TeleFood projects help the rural poor around the world

Some recipients of TeleFood funds in Honduras (above), Senegal (centre) and Turkey (below)

From Latvia to Zambia, from Mexico to the Cook Islands, small farmers, herders and artisanal fishers are receiving help to produce more and better food for their families and communities thanks to public donations collected by TeleFood, an annual global event launched in October 1997 by FAO. TeleFood, which runs this year from 16 to 18 October, is dedicated to raising public awareness of world hunger and mobilizing resources in support of a lasting solution to the problem.

More than US$2 million was collected during the first edition of TeleFood from donors around the world who wanted to contribute in some concrete way to the fight against hunger. Less than one year later, 136 projects financed by TeleFood funds are in place. There are 50 projects in 23 African countries, 33 in 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries, eight Asian countries host 17 projects, six Near East and North African countries have 16 projects, Europe has 13 projects in five countries and the South Pacific region is home to seven TeleFood projects in five island nations.

And the list of microprojects will continue to grow until every last dollar is spent. No funds will be diverted to administrative or other costs. Every dollar will go to providing practical support to the men, women and children benefiting from the TeleFood-funded projects.

"We are not giving people food, but the means to grow it for themselves, to achieve their own food security and become independent of aid," said Jacques Diouf, FAO's Director-General.

In Honduras, a diesel-driven water pump means better irrigation and expanded vegetable production. In Guinea, new ovens are improving the fish smoking process. Better planting practices are increasing potato yields in China. A women's group in Senegal is managing a new garden with improved irrigation technology. In Turkey, new sheep mean milk and cheese - and income - for rural villagers. These are only some of the ways TeleFood donations are being used to better the lives of those less fortunate who struggle daily to put food on the dinner table.

All TeleFood projects emphasize the need for self-sufficiency and many also support this year's World Food Day theme: "Women feed the world", which was selected to stress the important contributions women make to home and national food security.

To help publicize TeleFood and show donors how their money is being spent, FAO's Information Division has so far produced short videos on microprojects in Armenia, Honduras, Senegal, Guinea and China. The Division's TeleFood web site offers the latest information on TeleFood projects, celebrity supporters, global programming and more as soon as it becomes available.

9 September 1998

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