The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) appointed Jessica Watson of Australia, the youngest person to sail alone non-stop around the world, as the agency’s Youth Representative in support of the global fight against hunger.
Eighteen-year-old Ms. Watson, who completed the non-stop voyage around the world last year in her yacht Ella’s Pink Lady, joins a growing group of celebrities, sportspersons and statesmen worldwide who are promoting WFP’s work and giving a voice to the hungry.
She will focus on child hunger and inspire both new generations and opinion makers as she raises awareness and funds for WFP’s school feeding programmes.
“It’s a real honour to be working with WFP and to join the fight against child hunger,” said Ms. Watson. “Children cannot learn on an empty stomach and by providing nutritious daily meals, WFP is helping to build a better future for children, their families and their communities as they struggle to escape from hunger,” she said.
WFP provides school meals to an average of 22 million children each year in around 60 countries. School meals play a vital role in breaking the hunger-poverty cycle.
Poor households must often choose between sending children to school or to work in fields, streets, factories or sweatshops. WFP’s school meal programmes encourage parents to keep their children in school by providing food and sometimes take-home rations that help to feed the child’s family as well.
“We are delighted to have Jessica on board. Her desire to make a difference to children’s lives, coupled with her boundless energy, will be a real asset,” said Amir Abdulla, the WFP Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, who is visiting the Australian capital, Canberra, this week.
“Jessica Watson is already inspiring young people in Australia and beyond and her leadership will ensure the voices of hungry school children are heard,” he added.
In her role as Youth Representative, Jessica will help introduce a new generation to WFP’s work by using social media and online tools, including the agency’s innovative fundraising and engagement platform, WeFeedback, which harnesses the power of social networking to raise money for school meal programmes.