UN World Food Programme

Round-World Sailor Jessica Watson Named WFP Youth Rep

Jessica Watson with Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd (left) and WFP Deputy Executive Director Amir Abdulla (right) in Canberra. (Copyright: AusAid/Angus Braithwaite)

Australia's Jessica Watson, who last year became the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone, is WFP’s newest Youth Representative. In her new role, Jessica will use her fame and spirit of adventure to engage young people around the world in the fight against hunger.

CANBERRA – Round-the-world sailor and Young Australian of the Year, Jessica Watson, has been appointed Youth Representative in the global fight against hunger, WFP announced on Wednesday. Go to Jessica's profile page

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,” she said. “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.”

Boundless energy

“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.”

In May 2010, Jessica became the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe alone. In her role as Youth Representative, she will help introduce a new generation to WFP’s work, both 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.

School meals

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.