Dadaab-refugee-camp-reenactment-awarness
The Universities Fighting World Hunger organization seeks to “create an academic hunger model that is suitable for replication or adaptation by universities around the world.” It is partnered with the UN World Food Programme and hopes to involve universities and to take action against world hunger through hunger awareness and education, fundraising, advocacy and academic initiatives.

In April, students at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) and members of Universities Fighting World Hunger sought to educate participants about the harsh realities that refugees face every day while living in a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. The event was held on campus and was open and free to the public.

The annual event reenacted life in a refugee camp that harbors nearly 400,000 refugees mostly from neighboring Somalia. By using the bare bones of a camp, tents and a grill, and retelling true stories about refugee’s lives and daily activities, members of the organization hoped to spark interest and action. Participants were exposed to the extreme living conditions in a refugee camp including chronic food insufficiency. Members created fliers and pamphlets that outlined how individuals could get involved, answering many of the participants questions of “What can we do to help?”

– Kira Maixner

Source: Student Media at University of Alabama in Birmingham
Photo: Guardian

What the Wealthiest Could Do

If the bank account of every billionaire on Earth were put into one big pile, that pile would total $5.4 trillion dollars. Sounds like a lot, but that figure is dwarfed by the sum total of each American household combined which totaled $40.2 trillion. Tackling the problems of impoverished nations seems like a task too huge to comprehend, but when you look at the total capital of citizens in the United States and top earners around the world, the problem seems within reach.

World Vision estimates that it would cost roughly $50 million to provide clean water to each needy household in the entire world for a year. Seems like a lot of money until you compare it to the combined earning power of each billionaire in the world. It would cost a single percent of that total wealth. This would take much less than one percent of the total annual earnings of US citizens and would save 1.6 million lives annually.

Clean water is one problem, but food is another. The World Food Program estimates that it would cost $3.2 billion to ensure that children stay alive and nourished until they are grown. This would cost 1/600th of the total earnings of the wealthiest in the world and would save 4.2 million lives annually.

Contributions that already exist from governments and nongovernmental organizations are indeed helping to solve the problem. Extreme poverty is predicted to be solved by 2030, but some help from individuals could be the most powerful force in the fight against poverty.

– Pete Grapentien

Source Huffington Post
Photo Source MSN Now

Eva Longoria Impressed by World Food ProgramActress Eva Longoria, best known for her role in Desperate Housewives, visited rural Honduras this March with philanthropist Howard G. Buffett (the eldest son of Warren Buffet). The actress wanted to see first-hand the work of the World Food Program (WFP) and its Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative – to which the Howard G. Buffett Foundation is a major donor. Eva Longoria impressed by World Food Program, especially sighted the P4P ability to tailor development practices and policies for each community differently, as “there’s not a template for the world” for achieving success.

As the world’s largest humanitarian agency, WFP is also a major food buyer. In 2012, WFP bought over $1 billion worth of food – more than 75 percent in developing countries. The P4P program is a logical agenda for the WFP – its mission is to increase the WFP procurement of food through local/small scale farmers, thereby increasing rural development with the WFP’s buying power.

Through the initial pilot program in 20 countries, P4P will provide greater incentive to small farmers to invest in their production, as they will have the stability of a reliable buyer and receive a fair price for their crops with WFP’s promise to buy their crops. It is envisioned that with the WFP stabilizing and developing small-businesses, then local governments and other private companies will also start to buy on a smaller level, further increasing demand and development. Farmers are learning how to increase crop quantities and quality, how to negotiate markets, pricing and contracts, and improve their businesses. P4P also invests in capacity building in areas such as post-harvest handling and storage, which in turn yields sustainability through boosting national food security reserves.

The five years pilot P4P, 2009 – 2013, rests on three pillars:

1. Demand: Through P4P, WFP tests innovative ways to buy staple food and promote marketing opportunities for smallholder farmers.

2. Supply: P4P links WFP’s demand with the expertise and resources of partners who support farmers to achieve better yields, reduce their losses after the harvest and improve the quality of their staple crops.

3. Learning and Sharing: P4P will gather and share lessons on effective approaches to connect smallholder farmers to markets in a sustainable way and share them widely with stakeholders.

A wide range of partners regionally, nationally, and globally supports the P4P program, with the US being a key donor.

 – Mary Purcell

Source: FLickr, WFP

Take a Quiz - Feed a Family in SyriaBy taking this short quiz, participants can literally feed a family in Syria. Sponsored and facilitated by the UN World Food Program (WFP), the five questions survey will help you learn more about the crisis in Syria and how the WFP is responding.

The questions range from the cost of living expenses to refugee status. One question asks, “Of all the refugees now living in Jordan how many are women & children?” Answer: of this particular Jordanian population of 60,000 refugees – 75% are women & children. The WFP provides nutritious ready-to-eat meals for anyone in need.

The UN has just counted the one-millionth refugee coming out of Syria. More than 70,000 people have died and two million have been internally displaced since the conflict began almost two years ago. Starting as demonstrations against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the protests quickly turned violent as opponents of Mr. Assad took up arms against the brutal crackdown coming from the authorities. There is still no resolution in sight.

Find out more – and feed a family in Syria for a day.

– Mary Purcell

Source: WFP, BBC
Photo: unostamps


Upon winning an Oscar for her leading role in the film “Silver Linings Playbook”, Jennifer Lawrence fell as she ascended the stairs. While potentially embarrassing for anyone, Lawrence continued without a pause. Her charming demeanor and genuine personality were shining, so no one made any fuss about the incident. The actress’s charm is obviously authentic as Jennifer Lawrence has a proven history of charitable involvement for good causes.

While she was part of the cast in “The Hunger Games”, she and other co-stars partnered with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to raise money and awareness around the issues of global poverty and hunger. The movie itself deals with food scarcity and its subsequent social effects so the tie-in was natural.

“This partnership will help us spread the word that hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem,” said Nancy Roman, Director of Communications of WFP. WFP is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.

Jennifer Lawrence also supports Feeding America and The Thirst Project, both non-profit organizations helping people overcome issues of poverty and food/water access.

Unlike Hunger Games, or global food shortages, the US does have enough food to feed everyone, it is just a matter of getting it to the millions of low-income people who need it. This is the concern of Feeding America.

– Mary Purcell

Source: Hungergames.WFP.org, Looktothestars.org
Video: Youtube


Malnutrition is not necessarily about not having enough to eat, but rather not having the right minerals and vitamins in what you eat. This World Food Program (WFP) video says everything you need to know about malnutrition – in two minutes.

The cycle of malnutrition starts in the womb, malnourished mothers give birth to children with health problems who grow up to be adults with health problems, then raising the next generation, and so on. The goal of the WFP is not just to treat malnutrition, but to also help it from happening in the first place. WFP realizes that it costs half as much to help a child under two, than it does to wait until the child is older and in need of greater assistance.

In raw figures, WFP indicates it would cost $3.6 billion to provide the special foods needed to treat all the moderately malnourished infants and toddlers in the world. Seemingly a large sum of money, but it is less than half of the $10 billion that Europeans spend on ice cream annually. Thus, the amount needed to treat malnourished is attainable.

Relatively, the fight against malnutrition is not that daunting; the world has the ability and the means, “the challenge is to do it.”

– Mary Purcell

Source: Youtube

World Food Programme Helps Syrian Refugees

On average, the World Food Programme (WFP) feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries yearly. In 2013, the WFP has focused its giving on refugees from the Syrian conflict that have been displaced by the fighting. The WFP has helped 3,000 people in February alone and plans on helping an additional 4,000 by the end of the month.

In order to receive the electronic vouchers which can be redeemed for food at supermarkets, the refugees must register with the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR).  More than 90,000 Syrians have been displaced by the conflict, yet only 15,000 have registered with the UNHCR.

The WFP has launched this campaign at the request of the Egyptian government and is focusing on only the most impoverished of the refugees who have drained their savings.

“WFP plans to provide assistance to as many as 30,000 Syrians in Egypt by June 2013,” said WFP’s Country Director and Representative in Egypt, GianPietro Bordignon. They work closely with the beneficiaries while implementing the program.  Egyptians have been  helping WFP by offering their homes “to be used for voucher distributions” and their voluntary contributions have impressed the WFP immensely.

– Pete Grapentien

Source: World Food Programme
Photo: NYTimes

michael-kors-joins-the-united-nations-to-end-world-hungerMichael Kors joins the United Nations‘ initiative to try and end world hunger. Michael Kors recently launched a PSA, or a public service announcement, stating he would raise awareness and money for the United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP). Together, Michael Kors and the United Nations are committed to a long-term campaign to attain the goal of a hunger-free world. Michael Kors has promised to take a large part in various awareness-raising events, as well as separate events to engage in fundraising for the United Nation’s program.

The United Nation’s World Food Program aims to primarily help mothers and children in need and to help provide sustenance and other assistance when needed. The first initiative planned, as Michael Kors joins the United Nations’ goal of ending world hunger, is focused on a pair of unisex watches. Kors recently announced the launch of a new product, the two watches, with the slogan “Watch Hunger Stop.” Through this program, every single watch sold will help feed 100 children.

Kors commented, “I am so proud to be joining the World Food Programme in one of the greatest global fights of our time – the battle to end hunger.” His words reflect his excitement to be a part of the initiative. As Michael Kors joins the United Nations’ battle against world hunger, and he will certainly do his best to make it happen. WFP’s Executive Director Ertharin Cousin made a similar comment reflecting the company’s excitement to have Michael Kors aboard. Although the global fashion community is not the most obvious audience of the world hunger campaign, reaching so many people will certainly help the cause tremendously.

To watch Kors’ official PSA, look here.

– Corina Balsamo

Sources: World Food Programme, WFP News
Photo Source: Haute Living