Our Actions, our Future: Call to Combat Poverty and Food Insecurity
16 October 2020, World Food Day: On 16 October every year the world marks the World Food Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness on the issues behind poverty and food security such as; hunger, obesity, environmental degradation, loss of agro-biological diversity, food loss and waste and a lack of security for food chain workers among others. This year’s celebrations are happening under the theme “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together” with a call for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the COVID-19 health crisis, and to make food systems more resilient and robust so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks, deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and decent livelihoods for food system workers.
As food is the essence of life and the bedrock of our cultures and communities, preserving access to safe and nutritious food is and will continue to be an essential part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for poor and vulnerable communities, who are hit hardest by the pandemic and resulting economic shocks.
Scouts in Africa have for many years contributed efforts to boost food security for their families and communities. Particularly through the Food for Life (FFL) project, thousands of young people have been supported to develop agricultural and entrepreneurial skills to enhance their capacities to play a key role in poverty alleviation by tackling the perennial food crisis in many countries.
Currently having been implemented in at least 13 countries in sub Saharan Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Uganda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania and Togo), the Food for Life project is empowering communities to produce enough food for their families within the changing climatic conditions and scarce resources such as land, water, among others.
As testified by the mother to Judicael̈ Toe,́ a Scout from Burkina Faso, the project’s impact has been far reaching: “My son started the home garden quietly during the dry season, which is usually not a good time for gardening due to the heat and lack of water. At first, I was worried about the water bills as the garden needed to be watered regularly, but he insisted, and we allowed him to do it. After a while there was an abundance of leaves growing, and I started to pick and cook them on a regular basis. When I saw the impact of the project, I really started to appreciate the objective of the project. We agreed to extend the garden. Now since we have the garden, I no longer need to spend much money on meals. There is no need for me to go to the market every day anymore as the garden now supplies the essentials for our meals. I believe this project is very educative for the young people and should be available to all youth in Burkina Faso.”
As we commemorate World Food Day, we call upon Scouts and all young people to realize that tackling global food security starts at the family level, and that they can play a big role in promoting sustainable agriculture, in both rural and urban areas.
If you are looking for ideas on what you can do, check out these leads:
- Food For Life Project resources to assist you implement the project at home, school or with you Scout group: scout.org/node/61321 and read stories of what other Scouts are doing at: scout.org/foodforlife
- Explore the ScoutsForSDGs Hub for ideas and resources on what you can do to address goals on no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing and to promote responsible consumption and production among others: sdgs.scout.org
- Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) list of everyday actions to become a food hero and make healthy food and sustainable habits a part of your lifestyle: fao.org/world-food-day/take-action/en
As part of the celebratory activities we also invite you to join the World Food Day event that we’re hosting in collaboration with i4Nature and other partners which will be broadcast on Facebook Live on facebook.com/youthworldfoodday. For more details on the programme please visit youthworldfoodday.com.
Additionally, on 17 October 2020 at 1500hrs (GMT+3) we’ll also be hosting a Food Chain Challenge webinar in partnership with i4Nature as part of the JOTA-JOTI 2020 event. Go to jotajoti.info to register and check out the programme at jotajoti.info/programme under the Knowledge Hub section.