UN agency photo competition shines spotlight on ‘family meal’ in achieving 'Zero Hunger'

23 February 2015

Scenes of families eating together in Burundi, Laos and the Philippines today won a photo competition judged by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver aimed at demonstrating “the simple yet powerful role provided by sitting together and eating as a family,” the World Food Programme (WFP) announced.

Speaking at the opening of the photo exhibition at the European Parliament in Brussels titled: The Family Meal – What brings us together?, WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin praised the photographers for highlighting the importance of food and nutrition in everyday life and the role families play in achieving Zero Hunger.

“These photographs inspire because they demonstrate the simple yet powerful role provided by sitting together and eating as a family in every country and all cultures around the world,” Ms. Cousin said.

“Not everyone in the world can share this opportunity – 805 million people don’t have enough nutritious food to live a healthy and productive life. For this reason WFP and our partners are working together with the EU [European Union] to end hunger and chronic malnutrition around the globe,” she said.

The exhibition and the competition are part of a campaign launched last year by WFP and funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). The aim is to raise awareness among Europe’s citizens about the food assistance WFP and the EU provide to vulnerable families around the world and to highlight the fact that hunger can be eliminated in our lifetime.

The competition’s three winners are Ari Vitikainen, for Khauchi Papa, a special meal in the highlands of Laos, Breech Asher Harani’s Candlelight Supper, from the Philippines, and Darine Ndihokubwayo, whose picture of street children in Burundi enjoying a Sunday meal received 175 online votes. The winners can be viewed at here.

In a statement made after he judged the competition Jamie Oliver said: “Ari’s colourful shot from Laos is a fantastic example of how important and fun it can be to prepare and share a meal with your loved ones. A family meal might seem like one of the most basic things in the world, but it's easy to forget that this isn't a given, and there are many people that struggle to do this. It's a big issue, and I hope this competition will help to raise awareness of that.”

The winner of the public vote, Darine Ndihokubwayo, sent in her response: “This nomination will go to all the orphan children in Burundi, who are not lucky enough to have a family to share their daily meal with.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. According to WFP, it assists annually some 80 million people in around 75 countries.

News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Agriculture must change, UN agency chief tells Paris summit, urging ‘paradigm shift’

The model of agricultural production that predominates today is not suitable for the new food security challenges of the 21st century and the need to be more sustainable, inclusive and resilient, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today.