Global Food Inequality

Goal 1: No Poverty


This activity is a simulation game that aims to make students/young people reflect on poverty and raise awareness upon unequal distribution of food around the world.

unknown-topicArt and Design


stopwatchOne 45 minute lesson

circular-line-with-word-age-in-the-center13 – 21 years old

group-of-three-men-standing-side-by-side-hugging-each-otherGroups of up to 25


Behavioural competences

  • To use available resources responsibly;
  • To place value own resources and the value of sharing;
  • To recognise real needs in combatting poverty;
  • To engage in actions to combat poverty.


  • To reflect upon the concept of poverty and consequences of poverty globally;
  • To recognise the mutual benefits of sharing and the value of own resources;
  • To reflect upon the difference between charity and capacity building.

Lifelong learning key competences

  • Social and civic competencies
  • Entrepreneurial competences


  • Corn chips
  • Lollies e.g.: jelly beans
  • Fruit
  • Bowls
  • Bottles/jugs of clean and dirty water
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Paper
  • Marker pens


Set up the room with four areas:

  • First station has a bowl with only a few corn chips and a bottle of dirty water
  • The second station has chairs, a bowl with several corn chips and a bottle of clean water
  • The third station has chairs, a table, a bowl with a lot of corn chips and several bottles of clean water
  • The fourth station has chairs, a table, bowls with lots of corn chips, fruit and lollies, and several bottles of clean water

These instructions are for a group of 25 students/young people. If the number of students/young people in your class is higher or lower than 25, please check this table to see how to divide your class.


  1. Ask the 25 students to stand and form a circle representing the total world population of over 7 billion people. Explain that each person represents about 4% of the world’s population or approximately 286 million people.
  1. Ask 3 of the circle to sit on the floor around a bowl with 1 x corn chip each and a small bottle of dirty water. Say: “You represent the approximately 1 billion people of the world who live on less than €25 per day and who do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. You are undernourished and often sick. Many of your children will die before their fifth birthday. Many of your children will either never attend school or only a few years of primary school. You and your children may be forced to work in dangerous conditions. Some of you will die of hunger this year.”
  1. Ask 8 of the circle to sit on a chair. Provide 2 x corn chips each. Say: “You represent the approximately 2.2 billion people of the world who live on about €2 per day. Many of you are frequently hungry. You spend long hours working to produce or purchase what food you do have. Your children may go to primary school for a few years but only some will finish or go on to secondary school. You and your family are vulnerable to illness. You could easily loose what little you do have.”
  1. Ask 10 of the circle to sit at the table with a bowl of corn chips. Say: “You represent the people of the world who are not extremely poor but who also don’t live in a country with a very high level of development. You earn enough to provide for your family. Your children go to school. You are generally healthy. But you are vulnerable. For many of you, losing crops to natural disasters, or a serious illness, or rapid increases in the price of food could throw you into poverty. You may not have savings or government support systems like welfare benefits to protect you.”

Ask 4 of the students to go and sit at the table with the bowls of lollies, fruit, and lots of corn chips. Say: “You represent the approximately 1.2 billion people of the world who live in countries with a very high level of development. You are able to afford a nutritious daily diet. The majority of you have money to spare and it’s easy to access a wide variety of food. As a group, you consume the majority of the world’s food. Since many of you eat more than your daily requirement of calories, you face health problems such as heart disease and diabetes however your average life expectancy is still 77-83 years which is above the global average of 68-73 years.”


Provide a sheet of paper and a marker pen for each group to write down how they feel about this global distribution of food and the group they were in. After the small group have shared thoughts and feelings together, lead a whole group discussion using the following questions:

  • How do people in the different groups feel?
  • What questions does this cause you to ask?
  • How do you feel about the way this food is shared? Does everyone receive a fair share?
  • Why might that be the case?
  • What could be done to make it fairer?
  • Where do most people in your country fit in this share? Note: recognise that not all in a More Economically Developed Country are equally wealthy and not all in a Less Economically Developed Country are equally poor. Nations have people in each of these groups.
  • How are wealthy and poor countries connected to each other?
  • Discuss global responsibility – the role of aid, fair trade, and individuals in reducing food inequality.

Explain that our world produces enough food for everyone; but that it is not spread out evenly, so some people have more than they need while others struggle to survive. Discuss possible actions to allow students to respond to this experience. Ask students to consider the difference between capacity building and charity actions.

Follow up suggestions

Homework assignment:

“Freedom from poverty is much more than access to wealth” (Council of Europe)

What is meant with this statement? How can poverty be measured? Is it important to include variables such as life expectancy, education and standard of living? Why is that? Who has the responsibility to ensure freedom from poverty?

Ideas for actions

  • Make a campaign to raise awareness upon the issue of global food inequality. Ask the students to set the framework for the campaign and encourage them to invite the local community and relevant local decision makers. Inspiration for topics should come from the debriefing discussion on class.
  • Participation in the 40 Hour Famine to raise funds for food and agriculture projects in developing countries;
  • Purchase Fair Trade goods (when available).

Further information

This method is based upon the method of the same name made by World Vision Australia. World Vision Australia, “Global Food Inequality – Simulation Game,” 2015,—simulation-game-instructions.pdf?sfvrsn=0