GLOBAL WALK IS A GIANT STEP TOWARDS ENDING CHILD HUNGER
Rome - Yesterday, at least 200,000 people took part in a round-the-clock, round-the-world event in 269 cities and towns in 91 countries - raising awareness about child hunger across the globe and sufficient funds to feed more than 50,000 hungry children for a year.
On 12 June, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) together with its partner TNT, the global express, logistics and mail company, teamed up with an array of celebrities, dignitaries, employees, partners, family and friends to literally walk the world over a 24 hour period in each of the planet's 24 time zones. Globally, walkers covered a distance of more than one million kilometres or the equivalent of 25 times around the earth.
Preliminary reports suggest that this year's second global event, Fight Hunger: Walk the World, had five times more participants than last year's and raised substantially more funding and attention towards eradicating child hunger.
International capitals, rural communities, neighbourhoods and historical landmarks served as the backdrop to walks which varied in size and style. In Rome, where WFP is headquartered, walkers strode through the ancient ruins of the Fori Imperiali and the Colosseum. New Yorkers began their walk at the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. The Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt also featured. The first post-conflict walks were held in Sierra Leone and Liberia while in Malawi, tens of thousands of children who are direct beneficiaries of WFP's school feeding programmes stepped out with family and friends through their villages.
Artists, intellectuals, political leaders and sports champions turned out to call attention to the horrifying fact that hunger kills a child every five seconds in a world that produces enough food for everyone. Some prominent figures included the President of Honduras, Ricardo Maduro and his wife, first lady Aguas Ocaña who walked against child hunger in Tegucigalpa. Former U.S. President, George H. W. Bush and his grand-daughter, the model Lauren Bush, walked in Greece, while the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gianfranco Fini and Mayor of Rome, Walter Veltroni, joined the event in Rome. Kenyan marathon champion and former WFP school feeding beneficiary Paul Tergat led the walk in Lisbon, Portugal.
"The money raised through Fight Hunger: Walk the World will go directly to WFP's global school feeding programme. This initiative links food and education by offering free meals at school to some of the world's most vulnerable children," said James Morris, WFP Executive Director, who took part in the Rome walk.
"The walks held around the globe today were a great success and a tremendous first step forward in eradicating child hunger, but the struggle continues. Few people know that it only costs 19 US cents a day to feed a hungry child in school. It proves that even the smallest contribution can help make a huge difference," said Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT, who was accompanied on the walk in Zeist, Netherlands, by the Dutch Foreign Minister, Ben Bot.
To download photos and see walk results visit:
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 56 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People.
WFP Global School Feeding Campaign - For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school - a gift of hope for a brighter future.
With its two brands TNT and Royal TPG Post, TNT N.V. is a global provider of mail, express and logistics services. The group employs over 160,000 people in 63 countries and serves over 200 countries. For 2004 the company reported sales of € 12.6 billion. TNT N.V. is publicly listed on the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, New York, London and Frankfurt.
For more information please contact:
WFP Walk the World Communications Coordinator
Tel. +39-06-6513 2684
Mob + 39 335 843 2961
TNT Group Media Relations
Tel +31 20 500 6221
Mob: +31 6 1527 366
Deputy Director Communications