you want to help them quickly, you can donate.

The large non-governmental organizations and action groups usually receive public funding for their commitment to fighting hunger. But in order for them to be able to work flexibly and independently, they are also dependent on private donations.

If you are unsure about which aid organization to choose, you can look out for the donation seal of the German Institute for Social Issues (DZI). The seal is only valid for one year and guarantees that the donations also reach those affected.