Fighting Hunger And Malnutrition Through Children

October 16, 2001—An international coalition of partners, including the World Bank, today launch a global education campaign—Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger—to mark World Food Day. The initiative is to encourage children and youth to get actively involved in creating a world free from hunger and malnutrition.
A global teach-in, including officials from the United Nations and governments, and celebrities from different walks of life, will be teaching children in more than 30 countries around the world this week about hunger, nutrition, and food insecurity.
“Today more than 800 million people go to bed not knowing if they will have enough to eat tomorrow,” said Ian Johnson, World Bank Vice President. “200 million of those are children under the age of five. We believe children can be powerful agents of change, both today and when they become the adults of tomorrow.”
Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger has been developed by a broad coalition of international organizations, US organizations, and regional collaborators around the world. The initiative provides model lesson plans and resource materials on the topics:
• What is hunger and malnutrition and who are the hungry?
• Why are people hungry and malnourished?
• What can we do to help end hunger?
Teachers around the world will adapt and refine the materials, as necessary, to meet local needs and conditions. In subsequent years, lesson plans and activities from educators themselves will be solicited and shared so that students can begin to learn from each other about local problems of hunger and malnutrition and can share their ideas on how to solve these problems.
Hunger and malnutrition prevent the normal growth and development of children. They limit the learning capacity and productivity of both children and adults and, when widespread, are serious constraints to the social and economic development of communities and nations.
“An important step in developing and strengthening a society’s commitment to eliminating hunger and malnutrition,” said Robert L. Thompson, Director of the World Bank’s Rural Development Department, “is to ensure that children understand the causes and consequences of such problems, and more importantly, are motivated to seek ways that they can help to solve and prevent them.”
The Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger Initiative has been developed as one of many efforts being undertaken worldwide to fight hunger and malnutrition.
“Eliminating hunger in today’s world is a question of political will and global leadership,” said Lynn Brown, from the World Bank’s Rural Development family, one of the founders of the Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger coalition. “By teaching today’s children about hunger we hope to build a generation of future world leaders committed to ensuring that noone goes hungry in their world.”
This week’s global teach-in will consist of a number of parallel events in countries around the world, including Nane Annan in New York, Ismail Serageldin in Alexandria, Egypt (Director of the Alexandria Library), Congressman Tony Hall in Washington DC, Christovan Buarque in Brasilia (former Governor and former Dean of Federal University), Reuben Villareale in Los Banos (Director of South-East Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture), Francis Lucas in Manila (Chairman of the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development), Fitz Jackson in Jamaica (Minister  of Education), and Grace Akello in Kampala (Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development).
In the Washington area, Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the 2001 World Food Prize Laureate, taught the lessons at Thaddeus Stevens elementary school on Monday.
The lessons are available in 6 languages—English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Italian—and can also be obtained in hard copy (English only) or on CD.
The members of the Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger coalition include: American Federation of Teachers; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Future Harvest; International Education and Resource Network; International Food Policy Research Institute; National Peace Corps Association; Newsweek Magazine Education Program; United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; U.S. National Committee for World Food Day; and the World Bank.