UN World Food Programme

From the Intern Desk - Barney

Barney-Iley Williamson spent six weeks volunteering in WFP's London office. Read his final blog entry to find out what he thinks of his experience with WFP and how with your generation's help, we can completely transform the world we live in.

Six weeks goes fast. I mean, those 1,008 hours really raced by. I cannot believe that it’s been 60,480 minutes already! Still, they were awfully exciting, so perhaps that is to be expected. I haven’t blinked this entire time. No, seriously, my eyes are dangerously dry right now. But, all things come to an end, and it’s my last day with WFP. As I sit in the chair that has loyally swivelled me to and fro (sometimes for practicality, more often for fun) at the desk which has admirably endured the apocalyptic mess that is my untidy workspace, in an office which has housed, and will continue to house the three marvellous work colleagues who are both friends and educators, I am wondering, ‘what next?’

Sadly, I think it is highly unlikely that the remaining months of my gap year will provide such a unique and eye-opening experience. It is almost inevitable that whatever follows a six week internship with WFP will be a ‘step down’, but at least I can now step down carrying large bags of invaluable experience, hauling a trolley of increased understanding and sipping from a small, silvery flask of new skills. It’s the unavoidable attire that one acquires when colliding with such a remarkable organization. 

However I hope the most permanent consequence of my time here does not rest with me, but with the hundreds of students Andrea and I spoke to. The six weeks here have infused me with the belief that hunger can be stopped. One might almost expect the opposite – one might expect that when confronted with the reality of the situation, with the difficulty of the task at hand and with the magnitude of the problem that all hope would be lost and we might snort at the idea of eradicating hunger. It is testament to the work of WFP that those thoughts are quickly banished. 

I cannot speak from experience, or call on years of intense study, but I honestly believe that today’s youth are the individuals who will end hunger. There is no doubting that they can – if everybody knew about and committed to it, we could end hunger today – and I think they will. The mechanisms are in place, the springs are loaded and the cannons are primed. If nothing else, that is what I have taken from WFP and that is what WFP has come to represent for me: we have the capacity, we have the ability and the resourcefulness and the innovation and the intelligence to solve food poverty. 

Where there’s a will there’s a way. The ‘way’ has already been laid down by organizations like WFP. Now, let’s see about that ‘will’.