World Food Day is celebrated every year on October 16, and this year it has never been more necessary to help people to access food. The global pandemic has brought a devastating crisis in global hunger, with 265 million more people worldwide expected to fall into severe food insecurity this year. But there is reason to hope.
Canadian Feed The Children partners with many communities in Canada and around the world to help end child hunger and food insecurity. Along the way, we are fortunate to meet inspiring children and community members who are determined to end child hunger and are championing food security for all. We join with the global community in celebrating our World Food Champions for World Food Day 2020.
Meet the champions
Kiana, School Garden Volunteer, Canada
A university student from Esgenoôpetitj First Nation, Kiana is a volunteer in the local school gardening program. A big believer in educating children about food sovereignty, Kiana was saddened when COVID-19 forced the local elementary school to close, along with the school garden. She and another volunteer took on the task of tending to the garden over the summer to distribute plants to the students at home.
“I feel inspired by all of the children, because they are putting their trust in me,” she says. “I want to do this to show the youth so they can do it on their own in the future. Everyone should be able to grow their own food.”
“I want to do this to show the youth so they can do it on their own in the future. Everyone should be able to grow their own food.”
Jane, Agricultural Extension Worker, Uganda
Jane, an agricultural extension worker from Uganda, plays a vital role in her community: making sure women have the advice, confidence and information needed to be successful farmers. Going from house to house, Jane teaches women in her community how to grow crops, control pests and disease, and properly fertilize their plants. Her dream is to see other women in her community passionately engage in farming like her, improve their livelihoods and provide a food secure household for their children.
“When people have food, they are settled. Troubles can come to families without food. When women follow my advice and they have a good harvest after, I’m pleased,” says Jane. She’s inspiring a whole community of women farmers to achieve their best, and is creating lasting change for children and families.
Zenebech, Megartu Women's Cooperative Leader, Ethiopia
As the leader of a 100 woman cooperative group named Megartu, Zenebech ensures that women are given opportunities to thrive and run food secure households. As a farmer, Zenebech was encountering challenges that were affecting her crops, like periods of drought and poor irrigation.
When she joined Megartu, she worked hard to learn book-keeping, fund management, and credit savings to ensure she could get her group members farming businesses to be productive. Through her dedication, Zenebech and Megartu was awarded a water pump to supply water for the community's crops. Zenebech is leading the way in her community to ensure that every household has sufficient water to grow their own food.
"As for Megartu, we are looking to acquire a grinding mill once we get a good harvest. Our plan is to become a middle level enterprise within the next five years."
Talata, Aquaculture Group Leader, Ghana
Talata is the leader of a successful aquaculture group in her town in northern Ghana. Her group raises and catches fish from the water reservoir behind the community dam, which is then used to feed neighbouring families and sell competitively in the local market. She leads the aquaculture group in learning how and when to feed the fish fingerlings and how to process the fish after harvest. Six months after the first fingerlings were brought to the dam, Talata and her group harvested the first of their cages, to a lot of excitement.
“Everyone was so happy. Even the size of the fish was also good and the chief of the land came here to see us harvesting,” Talata says. Thanks to Talata’s leadership, her group members are still seeing growth in income and food security for children and families a full six years after their project began.
Jhoselin, Youth Activist and Urban Gardener, Bolivia
Teenaged Jhoselin is passionate about many causes, and food security is one of the most important. Inspired by her participation in the urban gardening program, Jhoselin was a delegate at several youth environmental events in 2019 where she contributed to discussions on working in urban gardens and how they support community food security.
“What it called to my attention is that we can learn farming that is more practical,” she says. “It is important to take leadership roles as a child or youth because we can help and make authorities listen to the problems and needs of the area.”
“It is important to take leadership roles as a child or youth because we can help and make authorities listen to the problems and needs of the area.”
All COVID-19 community response leaders in Bolivia, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda
Our CFTC family is grateful for all the community leaders around the world who stepped up and continue to support their neighbours throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether they helped pack and deliver urgent family food boxes, provided much needed sanitation supplies, educated their communities on COVID-19 safety, or provided education and food support for children out of school - they have made an incredible difference for children facing hunger due to the pandemic, and are helping them toward a food-secure future. We cannot thank them enough.
We can all be World Food Day Champions to end child hunger
As we celebrate our champions, we know that they are joined by thousands of others who are committed to ending child hunger, including many everyday Canadians. While the causes of child hunger are complex, change is possible.
You can be part of this change, and no action you take will be too small. Educating yourself on how the pandemic is affecting child hunger is a great start. Individual Canadians can also advocate for change at the municipal, provincial and federal levels by speaking up for greater investments in food security initiatives around the world.
You can help feed children by supporting initiatives like school food programs, climate-smart agriculture, and women’s livelihoods - all of which provide more food and income for children and families in Canada and around the world. When we all come together, we can be champions to end child hunger. Happy World Food Day!