June 1: Global walk to end child hunger

Published on 28 May 2008

Thousands of people – many of whom can no longer afford basic foods at their local markets – will join the World Food Programme and its major corporate partners, TNT and Unilever, in a global walk to raise awareness and funds to feed poor children in school.

Thousands of people – many of whom can no longer afford basic foods at their local markets – will join the World Food Programme and its major corporate partners, TNT and Unilever, in a global walk to raise awareness and funds to feed poor children in school.

On Sunday, 1 June 2008, people all over the world will come together with celebrities, government dignitaries, UN agencies, WFP corporate partners, their employees, friends and families to walk over a 24-hour period in each of the planet’s time zones. The Walk will take place in 70 countries, including 22 countries where hungry children who receive WFP school meals will participate. The largest walks are expected in Indonesia, Guatemala, Tanzania and Malawi.

“The price crunch is pushing millions of families to the edge with tragic consequences for future generations,” said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. “This event symbolises how people from all over the world can unite to raise awareness about the plight of the hungry poor.”

“End Hunger: Walk the World” aims to raise funds for WFP to provide school meals to the 59 million children who attend school hungry every day – a critical safety net to poor families who desperately need help in this time of hardship. Hunger continues to be the greatest threat to health worldwide, killing a child every six seconds. High commodity and fuel prices coupled with an increase in natural disasters – like those in Myanmar and China – threaten to wipe out any gains made against hunger in recent years.

“We are deeply concerned about those affected by hunger and those threatened by the current food crisis, whether they are our neighbours or live in a far-away country,” said Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT. “Last December TNT and WFP celebrated the fifth anniversary of their partnership and TNT will continue to support WFP in the fight against hunger. I am very proud of the fact that on every continent of the globe TNT employees, their families and friends will again join Walk the World this year to raise funds and awareness for hungry schoolchildren.”

On average it costs WFP only 25 US cents to give a cup of porridge, rice or beans to a child in school – a small but highly effective investment in a healthy and productive future. WFP school meals are a major incentive for poor families to send their children, particularly girls, to school. WFP now provides meals to an average 20 million children in school, about half of whom are girls, in some 70 countries.

“As food prices continue to increase, hunger is affecting the most vulnerable people more than ever. In these challenging times, Unilever remains committed and dedicated to our partnership with WFP. And our employees in countries all over the world are also demonstrating their support by taking part in Walk the World,” said Alan Jope, Unilever Group Vice President Spreads & Dressings.

“End Hunger: Walk the World” evolved from an initiative of TNT employees in Asia in 2003, with Unilever joining as a key organizer in 2007. Over the past five years, the event mobilized approximately 1 million participants and raised funds to feed over 100,000 children in school for one year.

Funds raised by TNT and Unilever will be direct to WFP countries following their corporate partnership twinning model agreements. TNT countries are Gambia, Malawi, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Cambodia. Countries supported by Unilever are Indonesia, Kenya, Colombia, and Ghana.