The reality of human nutrition today is a picture of stark contrast. On the one hand is food waste with food insecurity on the other. These and the few in between exist in all countries only with different levels. The smouldering embers of conflict old and new has worsened this problem. Many farmers reside in the rural areas where land is often abundant but security is less sophisticated than in the urban centres. Generally, in the absence of peace, services break down and everyone flees to safety. Stores become depleted, farmlands are ransacked, livestock are abandoned or killed and the once bountiful acres turn to a desolate landscape. This is played out numerous times as evident by the current refugee crisis described as the worst since World War II.
Goal #2 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is Zero Hunger. Of course this can only be achieved in sync with the other sixteen goals. It is hoped that by 2030, we would all achieve our aim of making this planet a better place. If you want to make a difference in this regard, join me at @mystreetkitchen (Siddiqah NGO) and @thenigerianchildinitiative (TNCI) two of several Nigerian NGOs doing great work in this area.
I do appreciate every other individual and organization working tirelessly to make sure people do not hungry in a world that wastes so much of the food it produces.The following steps are a good places to start.
Eschewing violence,push for peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Eating whole and natural foods will boost physical and mental health. Malnutrition has greatly stunted the growth and development of millions of children. This predisposes them to preventable diseases thus increasing under -five mortality.
Sharing extra food with people around us instead of throwing it in the bin. Wasting good food is absurd but most of us are guilty of it in one way or the other.
Encouraging agriculture via investment, provision of infrastructure,growing our own food and supporting farmers. There is so much benefit and potential in it. Beyond providing our food, it can be a huge source of sustainable revenue that will ensure wider societal development.
There is an elephant in the room we need to talk about. Our treatment of women. Yes,our.
We all have something to do in improving the lives of women. Men get called out for ill treatment (not nearly as frequently as they should) but we often ignore the roles some women play in entrenching this scourge.
Since this is a big issue that is ongoing, let’s restrict this post to particular problems associated with Ramadhan.
When you single out daughters and sisters for all the housework and forget that they are fasting too, you are not being a good Muslim. Especially for some households where women must work so the family can survive. The Prophet(peace be upon him) enjoined us to make life easy for others and not difficult. Many female relatives already take it as their roles without question to serve their family and generally manage the home. Most times, this is a thankless task. More acutely felt when these same chores are well paid for and much more appreciated when they are sourced commercially or come from others outside the home. Please don’t treat your wives and other women in your family like slaves. Infact, in the 7th century when slavery was widespread in almost every land on earth,our Prophet (peace be upon him) led by example and treated them with kindness and fairness and made manumission(setting free) an act of Ibaadah. Many former slaves went on to take on great roles in Islamic history. A notable one we are familiar with is the first muadhin- Abyssinian companion Bilal (may Allah be pleased with him). “Even if you dislike her, be good to her”
Imagine how some men treat their womenfolk. You shout at them because Iftar is not ready, you pressure them to make feasts and do not care to get them help. Say dhikr with her. Recall the hadithwhere the Prophet taught his daughter words of temembrance ehrn she came To ask him for a servant to ease her strain. Tell her nice words of encouragement and appreciation and please do not complain when she has gone to great lengths to get things done. Give her excuses e.g she couldn’t taste it as she is fasting too. Let us stop demanding for perfection from only one half of our society. Boys and girls should be taught to be so good at their different but equally important roles so they grow up to become men and women that complement each other. Don’t you think she would like to break her fast on time too? Some husbands would not release housekeeping funds on time or plan ahead with whatever income they have. Why not make things easier? Plan together. Allah has made you a leader not a tyrant. Be just and you would get that respect,love and appreciation easily. Communicate with them. Discuss ways to improve on the faults you may have noticed without being vindictive. Don’t allow them miss Salah because they are serving you. Even in heated situations try and be the mature one. When it’s all settled, this is the person that shines. The Prophet used to wake his family for Tahajjud. Nowadays we wake our family to cook elaborate Sahurs and have them jostle to get a bite and meet Fajr by the hairs. Make it easier for them to partake in Tarawih, Quran recitation etc. Ramadhan is already a very difficult time for many women. Don’t be a burden. To my sisters in Iman, keep going strong. Don’t stop learning new and effective ways to conserve time, energy and other resources. As you juggle Ibaadah, work, school, illness, travel,childbirth, periods, caring for the children, sick relatives, old parents, neighbours, etc this special month, may Allah ease your affairs. Let’s help each other achieve goodness in this world and be partners in Jannah.