Feeding minds, fighting hunger: the ABCs of food security



Illustration by Chiara Caproni

 

In schools around the world this week, children will find new teachers at the head of the classroom: government ministers, prominent United Nations officials and celebrities from various walks of life will be talking to children about world hunger, food security and nutrition. This global teach-in, coinciding with World Food Day, is the beginning of a new educational initiative called "Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger".

"To create a world free from hunger, the adults of the world must act today," says William Clay, Chief of FAO's Nutrition Programmes Service, which is backing the initiative together with an international coalition of partners. "But if we can help children become aware of the problems of hunger and malnutrition, they can act as well -- both today and tomorrow. Filling stomachs is essential in the fight against hunger, but feeding minds with hope and enthusiasm is an important first step."

Targeting students and teachers, Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger will address:

  • What are hunger and malnutrition and who are the hungry?
  • Why are people hungry and malnourished?
  • What can we do to help end hunger?

Illustration by Chiara Caproni

 

A set of teaching materials has been developed -- nine lessons so far, three each for primary, intermediate and secondary level classes. The materials are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Italian and Spanish on CD-ROM and via the Internet (www.feedingminds.org), and in print (English only).

Each lesson contains background information for the teacher and outlines the main objectives, concepts and content areas to be covered. A variety of activities and discussion points are provided.

"The materials have been created in a flexible way so teachers around the world can adapt the courses to fit their students and the local conditions," says Mr Clay. Teachers and students are encouraged to insert comments about the material on the Web site and to offer suggestions to develop it further. "We want to use the Internet for an exchange of experiences, ideas and solutions. For example, Italian children can learn from students in Uganda and then pass their ideas and comments on to children in other parts of the world."

Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger resulted from a unique collaborative process involving several United Nations organizations, NGOs, media and associations. "Eight hundred million people are hungry in the world today," says Mr Clay. "We have the means to end the problem, but all too often we lack the will and commitment to do so. But the great support behind Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger may be an indicator that there is a growing political will to act. And with our approach, the children of today may be the ones to make a change tomorrow."

12 October 2001

To access the teaching materials or to obtain more information about Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger and the partners behind the initiative, go to www.feedingminds.org or write to fmfh@fao.org.

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