Paul Tergat: school meals help guarantee success

Published on 03 July 2006

Paul Tergat, the world-record holding marathon runner from Kenya, is the star of this year’s Japan Advertising Council campaign which starts rolling out next month all over the country.

Paul Tergat, the world-record holding marathon runner from Kenya, is the star of this year’s Japan Advertising Council campaign which starts rolling out next month all over the country.

Paul Tergat is truly one of the most impressive examples of what people can achieve when they get an education and good nutrition

James Morris, WFP Executive Director

In the series of TV, print and radio ads, Tergat attributes much of his success to the meals provided by WFP to his school while he was growing up.

“Without those meals, I probably would not have become the achiever that I am today,” said Tergat at the launch of the Japan Advertising Council campaign.

Tergat is also a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger, and thus a very active advocate in the fight against global hunger.

Effect of good nutrition

“Paul Tergat is truly one of the most impressive examples of what people can achieve when they get an education and good nutrition,” said James Morris, Executive Director of WFP.

“We are so grateful to the Japan Advertising Council, which is helping us reach a much wider audience of people willing to support our cause.”

This is the third consecutive year that the Japan Advertising Campaign has chosen to support the work WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian organisation.

Last year, it provided school meals for 22 million children in 74 countries, and it aims to increase that number dramatically.

Sign of hope

Yutaka Nagata of JR West Japan Communications, the creative director responsible for shooting the advertisement at Tergat’s school in Kenya, explained: “I wanted to capture the small but sure sign of hope that school feeding represents for the children in the vast land of Africa, which can often be a harsh place if you are weak and hungry.”

Looking back, Tergat says: “For most kids in Baringo District (Kenya), education was out of the question. For the lucky ones, the three-mile trek to school each morning on an empty stomach made it difficult, sometimes impossible to concentrate on lessons.”

“When I was seven years old, that changed. The UN began distributing food at schools, meaning that we could stay focused on lessons. Those who had dropped out of school came back; others who had never attended were sent by their parents.”

Truth

“This year’s advertisement for WFP has a strong persuasive power, as it is based on a true story. Truth, I’m sure, will evoke special empathy in viewers’ minds,” said MamoruKusagawa, Managing Director of the Japan Advertising Council.

The campaign will run on television and radio for one year, thanks to the Japan Advertising Council. It will also feature in magazines and on billboards in subway stations around thecountry. One of Japan’s leading actors, Takashi Naito, narrated the advertisements in Japanese.

“The Japan Advertising Council and its members are helping us bring an invisible problem – child hunger – into the living rooms of millions of Japanese people. We’re infinitely grateful for this partnership,” said Mihoko Tamamura, Director of WFP Japan.

The Japan Advertising Council is a consortium of over 1,300 Japanese firms. Every year, it selects a limited number of issues for national and regional advertising campaigns, such as cancer detection, organ donation, improving communication between parents and children.