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The Weeknd launches fund to support the World Food Programme

Donation of US$500,000 comes as U$1 from each ticket sold for his stadium tour is earmarked for the superstar singer’s humanitarian venture
, WFP Staff Writers
The Weeknd with WFP Executive Director David Beasley, left (Photo: Getty/Rich Fury). Right: A publicity shot

Award-winning Canadian singer Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, has launched a fund to assist the World Food Programme in its bid to pull 44 million people back from the brink of famine.

Along with US$500,000 he is putting into the officially titled XO Humanitarian Fund – Powered by the World Food Programme, the artist, who holds the record for longest-charting single in the US, will make a further donation of US$1 from each ticket sold for his forthcoming After Hours Til Dawn stadium tour. 

‘We cannot allow millions of children, women and men to starve when we have the food and expertise to save them’

“The Weeknd is not just lighting up the lives of his millions of fans – he is also shining a spotlight on the suffering of the millions threatened by famine,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “The XO Humanitarian Fund is a new dawn in the struggle to end global hunger and WFP is proud to partner with Abel to save lives. He is truly an inspiration to the next generation of humanitarians.”

Monies raised will be used to assist communities on the edge of starvation in countries such as AfghanistanYemen and now Ukraine, with a focus on Ethiopia in recognition of Tesfaye’s ties with the country.

Poland, Hala Kijowska
Ukrainian refugees arrive in Hala Kijowska, in Poland, where they receive assistance from WFP. Photo: WFP/Marco Frattini

As the son of Ethiopian immigrants to Canada, Tesfaye has expressed great empathy for the plight of people in countries such as Ethiopia. 

Most recently, he gifted US$1 million to WFP’s relief efforts in Ethiopia following months of deadly violence, bringing the total he has contributed to WFP to US$1.8 million.

“The goal with this fund is to provide immediate life-saving support to people who are on the brink of starvation. I’m so thankful to have WFP as a partner and to further expand our reach to those who need it most,“ said Tesfaye.

Tesfaye has been a passionate advocate and generous supporter of humanitarian causes throughout his career, donating more than US$3 million to various organizations in the past year alone. In October, in a special ceremony in Los Angeles, Tesfaye was named a Goodwill Ambassador for WFP. 

He said: “The UN World Food Programme is doing urgent and important work to change and save lives on a daily basis and I feel passionately about addressing world hunger and helping people in need.”

Weeknd with WFP bosses
The Weeknd with WFP Executive Director David Beasley, right, and WFP USA chief Barron Segar, left, at a special event in West Hollywood on 7 October 2021. Photo: Getty/Rich Fury

WFP USA will be managing the XO Humanitarian Fund, donating US$1 million in recognition of its life-saving intentions and potential.  

“We are grateful that The Weeknd is on this journey with us to fight global hunger,” said Barron Segar, President and CEO of World Food Program USA, which is managing the fund. “We cannot allow millions of children, women and men to starve when we have the food and expertise to save them.”

WFP is currently sounding the alarm over an unprecedented level of need for humanitarian assistance across the world, highlighting the threat drought poses to millions of lives in the Horn of Africa in particular. 

There are currently 13 million people in need of urgent food assistance across the Horn of Africa – part of an unprecedented ‘perfect storm’ of hunger around the world, according to WFP.

Hayat and her three daughters live in a settlement for displaced people in Mokha, Yemen. Her husband was killed when their village was flattened. Photo: WFP/Annabel Symington

The XO Humanitarian Fund will help furnish WFP emergency response for people who are reeling from the combined effects of conflict, climate change, pandemic restrictions and skyrocketing costs. 

Tesfaye’s decision to donate US$1 from each tour ticket sold to WFP operations is one of a series of initiatives envisioned as part of his multi-year partnership with WFP. The contribution will help feed some of the world’s most vulnerable people, impacting the lives of millions. 

For more on the the ‘After Hours Til Dawn’ stadium, click here. The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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