Aquaponics: Hope for Hungry Children

World Food Day is held annually on 16th October. On this day people from around the world come together to declare their commitment to tackle global hunger.

Climate change realities threaten food security, reduce arable land and plunge millions of vulnerable individuals deeper into poverty around the world. However, one small NGO, INMED Partnerships for Children, is defying this trend.  They have made waves with an ancient farming technique used by the Aztecs, known as aquaponics.

They were recently selected as a finalist for the prestigious Zayed Sustainability Prize in the food category. INMED Partnerships for Children uses aquaponics to provide year-round access to fresh produce and fish. Additionally, they provide technical and business training, access to financing and links to markets for emerging agro-entrepreneurs.


For nearly a decade, the US-based humanitarian development organization has been scaling INMED Aquaponics on three continents. In brief, their aim is to help marginalized populations break complex cycles of poverty. This includes several disabled peoples’ and women’s cooperatives in South Africa. As well as indigenous primary schools and teachers-in-training in Peru, and unemployed farmers in Jamaica.

In July, INMED launched a new aquaponics initiative across an entire municipality in Brazil. They also recently announced an aquaponics education and training program for children and youth with specials needs in Northern Virginia, USA.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a combination of fish farming and hydroponics in a closed symbiotic system. This system produces crops and fish year-round at yields significantly higher than traditional farming. All of this with no chemicals or fertilizers, while dramatically conserving water, energy and land resources.

INMED is a pioneer in the field of aquaponics for development. They have a record of success in adapting the technology to diverse geographic areas and among varied partners and populations. There is growing interest in aquaponics worldwide. However, many systems are prohibitively expensive and complex. INMED has developed a simple, affordable aquaponics system for small-scale farmers, schools, government institutions, home producers and entrepreneurs. The system uses easily accessible local materials. Its modular design and limited mechanization make this system easy to operate, maintain and accommodate to any space constraints in urban and rural environments.


The impact of INMED Aquaponics is impressive. For example, the drought-ravaged region of Pella in Northern Cape, South Africa has a 82% unemployment rate. INMED Aquaponics helped one struggling all-female farming cooperate to increase its monthly income 60-fold within one year. The project has generated full-time and part-time jobs as well as food security for the community. This garnered the co-op regional and national awards. INMED has also implemented systems in a number of disadvantaged schools. INMED are well positioned to implement its holistic program on a national scale in South Africa. As a result, President Ramaphosa has called for the use of aquaponics as a driver for economic development and climate-smart growth.

“No child should ever have to be hungry,” says Dr. Linda Pfeiffer, founder and CEO of INMED Partnerships for Children. “We’ve proven through our partnerships that aquaponics can be a critical solution for climate justice for very little cost.”

About INMED Partnerships for Children

INMED Partnerships for Children is a nonprofit international development organization. They have worked in more than 100 countries to build pathways that enable vulnerable children, families and communities to achieve well-being and self-reliance. INMED works with multisector partnerships and in-country affiliates, who help INMED in building effective systems that deliver innovative and sustainable approaches to break complex cycles of poverty for current and future generations.

INMED’s programs have made a sustainable impact on the lives of millions of children and their families since 1986. These programs include climate-smart agriculture and aquaponics, maternal and child health and nutrition, and economic development. INMED currently has in-country affiliates in Latin America and the Caribbean and southern Africa. Its international headquarters and local programs are located in Sterling, Virginia in the U.S.A. For more information about INMED Partnerships for Children’s programs and partners, visit

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