I’ve always wanted to produce a show that explores the key aspects of extreme poverty — ever since I first visited Central America and got a perspective-shattering peek into the daily lives of the more than 700 million people on our planet who live on less than $2 a day. For the past few years, my crew and I have been hard at work to capture on camera the inspiring people and committed organizations dealing with this reality, so different from most Americans’ own privileged existence. And now, our TV special is ready for prime time: “Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Ethiopia and Guatemala” will be available for streaming on our website Wednesday, February 5. In the coming weeks, it’ll air on public television stations across the country (check your local listings).
My goal was to distill into one hour the most important lessons in the fight against hunger: What does extreme poverty look like, what’s causing it, and what are the most effective ways to overcome it? I wanted to take a deep dive into innovative solutions, like improving access to clean water, ensuring proper nutrition during a child’s critical first thousand days, providing a good education, and empowering women to be leaders in their communities.
I also wanted to show why smart development aid is a good and practical investment. In Guatemala, one example was Pedro’s snow peas. Pedro used to toil as a low-paid worker on a coffee plantation. With help from an NGO, Pedro gained firm title to his land, where he now grows his lucrative crop. (People in Guatemala don’t eat snow peas, but Pedro knows that they’ll fly off the shelves in England). And in Ethiopia, Abadi has been able to turn his farm animals’ droppings into fuel for cooking (which means he no longer needs to burn wood for fuel) and fertilizer (which means his family will be fed and he’ll have extra harvest to sell at the market) — all thanks to smart development.
Ending hunger is possible. We can do it because we care, or we can do it because it’ll make our world more stable. Or we can do it for both reasons. With “Hunger and Hope: Lessons from Ethiopia and Guatemala,” I hope that you’ll learn as much from these inspiring stories as I have.
Enjoy my preview and check your local listing for air dates in your city.