Josette Sheeran, the director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), recently wrote an essay for Washington Quarterly titled “How to End Hunger.” Sheeran is one of the leading voices in rallying the international community to stop the hunger and suffering that has taken hold over one billion people. Sheeran emphasizes the need for action:
“Without an immediate and aggressive response, not only will future growth and productivity be jeopardized, but so will broader economic development goals and the future security of all nations. Without food, people do one of three things: revolt, migrate, or starve. When governments can no longer provide food security, states fail.” Her essay highlights some powerful measures that can be taken to fight hunger, including increasing school feeding.
Sheeran writes, “School meal programs have proven one of the most powerful food-based safety nets ever implemented. They sometimes are the only assured source of food for the children of desperately poor households. And they can deliver much more in the bargain. According to a recent World Bank study, school meal programs can supply about 10 percent of household expenditure for each child who participates, and even more when schoolchildren are given ‘take home rations’ for their families.”
Tragically, school feeding is being cut around the globe because of lack of funding for WFP and other organizations. For instance, there are 115,000 children in Yemen that have not received a WFP school feeding distribution since last June. WFP is trying to piece together a limited distribution to reach at least some of the children with school feeding for this month. With funding for its Yemen operation severely strained, no school feeding beyond April seems likely.
In Syria, WFP needs 1.8 million dollars to carry out school feeding for 2010. WFP is partnering with the government of Syria to provide school feeding programs in five impoverished areas. The idea is to ensure food at school for children and also provide take home rations to improve attendance. There are 35,000 children who are benefiting, including Iraqi refugee children who reside and go to school in those areas.
In Iraq itself, WFP wants to provide school feeding to 900,000 Iraqi children, pending enough funding. These are just a few of many countries whose school feeding is not receiving enough support. Yet, the school feeding is integral to ending world hunger and lifting children and their families out of poverty.
Listen to audio of Josette Sheeran discussing global hunger
WFP’s Billion for a Billion campaign
Encouraging people to write to your leaders in government about fighting hunger
Hunger as National Security Issue
It’s a team effort that’s needed to end world hunger
See below for updates on WFP school feeding programs
School feeding in Mauritania the latest victim of the global hunger crisis
Clinton’s call for development in Yemen cannot go forward without Food for Education
School feeding needed for children in Somalia
Low funding for the World Food Programme threatens school feeding in Côte d’Ivoire
audio clips courtesy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies