By Brogan Murphy, CEI Intern
When you hear the terms ‘˜security’ and ‘˜safety,’ what comes to mind? Probably a variety of things, from protecting your home or business from intruders, to keeping your personal information away from prying eyes. But true ‘˜security’ is about more than just keeping things away ‘“ it’s about ensuring that the things we need to survive will always be there.
Access to Clean Water. When you thought of safety and security, water safety, the consistent and reliable access to clean water, is probably not one of the main things that came to mind. However, the lack of access to healthy, clean water has been determined to be the #1 global risk based on impact to society. Worldwide, about 1 in every 10 people lack access to safe water, and 1 in 3 lack access to a toilet. The latter statistic is particularly alarming. While it’s certainly shocking enough to wrap one’s head around the fact that more people in the world have mobile phones than toilets, the lack of a proper sewage system actually affects drinking water as well, because open defecation raises the likelihood of drinking water contamination within a community.
Hunger and Food Security. Food security is another important thing that many people might take for granted, especially in more developed countries. Every year, hunger kills more people around the world than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. While the vast majority of hungry people live in developing countries, it’s by no means exclusive to them. In 2015, 42.2 million Americans were living in food insecure households, and over 13 million of those were children.
The lack of access to safe food and water is a complex problem, because the distribution of both involves multiple parities and resources at every step. CEI in our commitment to 21st Century learning and compassion, is now involved directly in trying to help educate youth about hunger, food security, and water quality and safety. Working with Learning to Give and the National Turkey Federation, we have developed a curriculum that encourages students in grades 6-8 to research and explore these many factors, including factors such as where the food is grown, where it is needed, and how it is distributed as it travels from farm to table. The impact of water safety is also taken into consideration, as the two issues often go hand in hand.
With the Food Insecurity Curriculum, after students have obtained a solid understanding of these issues, they will learn about some of the many organizations dedicated to combating this problem, from national ones such as Hunger Now and UNICEF, to more local ones such as food pantries within their communities. They will also address a challenge to develop alternative solutions to tackle these problems. By teaching students to design and evaluate such programs, the Curriculum helps give middle school students the solid foundation they need to be informed consumers of information on this ubiquitous topic, and possibly even join the cause in the future.
This hands-on Curriculum helps students connect with real world issues both worldwide and within their own communities. CEI is looking for teachers to implement this Curriculum and offering stipends of $500 to teachers for their involvement. Applications will be open until October 31st. Visit our site to learn more, see the guidelines, download the curriculum and handouts, and apply.