The World Food Programme has announced the appointment of the popular Philippines actor and TV personality, Kristina Cassandra Concepcion – widely known simply as KC – as a National Ambassador Against Hunger, with a special mission to highlight the need for effective solutions to hunger and to address humanitarian needs in Mindanao.
“It was so uplifting to see first-hand how something as basic as food can make such a difference in the lives of children,” said KC during a visit to Pikit municipality in North Cotabato. “Ang pagkagutom ay higit pa sa walang makain o tiyan na walang laman. (Hunger is more than an empty stomach.
It’s an obstacle that stops children from achieving their full potential).”
WFP is using food assistance and hot meals to boost school enrolment and attendance in Mindanao. KC plans to travel within and outside the Philippines to raise awareness about WFP operations.
WFP’s Food for Education programme in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and adjacent areas uses food support as an incentive to promote school attendance and reduce dropouts in conflict-affected areas.
Over the past year, the programme, which is implemented in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and local authorities, has increased enrolment by 40 percent and cut dropouts in assisted schools by providing monthly food support to more than 180,000 children in 800 schools.
In addition to its school feeding programme, WFP supports nearly one million people in Mindanao, including internally displaced, pregnant and nursing mothers and others affected by the conflict.
KC joins an illustrious line of WFP celebrity endorsers including Indonesian TV and film actor Luna Maya and US movie star Drew Barrymore.
End hunger through small steps
“We are thrilled to have KC on board to help get the word out that, together, we can make real progress in helping to end hunger in our lifetime through small steps, such as this one, that make sure no child goes to school hungry,” said Valerie Guarnieri, WFP Country Director and Representative in the Philippines.
“Funding has been our main obstacle in expanding our successes throughout the conflict-affected areas. We hope that, with KC’s help, we will be able to increase support to the programme, including from the private sector,” Guarnieri added.
WFP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions. Major donors to WFP’s emergency assistance programme for people affected by the conflict in Mindanao include: Multilateral funds (US$15.2 million); Japan (US$2.4 million), Spain ($1.47 million) Australia (US$1.4 million) and Germany (US$985,000).
WFP returned to the Philippines in 2006 to contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Mindanao, by addressing the food security needs of vulnerable people in conflict affected areas