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Global 'teach-in,' backed by UN, aims to help children fight hunger

Global 'teach-in,' backed by UN, aims to help children fight hunger

An international coalition of partners is set to launch a week-long global education campaign in mid-October to encourage children and youth to get actively involved in creating a world free from hunger and malnutrition, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced today.

"Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger," to be held from 14 to 20 October is an initiative that provides model lesson plans and resource materials on hunger and malnutrition, and on what young people worldwide can do to help. The teach-in, which will take place in more than 30 countries, coincides with World Food Day on 16 October, the date of FAO's founding in 1945.

"We expect teachers around the world will adapt and refine the course materials to meet local needs and conditions," said an expert in FAO's Nutrition Division, Valeria Menza, who helped develop the initiative. "Eventually, lesson plans and activities from educators will be added to the current material so students can share their ideas on how to solve the problem of hunger and malnutrition."

The teaching materials are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Italian and Spanish via the Internet at The lessons are also available in some languages on CD-ROM and in print.

"This is an opportunity for children to learn that widespread hunger and malnutrition are not inevitable in today's world," Ms. Menza said. "We have the means to end these problems, but all too often we lack the will and commitment to do so."

According to FAO, there are some 800 million people in the world who don't have enough to eat to supply their basic energy needs. About 2 billion people cannot afford to eat the variety of foods necessary to meet their vitamin and mineral needs. Hunger and malnutrition prevent the normal growth and development of children and limit learning capacity and productivity of both children and adults. Widespread hunger and malnutrition can even constrain the social and economic development of whole communities and nations.