TED@UPS: The Key to Solving Hunger

How can we get food to the 800 million hungry people in the world?

From the Editor: Today marks the beginning of a three-week TED@UPS marathon on Longitudes. During that time, we will post videotaped talks from 13 amazing individuals. Join us each day for something new.


From the air, Dadaab isn’t visible – and then it slowly comes into focus. The huge empty expanse of red dust looks like a terracotta platter dotted with pepper. But as you draw closer, the black specks grow and change color, and the bare platter fills.

As we begin our descent it becomes clear that this arid expanse of white, blue and brown is actually a vast expanse of tents. Row upon row.

An area designed for 90,000 is now home to nearly half a million people. Effectively, a city as large as Miami. But this is not a city in the conventional sense – this is Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world, a place where hunger is rampant.

Esther volunteering at Dadaab, the World’s Largest Refugee Camp in Kenya

Esther volunteering at Dadaab, the World’s Largest Refugee Camp in Kenya

But hunger isn’t exclusive to refugee camps; it is a global epidemic. There are nearly 800 million hungry people in the world, and more than 18 million of them live in places like North America, Europe and Australia.

But when many people think about hunger, we often think the problem is a lack of food. Ironically, that’s not the problem at all. There’s actually enough food available to feed all the people in the world.

The real problem is a lack of logistics. Watch my TED Talk to see how logistics can help solve this complex problem. goldbrown2

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Esther Ndichu is director of the UPS Humanitarian Supply Chain. She is based in Brussels.

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