, LONDON, Jul 20 – Former Ghanaian president, John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, has been named a Global Ambassador against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).
He joins an elite team of celebrities, sportsmen and statesmen in stepping forward to advocate on behalf of the world’s poorest and hungriest people.
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said that with the number of hungry people in the world expected to top one billion this year, John Kufuor is bringing WFP critical support at a crucial juncture.
She added that Ambassador Kufuor would emphasise the need to provide good nutrition for children in school.
"John Kufuor not only talks the talk, but walks the walk," Sheeran said. "Ghana is a leader in nourishing its children and Ambassador Kufuor can be a leader in getting others to follow his good work."
With renewed attention focused on the issue of global food security, John Kufuor will also help to underline the importance of fighting hunger on several fronts – by investing in long-term agricultural development, but also by funding WFP’s work in tackling urgent hunger needs and helping the hungry poor to access affordable and nutritious food.
"Ensuring that every child has proper nutrition has to be the goal of every world leader," John Kufuor said. "I hope to inspire them all to strive for this goal."
WFP Ambassadors against Hunger demonstrate commitment to the global fight against hunger. They reach out to world leaders as well as the general public, using their talent, skills and public persona to generate awareness and support for WFP.
John Kufuor joins a powerful team of WFP ambassadors including sporting legends such as the marathon runner, Paul Tergat and the footballer, Kakà; former U.S. Senator, George McGovern, and the actress, Drew Barrymore.
Key facts about WFP School Meal programmes:
– 66 million children go to school hungry each day – This is largely due to an increase in overall global school enrollment, and the food and financial crises have increased the ranks of the food insecure/undernourished.
– Approximately 70 per cent of the 66 million are concentrated in ten countries (India, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Philippines).
– WFP calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school age children. US$1.1 billion would allow WFP to reach the 22 million children in Africa.
– Every year WFP feeds more than 20 million children in school meal programmes in some 70 countries. In 2008, WFP fed a record 23 million children.
– Over the past 45 years, 42 countries have taken over the responsibility from WFP for school meal programmes.