Award-winning fashion designers and celebrities are sharing the limelight this evening in the Ghanian capital Accra, for an ever urgent cause: alleviating child hunger.
The Accra event is part of the WFP initiative, “Fashion for Food: CatWalk the World”, in which the fashion industry comes together with other partners to sponsor CatWalks across the globe.
Fashion always grabs the spotlight, and people in the industry are stepping up to channel that attention toward one of the most demanding causes of our time
Damon Dash, New York-born entrepreneur and music producer
Attending today’s event is New York-born entrepreneur and music producer, Damon Dash, and renowned Ghanaian fashion designer, Ozwald Boateng, recipient of the Order of the British Empire prize and creative designer for the premier fashion house Givenchy.
Boeteng’s fellow designer, Deola Sagoe of Nigeria, who headlined the April 2006 launch of “CatWalk the World” in Lagos, is also joining the event at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Accra.
“It might seem an unlikely mélange – the glitz of the fashion world and the plight of the world’s hungriest children. But fashion always grabs the spotlight, and people in the industry are stepping up to channel that attention toward one of the most demanding causes of our time,” said Damon Dash.
"CatWalk the World" is an offshoot of WFP’s annual global march, “Fight Hunger: Walk the World”, which mobilises worldwide support to end child hunger. Money raised at the Accra show will go to WFP projects in Ghana.
While the country has made significant progress in economic development, the nutritional status of children remains a serious concern.
The Accra event is on track to match the ‘CatWalk’ launch in Lagos, which earlier this year, raised $70,000 to help hungry children. From Ghana, the campaign will move across the globe -- plans are underway for at least eight additional cities, including Addis Ababa, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Paris, Rome, New York and Sydney.
“We are very grateful for the interest of the fashion industry,” said Trudy Bower, WFP Representative in Ghana. “These events will help us – both in Ghana and around the world –ease the scourge of chronic malnutrition which burdens far too many young lives.”
“WFP’s annual “Fight Hunger: Walk the World” event has been a huge success -- these fashion events throughout the year will complement that by maintaining a focus on the world’s hungry children,” said Bower.
Hunger is the greatest threat to health worldwide. Every year more people die from hunger and hunger related causes than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. There are more than 850 million chronically hungry people in the world today; 400 million of them are children.
In Ghana, one in three children under five is stunted and one in five is underweight. WFP is supporting the Ghana Health Service by providing micro-nutrient-rich foods to 60,000 pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five who lack access to nutritional food.
Women and children worldwide bear the brunt of poverty and food scarcity. And all too often children – particularly girls – miss out on an education because their families cannot afford to send them to school. Thanks to intiatives like “CatWalk the World”, WFP is able to lessen the burden and help families escape the poverty-hunger cycle.
WFP thanked a number of enterprises and companies for sponsoring Friday’s event in Accra: Alcatel-Lucent, Ghana International Airlines, Aero Contractors, Golden Tulip Hotel, Newmont Ghana and Amalgamated Bank.
Dignitaries also attending Friday’s event included: Maj. (Rtd.) Courage Quashigah, Minister for Health; Helen Allotey, Director of the Multi-lateral unit of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; and Mats Karlsson, World Bank Representative.