Jessica Watson Joins WFP In The Fight Against Child Hunger

Published on 25 May 2011

CANBERRA - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the appointment of round-the-world sailor and Young Australian of the Year, Jessica Watson, as Youth Representative to support WFP in the global fight against hunger.

Jessica joins a growing group of celebrities, sportspeople and statesmen worldwide who are promoting WFP’s work and giving a voice to the hungry. Jessica, who celebrated her 18th birthday last week, will focus on child hunger and inspire both new generations and opinion makers as she raises awareness and funds for WFP’s school feeding programmes.

“It’s a real honour to be working with WFP and to join the fight against child hunger.  Children cannot learn on an empty stomach and by providing nutritious daily meals, WFP is helping to build a better future for children, their families and their communities as they struggle to escape from hunger,” said Watson.

WFP provides school meals to an average of 22 million children each year in around 60 countries. School meals play a vital role in breaking the hunger-poverty cycle.

Poor households must often choose between sending children to school or to work in fields, streets, factories or sweatshops. WFP’s school meal programmes encourage parents to keep their children in school by providing food and sometimes take-home rations that help to feed the child’s family as well.

 “We are delighted to have Jessica on board. Her desire to make a difference to children’s lives, coupled with her boundless energy, will be a real asset,” said WFP Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Amir Abdulla, who is visiting Canberra this week. “Jessica Watson is already inspiring young people in Australia and beyond and her leadership will ensure the voices of hungry school children are heard.”

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd took the opportunity to meet with Mr Abdulla and Jessica Watson at Parliament House, Canberra this morning.

"It's great to see Jessica Watson, Young Australian of the Year, representing WFP. Jessica is an inspiration to many, a seemingly perfect fit to the work WFP charges itself with around the world," Minister Rudd said.

In her role as Youth Representative, Jessica will help introduce a new generation to WFP’s work by using social media and online tools, including WFP’s innovative fundraising and engagement platform, WeFeedback, that harnesses the power of social networking to raise money for WFP school meal programmes.

Jessica and her supporters can enter the cost of favourite foods – such as sushi, sausage roll or Sunday roast - into the Feedback Calculator to see how many children can be fed with that donation. Jessica's WeFeedback Calculator

Jessica’s schedule in 2011 will give her opportunity to raise awareness for child hunger when visiting communities and cities across Australia and the world.

For further information:
Monica Salvitti, WFP Marketing & Communications Manger - Australia  - Tel: 0400 406 886  Email: monica.salvitti@wfp.org
Nicole Hart, Director, Revolutions Per Minute, Tel: 0418 324 312 Email: nicole@revolutions.com.au