What does a former Ghanaian president have in common with a world class footballer, an elite long distance athlete, a famous actress or a former US senator?
The answer to this question was unveiled to me when I received an email from the Online Marketing Coordinator of World Food Programme (WFP), Abby Ravera, requesting me to inform my readership about the contribution of Ghana's immediate past President, Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor, to the global fight against hunger. Mr. Kufuor joins forces with Ricardo Kaka (former FIFA footballer of the year), Paul Tergat (Marathon champion), George McGovern (former US Senator) and Drew Barrymore (actress) to ask world leaders and other stakeholders to fill the "red cup" and put to rest the scourge of hunger among large swathes of the world's population.
At the induction ceremony in London, the former president indicated his desire of eradicating hunger among school children. He said that "ensuring that every child has proper nutrition has to be the goal of every world leader; I hope to inspire them all to strive for this goal." This welcome development comes as no surprise to many since the former president was in Rome, Italy in 2008 when the WFP launched its "fill the cup campaign" to provide school meals for hungry school children. Back home, his administration rolled out the school feeding programme to provide free meals for pupils in deprived areas of Ghana.
Mr. J.A. Kufuor and some Ghanaian school kids at the launch of WFP's "fill the up" campaign in Rome Italy. Picure taken from the WFP website
Mr. Kufuor received a lot of praise for his involvement. WFP Executive Director, Rosette Sheeran said that "John Kufuor not only talks the talk, but walks the walk; Ghana is a leader in nourishing its children and Ambassador Kufuor can be a leader in getting others to follow his good work."
Former President Kufuor and WFP's fight against global hunger is justified by the knowledge that over 1 billion people are either suffering from harsh, raw hunger or malnutrition of some sort. Key facts about the WFP school feeding programme that I found here suggest that the WFP is only able to feed about one-third of the 66 million hungry school children worldwide. This situation really requires urgent action.
Governments of affected countries should take the initiative of rolling out or strengthening national programmes to complement the efforts of the WFP and alleviate the plight of their people. More lasting solutions to the hunger problem must be explored, like technological innovations that would allow farmers to grow crops during drought, or assistance to beneficiaries in the form of skill acquisition, rather than always giving out fish. What is the WFP doing about this? Individuals can also help by contributing to the WFP, volunteering on WFP programmes or spreading the word like I'm doing. J. Another cool way that I found to be helpful is to simply play this game. Imagine having fun, learning and doing charity work at the same time! That feels good, doesn't it?
Ayeeko to the Gentle Giant and the WFP!