Fill the cup: turning hunger into hope for milllions of children

Published on 02 July 2008

A major international fundraising and awareness initiative to benefit millions of hungry school children worldwide was announced today by the world’s largest humanitarian agency – the United Nations World Food Programme.

A major international fundraising and awareness initiative to benefit millions of hungry school children worldwide was announced today by the world’s largest humanitarian agency – the United Nations World Food Programme.

“Fill the Cup” aims, literally, to fill a cup with food for all of the 59 million children who go to school hungry throughout developing countries around the world – boosting their chances for health, education and a more promising future.

“A child dies of hunger every six seconds. WHO has declared hunger and malnutrition the number-one threat to public health,” said Josette Sheeran, Executive Director of the World Food Programme.

First things first

“First things first: We need to fill the cup,” she said, noting that health and education interventions are less effective when given to people who lack basic nourishment.

Partners in “Fill the Cup” include:

  • FIFA World Player of the Year, Kaka’, who is also WFP’s Ambassador against Hunger
  • Ghanaian President and African Union President, John Agyekum Kufuor;
  • Milan’s Mayor, Letizia Moratti

Child's potential

“I come from a country where I’ve seen first-hand how hunger can rob a child’s potential,” said Kaka, a native of Brazil. “So I’m very proud to call on soccer fans and others to help Fill the Cup and lay a foundation for our future."

President John Agyekum Kufuor said school feeding has helped Ghana to stay on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the first of which is to halve hunger and poverty by 2015.

“Every nation’s future rests on food and education,” said Kufuor.

Leading the way

WFP is leading the way in seeking to raise funding from governments, from companies and from individuals.

WFP estimates that it would cost about US$3 billion per year to feed all 59 million children worldwide; US$1.2 billion would provide meals for the 23 million children in 45 of the neediest African countries.

While these sums may seem large, WFP has calculated that just 25 cents (US$) can give one child one cup of porridge, rice or beans and provide girls with a monthly ration to take home.

Single Euro

“The need is great, but so is the ability to help – a single Euro (or $1.50) feeds a school child for a week,” said Sheeran, adding that feeding children in school helps promote not only education, but also healthy and strong communities.

“We are often asked by people, young and old - school children, truck drivers, dentists and teachers – how they can help,” Sheeran said. “This is how.”

Milan

We are pleased to work alongside the World Food Programme.

Letizia Moratti, Milan Mayor

WFP is partnering with the city of Milan, which has made world hunger one of the key elements of its campaign to secure the World Expo.

It was agreed that the Red Cup presentation be made first in Italy, before expanding it to other G8 countries and beyond.

Mayor Moratti said: “Through its candidacy for Expo 2015, Milan and Italy have made available to the international community their energy, competence, and knowledge to tackle together the huge challenges of our time to create a truly sustainable future.

" The theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ represents the spirit in which we collaborate, concretely, with the Millennium Campaign and with all the programmes of the UN, and other multilateral organizations which are active in reducing hunger, drought, and poverty in the world. Today we are pleased to work alongside the World Food Programme as a new, important ‘travelling companion’ on this road of international solidarity.”

Kaka'

As part of the presentation, AC Milan footballer and WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, Kaka’, is dedicating the Milan-Siena match on 10 February to “Fill the Cup”.

A banner carried around the pitch by children will remind spectators that “You don’t play with hunger”, the slogan for the “Fill the Cup” public service advertising campaign starring Kaka, is unveiled today.

Global base

Italy is the global base for the United Nations World Food Programme, which will feed more than 70 million people this year in some 80 countries around the world.

WFP is a major provider of school meals in developing countries. From Afghanistan to Somalia, some 20 million children benefit from WFP school meals at the cost of only 20 Euro cents (25 US cents) a day.