On 25 September former US President Bill Clinton announced a historic private sector commitment to school meals which included an unprecedented five-year, US$80-million cash pledge from YUM! Brands to WFP and other hunger-related organizations. The commitment will allow WFP to provide meals to hundreds of thousands of children in school. Clinton, speaking at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), was joined on stage by WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, World Bank President Bob Zoellick, Hollywood actress and WFP Ambassador Against Hunger Drew Barrymore and YUM! Brands CEO David Novak.
A million more children
WFP also announced a commitment at the CGI meeting: to provide meals to an additional one million children each school day. In addition, the agency pledged to:
* bring together 40 top experts in the field of school feeding to identify and promote best practices. A special focus will be placed on identifying new, innovative approaches to help nations deal with the impact of high food prices.
* launch a worldwide competition to stimulate the development of innovative, new products (including school feeding products) that are nutrition-packed, sanitary, and locally produced.
* increase local purchase of foods by 10 percent and promote "home grown school feeding" wherever possible, whenever possible.
* support a nation to take over its school program, by promoting and designing a pathway to national and community-based school feeding.
Drew Barrymore and ‘Fill the Cup’
Earlier this year WFP launched its ‘Fill the Cup’ campaign to raise funds and awareness about the 59 million primary school age children attending school hungry in developing countries. Drew Barrymore has been at the forefront of efforts spread the word about the power of WFP school meals.
“I have seen with my own eyes what a difference a simple cup of nutritious porridge can make in a child’s life,” she said. “It helps them learn, stay healthy and sets them on track for a bright future.
Feeding minds, changing lives
As well as directly addressing hunger, school meal projects encourage families to keep their children in school and help build their futures. They are also an effective way of helping girls get an education. In WFP-assisted schools, absolute enrolment increases by 28 percent for girls.
In 2007 19.3 million children benefited from WFP school meal programs, either receiving a nutritious meal while they were in school or being given take-home rations.
Clinton also announced a commitment to de-worming at the CGI. Intestinal worm infections place a huge burden on school-age children in developing countries. constituting the single greatest disease burden among this group. They detract from children’s physical health and threaten their ability to attend and perform in school.
WFP, which uses school meal programmes as a platform for deworming and other health-related action, will receive enough de-worming pills to reach 2.2 million children a year for three years.
YUM! Brands held its inaugural World Hunger Relief campaign last year to raise awareness of the issue of hunger, mobilize its employees and raise funds for WFP.
This year YUM! Brands has increased its commitment by announcing that the campaign will last longer – it will run 2-4 weeks in most markets -- and more countries will participate. In addition, YUM! Brands WHR campaign will be extended until 2013.
CGI – a platform for action
The Clinton Global Initiative was established in 2005 as non-partisan platform for action which provides the means through which global leaders from the private sector, NGOs and governments devise and implement innovative solutions to growing global challenges.
The core of CGI’s mission is to enable specific and measurable commitments to action. Commitments are a testament to the growing power of businesses and non-governmental organizations to lead the way toward a world of shared values, responsibilities and benefits.
The CGI 2008 meeting focused on four areas of action: education, health, energy & climate change and poverty alleviation.
Facts & Figures
* Every six seconds, one child dies from hunger and related diseases.
* One in three children in the developing world is stunted because of malnutrition.
* About 59 million primary school-aged children attend school hungry.
* Hunger limits a child’s chances of educational success.
* It costs 25 US cents a day to give a child a WFP school meal.
* Over 19 million children benefited from WFP school feeding in 2007