World Food Day 2009
October 16 is World Food Day, a day to draw the world's attention to the stark reality that more than one billion women, men and children, one-sixth of our global population, are undernourished. According to FAO, 2009 has been particularly disastrous, pushing an estimated additional 105 million into hunger's stranglehold.
World Food Day also serves to shine a spotlight on the solutions to ending hunger, which can and should be scaled up. Hunger is not inevitable. People can and do end their own hunger, especially when their communities are mobilized, effective partnerships are forged with local governments and women are empowered.
The Hunger Project's (THP's) grassroots partners in Africa have proven that this is true. They have ensured their own food security, even though sub-Saharan Africa has been hard hit the past year by escalating food prices, overwhelming inflation and challenging climate issues.
For example, a community food bank in THP's Kachindamoto Epicenter in Malawi, which was just built in the past few months, is also already fully stocked with nearly 45,000 kilograms of maize (see photo with THP President and CEO Jill Lester congratulating our partners in Kachindamoto). In fact, as a result of cooperative community efforts, all seven of THP-Malawi's epicenter food banks are fully stocked, and three have exceeded capacity and are overflowing! This is in a country the World Food Programme calls "food-deficient."
In July, world leaders made an unparalleled financial commitment to end world hunger at the G8 summit. They agreed to provide $20 billion over three years for a Food Security Initiative that will support rural development in developing countries. On this World Food Day, THP commends this commitment and calls on all world leaders to support the world's small-scale farmers (the majority of whom are women) so that they have access to the skills, resources and inputs that allow them to produce enough nutritious food to feed their families and communities.
World leaders need to channel their financial resources into programs that support and empower small-scale farmers, such as Ms. Mary Liwonde, a grassroots partner with THP in Malawi. In 2004, before Mary became involved in THP's holistic development approach, she could barely grow enough food for her family's consumption. Within one year, Mary increased her harvest four-fold, thanks to her newfound access to various training programs and a microfinance initiative. And, in 2007, Mary was cited as Malawi's National Best Farmer of the Year by a major international agricultural company.
When the global community invests in people like Mary, we will witness phenomenal results on a wide scale.
Photo: THP President and CEO Jill Lester congratulating our partners in Kachindamoto Epicenter
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