The fight to end child hunger will take centre stage at the Galle Cricket Ground on Saturday 15 December when senior members of the England cricket team turn out to raise awareness about the plight of the hundreds of millions of children around the world who know what it is like to go hungry.
England captain, Michael Vaughan, and batsmen Alastair Cook and Keven Pietersen will be joined by England coach, Peter Moores at an event that is being staged as part of the “Cricket Against Hunger” partnership between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
Cricket is a sport that takes you to countries where you are confronted with the daily hardships that face millions of hungry children around the world
Alastair Cook, England Test batsman
“Cricket Against Hunger is a growing partnership that aims to spread the message about child hunger and make more people aware of the work that WFP is doing to address it,” said Mohamed Saleheen, WFP Representative in Sri Lanka. “These players who are known all over the world have an important role to play in drawing attention to WFP’s vital work in addressing malnutrition among children.”
The England team will conduct a cricket training session at the Galle cricket ground for school children who are the recipients of WFP meals at 11 schools from the surrounding area.
WFP started its school feeding programmes in Sri Lanka in 2003 as a response to high levels of child malnutrition in areas affected by civil conflict. The programme was extended in 2004 in the immediate aftermath of the Asian tsunami, as more children became vulnerable and required food assistance. Today, WFP is providing food for 350,000 children through its school feeding programme in 15 out of 25 districts of Sri Lanka.
“Cricket is a sport that takes you to countries where you are confronted with the daily hardships that face millions of hungry children around the world,” said Alastair Cook.
“As international sportsmen, we are in the public eye, and we have an opportunity to tell our fans and followers about the scale of this problem, and the work that WFP is doing to address it.”
Since the “Cricket Against Hunger” partnership was launched in 2006, England team members have taken part in events in Jaipur in India, and in Bogra in Bangladesh, playing exhibition matches with school children, and raising funds to support WFP school feeding programmes.
“Cricket Against Hunger” is one of a number of relationships that WFP has forged with sporting organisations, and key figures in the world of sport. These include the “Tackle Hunger” partnership with the International Rugby Board, and initiatives involving sports men and women, including the footballers Ronaldinho and Kaka, the marathon runner, Paul Tergat, and the record breaking Sri Lankan spin bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan.