To mark World Food Day on 16 October, the World Food Programme (WFP) is highlighting the need for bold and constructive partnerships between governments, business and organizations that will create the requisite momentum towards achieving Zero Hunger and shaping a brighter future for millions of children.
"Ending hunger in our lifetimes is possible. We can build a world where everyone, everywhere has access to nutritious food - if we all work together, as partners," said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. "Whether in a humanitarian or developmental context, partnerships must be bold, strategic and innovative, and be measured by how they change the lives of the world's most vulnerable people."
Innovation plays a fundamental role in ensuring that partnerships catalyse and drive change, while also rallying ordinary people around the globe to take action against hunger.
WFP's award-winning ShareTheMeal app has engaged a new generation of people in supporting this mission; more than 620,000 people have donated through a simple tap on their mobile phone, sharing over 8.2 million meals and following the impact of their donations via social media.
Much of WFP's work is in emergencies, often driven by conflict, such as the current crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen where millions of people need live-saving assistance.
In addition, WFP last year provided school snacks or meals to more than 17 million school children in 62 countries, nourishing their bodies and feeding their dreams. When school meals programmes are forged in partnership and integrated into comprehensive education packages, school meals can catalyse educational achievement and opportunities.
In Home Grown School Meals programmes - which WFP supports in 37 countries - children receive a more varied diet from locally sourced food, while many others, such as farmers, traders, and local communities, also benefit financially.
In countries struggling with emergency needs, school meals programmes can help guard against malnutrition, preserve learning and create some sense of normality. They are a ready-made safety net to help hungry families at times of crisis.
"I talked recently with Nicole, a 12-year-old school girl in southern Madagascar, which has been devastated by successive droughts," Cousin said. "As we strive to deliver to those in need, WFP plans to follow how her life changes along with other WFP beneficiary children and see whether we as a global community help her realize her potential and fulfil her dream of becoming a teacher."
"Our changing climate demands that we put the resilience of families and communities at the heart of our efforts to reach Zero Hunger. When providing assistance WFP must deploy all our creativity through tools that can help these vulnerable poor children and their families deal better with climate shocks," she added.
For World Food Day 2016, the ShareTheMeal app has introduced new community functions that allow users to rally around special moments when we gather and share food - such as weddings or birthdays - encouraging family and friends to make an even greater impact against hunger, together.
Soccer legend and WFP Ambassador Kaka is one of the first celebrity partners to create his own team, inviting other ShareTheMeal users to join him.
ShareTheMeal's current goal is to provide school meals for an entire year to 58,000 school children in Zomba, a district in southern Malawi severely affected by drought and suffering from high levels of food insecurity.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.
Source: World Food Programme