Renowned South African singer Miriam Makeba, an Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), joined the United Nations agency today in its effort to bring new fishing boats and nets to Mozambican fisherfolk whose livelihoods were devastated by last year's cyclone and flooding.
The first of 290 boats and canoes built in shipyards throughout the country were distributed to fishing communities, in the final stage of an FAO rehabilitation project for Inhambane, Sofala and Gaza Provinces, the UN food agency said in a statement issued in Maputo.
"We are here today to try and give them something back from all that was taken by the cyclone and floods," Ms. Makeba said at a ceremony in Inhambane, 200 km north of the capital.
An active supporter of FAO's campaign against world hunger since her appointment as FAO Ambassador in 1999, Ms. Makeba said that the rehabilitation project, which is financed by the Italian Government, would enable more than 2,000 beneficiaries "to work and put food on the tables of their families."
During her stay in Mozambique, Ms. Makeba will be visiting other FAO rehabilitation projects, including a group of women's farming cooperatives on the outskirts of the capital, which received vegetable seeds and farming tools after floods destroyed their crops and belongings.
Ms. Makeba is one of six FAO Ambassadors, together with singers Dee Dee Bridgewater and Youssou N'Dour, actresses Gina Lollobrigida and Gong Li, and Nobel Prize winner Rita Levi Montalcini.
The main purpose of the FAO Ambassador Programme is to attract public and media attention to the unacceptable situation that more than 800 million people continue to suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition in a time of unprecedented plenty.