On Sunday, 13 May 2007, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide will walk together over a 24-hour period in each of the planet’s time zones, to deliver a message: child hunger has no place in this world and citizens across the globe can put an end to it.
WFP together with its major corporate partners, TNT and Unilever , are teaming up with an array of celebrities, dignitaries, employees, NGO partners, family, friends and people affected by hunger themselves, to ‘Fight Hunger: Walk the World’.
‘Walk the World brings together any and all who care about child hunger,’ said Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director. ‘This unique event, involves the very people who suffer from hunger themselves — men, women and children displaced by civil conflicts and children who receive daily meals at schools in developing countries.’
Funds raised through Walk the World will go to WFP’s Global School Feeding Programme.
This initiative links food and education by offering free meals to world’s most vulnerable children.
Making a huge difference
‘Few people know that it only costs 19 US cents a day to feed a hungry child in school. It proves that even the smallest contribution can help make a huge difference,’ said Peter Bakker, CEO of TNT (global leader in mail and express delivery) and the initiator of Walk the World in 2003.
Beginning in New Zealand at 10:00 in the morning and moving sequentially through major capitals and small villages in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, Walk the World aims to engage citizens worldwide to raise awareness and funds and assist more hungry children to go to school.
Last year, WFP provided school meals for 19.4 million children in 71 countries. All too often children – particularly girls – are deprived of education because their families cannot afford to send them to school.
Vicious poverty cycle
Yet education is one of the best ways of permanently escaping the vicious intergenerational cycle of poverty, illiteracy, poor health and hunger.
In 2006, hundreds of thousands people in sub-Saharan Africa joined the Walk to call for an end to child hunger that affects 400 million children today.
This year the word has spread and more people are walking across sub-Saharan Africa, from Liberia to Swaziland, South Africa to Uganda.
Force for change
As with every successful movement, the core force for change is coming from the very people who know what is like to be hungry, turning this unique event into a global manifestation against child hunger.
Hunger is the greatest threat to health worldwide. Every year more people die from hunger and hunger-related causes than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
There are more than 850 million chronically hungry people in the world today.
2007 marks the fifth anniversary of this unique event and also the arrival of Unilever (one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies) to work collectively with other partners to end child hunger.
‘If ignored, child hunger will remain a daily reality that ravages millions and goes unseen by most. Walk the World brings this otherwise invisible problem into the spotlight,’ said Vindi Banga, President of Foods Unilever. ‘There is no excuse for children to be chronically hungry, day in and day out in the 21st century.’