Yemen connects with the world on Hunger Walk Day [Archives:2007/1051/Front Page]

May 17 2007

Amel Al-Ariqi
SANA'A, May 15 – For the first time, Yemen participated on Sunday in the global event called, “Fight Hunger: Walk the World.”

“This walk to provide food for all is to end all signs of poverty in the world. It's taking place in more than 120 countries, among them Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Its main goal is to highlight the issues of poverty and infant mortality due to malnutrition and hunger,” explained Hisham Sharaf, Yemeni deputy minister of planning and international cooperation.

In Sana'a, the walk began at 4 p.m. at Sport City, organized by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) and its sponsor, Mobile Technology Network (MTN). First and foremost, the walk aimed to put a spotlight on child hunger.

An official at the WFP office in Sana'a mentioned that donations collected from the day will go to Yemen's School Feeding Program, which oversees more than 95,000 poor students, particularly schoolgirls, whose poverty prevents them from getting an education. The official gave no information about the amount the organization received that day.

“The WFP is very proud to have initiated this first-ever type of event. All funds raised by the walk will go to WFP's Global School Feeding Program, which provides free school meals to some 20 million children in developing countries,” noted Mohammed El-Kouhene, representative and country director of WFP.

Including the ambassadors of Morocco, Indonesia, Palestine and directors of U.N. agencies, more than 500 people joined the Sana'a event to show their support for children all over the world. According to U.N. statistics, more than 850 million people worldwide suffer from hunger; tragically, 400 million of them are children. “It is a global problem that needs an individual and collective solution,” elaborated El-Kouhene.

He praised the participation of private sector and civil society in the event, especially in the donations where thousands of dollars were collected for the sake of children. “We hope that next year will be a grander event and we are sure the community in Yemen will work further for the sake of children all around the world,” he commented on the preparation of the next walk in 2008.

Walk the World brings together all who care about child hunger from all across the world, including those suffering from hunger themselves: men, women and children displaced by conflicts and children who rely on outside help for their school meals.

Thousands of individuals worldwide walked together, beginning on Sunday and extending over a 24-hour period, in each of the globe's time zones to deliver the message that child hunger has no place in this world and citizens across the globe can put an end to it.

The walk began in New Zealand at 10 a.m. and then moved sequentially through towns, cities and capitals in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas as 120 countries organized and joined the global walk.