Dying from hunger in a world of more than enough

Last week saw the launch of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, which is something that I hope as many of us as possible from the Church will get involved in. I asked Chine Mbubaegbu, who was at the event, to write a guest post…

Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images ForIF, © 2013 Getty Images

Photo by Tim Whitby/Getty Images For
IF, © 2013 Getty Images

I was sure I had misheard.

Standing on stage in front of hundreds gathered at Somerset House last Wednesday evening, Love Actually star Bill Nighy said that two million children die a year because they don’t have enough food to eat.

Two million?

My mind couldn’t quite comprehend the figure.

Did he say two million?

That’s two million beautiful children who never grow up. Two million children whose short lives are made up of days filled with pangs of hunger. Two million children. Every year.

They die because they don’t have that most basic of human needs: food. And it’s not just children. Men and women are also literally dying of hunger.

But it’s not like there’s not enough food to go round. The Western world wastes so much food. The amount of food I must throw away would be enough to keep people alive. Which makes these statistics seem even more sickening.

We all remember being guilt tripped by our parents when we didn’t clear our plates as children. “Think about the poor children in Africa.”

And I recall thinking that me refusing to eat the peas (still, yuck) on my plate would have little impact on the “poor children”, so I’d rather not eat them thank you very much. It seemed like we couldn’t do anything about it anyway.

But now, the launch of the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, says that we can. The campaign is thought to be the biggest of its kind, with more than 100 development agencies and faith groups coming together to campaign for action on global hunger.

It challenges the prime minister to tackle four big IFs to help there to be enough food for everyone:

  • IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use the available agricultural land to grow food for people, not biofuels for cars.
  • IF governments keep their promises on aid, invest to stop children dying from malnutrition and help the poorest people feed themselves through investment in small farmers.
  • IF governments close loopholes to stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
  • IF we force governments and investors to be honest and open about the deals they make in the poorest countries that stop people getting enough food.

One by one, celebrities from all over the world (One Direction, Bill Gates, David Harewood and Edith off of Downton Abbey) took to the stage or appeared as if by magic on the video projection at Somerset House; each pleading with us to support the campaign.

Everyone loves a celebrity spot. And in the world we live in, getting celebrities on board means people will listen, you’ll get lots of media attention and probably more support for your campaign. It’s a shame the “two million children dying a year” statistic wasn’t enough to wake the world up to this injustice. It was enough for me.

Chine profileChine Mbubaegbu is Editor at the Evangelical Alliance,
including idea magazine and
 threads (voted best Christian blog at the Christian New Media Awards).