Hollywood Stars Do It Again: Saving Lives Together With WFP

Published on 20 February 2009

NEW YORK – Not On Our Watch, the international advocacy and aid organization founded by actors George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub, and human rights lawyer David Pressman, today announced grants totalling $500,000 to programmes reaching tens of thousands of vulnerable citizens living in Myanmar.

“Having just returned from the region, I’ve seen the incredible hardships faced by men, women, and children as they fight to survive. Basic services including clean water, food, and medical care are in short supply for many of the country’s most vulnerable,” said Not On Our Watch co-founder Brad Pitt. “Survival in times like these continues to be against the odds. We are proud to support the work of organizations including WFP that combat these problems, and we remain hopeful that the international community will take a lead in addressing their causes in the long term.”

Through a grant of $250,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), Not On Our Watch funds will help feed 40,000 small-scale farmers and their family members in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State, one of several recently identified “hunger hotspots” across the country. Several hundred thousand people are without adequate access to food supplies or the means to pay for food for their families in these areas.

Not On Our Watch will grant the remaining $250,000 to several organizations working to provide refugees along the Thailand-Myanmar border with emergency health care, medical supplies, and basic education.

“Not On Our Watch is stepping in to support our work where help is needed most,” said Nancy Roman, Director of Public Policy, Communications and Private Partnerships at WFP. WFP’s operations in Myanmar are currently facing a funding shortfall of US$16 million.

“We are saving lives and changing lives. We help villagers get fresh drinking water for the first time ever. And we make sure they get food in the lean season before the harvest comes,” added Roman.

Not On Our Watch has been a strong supporter of WFP’s efforts to feed the world’s hungry, providing US$1.5 million in the past two years to support WFP’s humanitarian air service in Darfur, Sudan.

The WFP funds will go to “Friends of WFP”, a US-based charity and fundraising arm of the international humanitarian agency. The organisation’s President and CEO, Karen Sendelback, thanked Not On Our Watch.

“Thanks to Not On Our Watch, thousands of people in Myanmar will not only be able to feed their families, but they will also have the opportunity to learn vital work skills and help rebuild their communities.”