The United Nations food agency will join the Panasonic Toyota Racing Formula 1 drivers on the starting grid of the British Grand Prix on Sunday to raise awareness of the 66 million primary school-aged children worldwide who go hungry.
Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock will drive cars sporting the World Food Programme (WFP) “Fill the Cup” campaign logo for the rest of the 2009 season, starting at Silverstone on 21 June.
The WFP “Fill the Cup” initiative raises money for the agency’s school feeding programme, which provides daily meals to more than 20 million children in schools in 68 countries.
“Formula 1 provides a unique opportunity for the fight against global hunger to gain traction,” said Nancy Roman, WFP Director of Public Policy, Communications and Private Partnerships, adding that viewers will be encouraged to feed a hungry child.
This is the last time the Santander British Grand Prix will be held at Silverstone, the birthplace of the Formula 1 World Championship, and top British drivers Jenson Button – currently leading the championship – and last year’s winner Lewis Hamilton will go head-to-head, guaranteeing a huge audience for the race.
“This is a great opportunity to reach all motorsport fans, from the thousands who attend each Grand Prix to the many millions who watch the racing on TV,” said Panasonic Toyota team driver Jarno Trulli.
“It only costs 15 pence to give a hungry child a cup with porridge,” added Mr. Trulli. “We need as many people as possible to know they can contribute to find a solution to hunger.”
Recent studies have shown that in the wake of the global economic meltdown, and last year’s food and fuel price hikes, many families are already missing meals and cooking cheaper, less nutritious food. At the same time, WFP has voiced concern that the recession may lead governments to cut aid budgets for feeding programmes.
Earlier this year, WFP teamed up with the UK School Food Trust to launch The Really Good School Dinner campaign, raising around $18,000 for its school feeding programmes. More than 550 schools participated by pledging to empty their plate to fill the plate of a child in the developing world.
Meanwhile, Achim Steiner, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, highlighted the crucial role sports play in sustainable development, in an address to the Forum on Productive Youth Development through Sport in Africa.
Mr. Steiner used the success of the Beijing Olympics in not just meeting but exceeding the environmental standards outlined by the International Olympic Committee as an example of the role of sustainability in sports.
The Forum, a joint initiative of the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP) and the Jacobs Foundation, wrapped up its three-day gathering in Nairobi, Kenya today.