May 21: Global walk against child hunger

Published on 19 May 2006

WFP and its partners are mobilising hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to walk together on 21 May to call for an end to child hunger.

WFP and its partners are mobilising hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to walk together on 21 May to call for an end to child hunger.

By engaging citizens from rich and poor countries alike, governments worldwide will heed the call, and will do more to end child hunger

Arlene Mitchell, Director of Walk the World for WFP

This will be the most comprehensive and diverse demonstration in history focused on hungry children and the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of hungry people globally by 2015.

On Sunday, 21 May 2006, more than 700,000 people in over 100 countries across 24 time zones are expected to walk five kilometres to highlight the battle against child hunger.

This number includes children throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Children

Some 100,000 children are expected to walk in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. Most of these are beneficiaries of WFP’s hugely successful School Feeding Programme.

By walking, these children are joining a growing chorus of voices across every demographic and every region of the world saying that it is unacceptable that 300 million children are chronically hungry in the world today.

“Fight Hunger: Walk the World” was initiated three years ago by TNT, global provider of express, mail and logistics services.

Millennium Development Goal
s

The event is the primary organising vehicle for engaging citizens globally in the struggle to achieve an end to child hunger and the first Millennium Development Goal.

“Fight Hunger: Walk the World is about creating a movement to end child hunger,” said Arlene Mitchell, Director of Walk the World for WFP.

“By engaging citizens from rich and poor countries alike, governments worldwide will heed the call, and will do more to end child hunger.

Without citizen action, the status quo will remain. But with it, we can help to end the unnecessary suffering of children.”

From Liberia to Kilimanjaro

Beginning in Auckland, New Zealand at 10.00 in the morning, and occurring sequentially for 24 hours across 24 time zones, the walks are as diverse as their locations:

-More than 70,000 school children are expected to walk in Liberia

-Thousands are expected to converge near Red Square in Moscow

-In Tanzania, an intrepid group of climbers will scale Mount Kilimanjaro, in Nepal, a WFP staffer has planted the Walk the World flag at the top of Mount Everest to Fight Hunger

-In the schools of Brazil, children will be working out solutions for child hunger before the Walk starts

WFP encourages interested walkers to visit its unique, interactive website, www.fighthunger.org, to learn more about this historic event.

Those wishing to step in and Fight Hunger: Walk the World may do so by joining a walk, by pledging money to a participant or as a Walk sponsor, or by donating money through www.fighthunger.org.

The website carries information about each of the Walk the World events, stories and blogs, photos, videos, music, helpful hints and more, providing a global forum and map of action to fight child hunger.

School feeding

Two successful, large-scale activities aimed at reducing child hunger are Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition projects which focus on pregnant and lactating women and young children, and School Feeding projects which provide nutritious food for school attendees.

Last year, WFP provided school meals for 21.7 million children in 74 countries.

The Programme plans to reach 50 million schoolchildren by 2008.

All too often children – particularly girls – are deprived of education because their families cannot afford to send their children to school.

Yet educating girls is one of the best ways of permanently escaping the vicious intergenerational cycle of poverty, illiteracy, poor health and hunger.