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New UN Campaign To Combat Schoolchildren Hunger

New UN campaign seeks to combat hunger among millions of schoolchildren

7 February 2008 - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today unveiled a new global fundraising and awareness campaign to benefit the nearly 60 million children around the world who go to school hungry.

Health and education interventions are less effective when given to people who lack basic nourishment, the agency noted.

The new initiative - "Fill the Cup" - aims, literally, to fill a cup with food for hungry schoolchildren, increasing their chances for health, education and a better future.

According to WFP, it will take about $3 billion per year to feed all 59 million children who go to school hungry worldwide, while $1.2 billion can provide meals for the 23 million children in 45 of the neediest African countries. Just $0.25 can give one child one cup of porridge, rice or beans and provide girls with a monthly ration to take home.

"The need is great, but so is the ability to help - a single Euro (or $1.50) feeds a school child for a week," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran, adding that feeding children in school helps promote not only education, but also healthy and strong communities.

"We are often asked by people, young and old - school children, truck drivers, dentists and teachers - how they can help," Sheeran said. "This is how."

WFP is a major provider of school meals in developing countries. From Afghanistan to Somalia, some 20 million children benefit from WFP school meals at the cost of only $0.25 a day.

Partnering with WFP in the campaign is FIFA World Player of the Year, Kaka, who is also the agency's Ambassador against Hunger. "I come from a country where I've seen first-hand how hunger can rob a child's potential," said Kaka, a native of Brazil. "So I'm very proud to call on soccer fans and others to help Fill the Cup and lay a foundation for our future."

Also participating in the campaign are the President of Ghana, and head of the African Union, John Agyekum Kufuor, and the Mayor of Milan, Letizia Moratti.

WFP - the world's largest humanitarian agency - will feed more than 70 million people this year in some 80 countries around the world.

ENDS

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