Social Issues
World Food Day: Hunger Is The World’s Greatest Solvable Problem; Here’s How We Can Do It
October 16, 2012
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Mother Teresa once said "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."

We refer to that quote because today is World Food Day - a day to raise awareness and understanding of how we can end world hunger.

The answer, of course, is obvious. Unlike cancer, we know exactly how to beat hunger.

With food.

It's so simple. We have plenty of it. And yet, many people around the world are malnourished or suffering from hunger.

Nearly 870 million in all - that's one in eight people.

According to a recent UN report, the vast majority of them - 852 million - are in the developing world. The other 16 million are in developed countries, such as Canada.

"In today's world of unprecedented technical and economic opportunities, we find it entirely unacceptable that more than 100 million children under five are underweight, and therefore unable to realize their full human and socio-economic potential, and that childhood malnutrition is a cause of death for more than 2.5 million children every year," the report says.

Also troubling is the fact that progress in reducing hunger has slowed since 2007/08, when the global economy started to struggle and food prices soared.

As well, over the past 20 years, the number of hungry people in Africa has gone up.

But that can change.

As the UN World Food Programme says, it is the world's greatest solvable problem. This video pretty much says it all.

This year's World Food Day theme is "Agricultural cooperatives - key to feeding the world".

Basically, the idea is to encourage farmers (especially small farms) to pool their resources to produce more food to help reduce hunger and extreme poverty.

As part of World Food Day, the WFP has a campaign based around a young girl from Kenya named Molly.

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She's 12 years old and has grown up in the Mathare slum in Nairobi - home to about half a million people who are in need of food.

Molly is one of the luckier ones, as she gets free, nutritious meals from the WFP.

That has made a tremendous difference in her life, as Molly is able to have a more normal childhood, playing with her friends and focussing on school.

But that's only a start. Her classroom is rundown, small and overcrowded. And her daily diet doesn't have anywhere near the variety as children in this country.

As the UN report points out, reducing hunger isn't just giving people food. It's about increasing the quality of food in terms of diversity, nutrition and safety.

In the spring of last year, the WFP gave Molly a small video camera and asked her to record scenes from her day to day life. The series is called 'Molly's World.'

It's a personal, first-hand look at poverty and hunger but it also shows the impact healthy meals can make on a young life.

That said, for a young person like Molly to reach her true potential, more needs to be done.

Here's what you can do. Three simple steps.

- Watch the video below.

- Take the quiz (click on the box in the top right that says 'Take Molly's Quiz To Feed A Child Now.'

- Share the video.

The WFP has set a goal to provide school meals to 50,000 children by the end of the day. But it's not there yet.

You can help the WFP reach its goal. Every time someone takes the quiz, a meal is donated to a child through an anonymous WFP sponsor.

As well, here's one of the videos that Molly shot herself, entitled 'Your World, My World.'

She shot this one after taking part in a live video link-up with some children in Italy and compares her world with theirs. It's worth a look.

Molly has a Youtube channel, where you can see more of her videos. They're also posted on WFP's Facebook page and on Twitter.

You can leave a comment or question for Molly on Facebook, or on the 'Molly's World' YouTube channel. Or you can send in your thoughts via Twitter (send them @wfp and use the #mollysworld hashtag).

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, on average, it feeds more than 90 million people in more than 70 countries.

George is the WFP's first Canadian ambassador against hunger. As part of his work, we have red cups on our set that George and the guests drink from.

WFP uses those red cups (along with other colours) in its School Feeding programs to serve millions of children porridge and other meals.

You can read more about the cups here.

Plus, here's a PSA with George and a host of other celebrities urging Canada to 'Fill The Cup.'

As the UN report says, if we end hunger, the world will have better educated, stronger and healthier adults who can contribute to the global economy.

That's good for all of us.

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