Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Help make politicians keep promises to wipe out hunger

The leaders of the G8 must take action and support the IF campaign, says Linda McClelland

There is enough food in the world to feed everyone. Yet nearly one billion people go to bed hungry and every year more than two million children die from malnutrition.

Hunger is the greatest scandal of our age, killing more people than Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined

Almost all hungry people - more than 97% - live in developing countries. But many people here also struggle to put food on the table.

The IF campaign marks the biggest coming-together of the UK's major development agencies and faith groups since Make Poverty History in 2005. It is launched today in cities around the UK, including Belfast and Derry.

The IF campaign calls on David Cameron to use the UK's G8 presidency to take action on the root causes of the hunger crisis:

  • IF governments keep their promises on overseas aid, stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest to feed themselves;
  • IF we stop companies dodging taxes on overseas profits, so the poorest countries have the resources to free themselves from hunger;
  • IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land and use land to grow food, not biofuels for cars;
  • IF we force governments and corporations to be honest about the actions they take that stop people getting enough food.

The campaign has gained the support of sportsmen and women, musicians, celebrities, entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates, and church leaders, including Desmond Tutu, who said: "Hunger is not an incurable disease, or an unavoidable tragedy.

"We can make sure no child goes to bed hungry, if we challenge our leaders to take action."

War on Want Northern Ireland stands alongside the other development agencies and many faith groups supporting the IF campaign.

Like many of the other agencies, War on Want Northern Ireland supports the poorest and most vulnerable people in some of the poorest countries.

Rita Ailaat, a 41-year-old widow from north-east Uganda, lives with her four surviving children. During my last visit to the country, in September 2012, Rita told me of her life some years ago, before joining a community farmers group supported by War on Want Northern Ireland.

She had lived in a dilapidated one-room grass-thatched house. She had nothing to eat and she listened to her hungry babies cry themselves to sleep each night and she was left feeling hopeless and useless.

Now, with the support of the community group, she has the knowledge, skills and resources needed to cultivate her small holding of land and grow and sell appropriate drought-resistant crops and vegetables.

Now she can afford to feed her children properly and send them to school and make plans for her and her family's future.

Of the world's hungry, 60% are women. There are too many women in our world who have to live a life of poverty and hunger like Rita once did.

Join us by signing up to the IF campaign at ww.enoughfoodif.com. Ask our political leaders and decision-makers to keep their promises on overseas aid and climate finance, to invest in simple and effective things that stop children being malnourished, that empower small-scale farmers, like Rita, to grow enough food and adapt to climate change.

We need the effort of governments to tackle the root causes of poverty and hunger and this can come about IF the general public back the IF campaign.

Together, we can actually build a world where no child has to go hungry.

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