Cesária Évora, one of Africa's greatest singers, who for years has refused to associate her name with any humanitarian agency, was today named a United Nations ambassador to fight hunger through school feeding programmes, particularly on her own continent where 40 million people need life-saving emergency food aid.
"It is a great privilege to have Cesária Évora joining us," the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), James T. Morris, who is currently in Portugal, said of Ms. Évora’s appointment as WFP Ambassador against hunger and in favour of school feeding.. "We believe that her voice will be a great contribution to our efforts to eliminate hunger from the face of the earth."
Every day nearly 24,000 people die of hunger or hunger-related causes and Africa is a top priority for WFP, which provides food assistance to more than 72 million people in 82 countries a year, mostly women and children. In Africa the food situation is exacerbated by armed conflicts, natural disasters and extreme poverty.
Ms. Évora accepted her new role with WFP given the impact of the agency's School Feeding Programme in her home country, Cape Verde, the agency said in a news release.
"I saw with my own eyes how food attracted children to school," she said. "We need to educate our children if we want our continent to prosper, but they can't learn if they go to school hungry."
WFP’s School Feeding Programme provides a hot and nutritious meal to more than 15.6 million children in 62 countries, making the agency the biggest organizer of school feeding programmes in the developing world. In Cape Verde, more than 100,000 pupils receive a WFP meal during the school day on every single island, in every district.