Monday, October 25, 2010

'Fight against hunger' to begin in Dubai

Here is a report on World Food Program I wrote for my newspaper today: Sorry about the length.

By R. Ramesh

The Gulf Today, 25 Oct 2010

DUBAI will be the launch pad for a GCC-wide fund-raising campaign against global hunger to be launched from Nov.1 by the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Stating this in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today, WFP’s Regional Director Dr Daly Belgasmi cautioned that the fund situation for projects to fight hunger world-wide was alarming.

“This is where generous countries like the UAE offer hope,” he said.

Started as a temporary contingency base for Central Asia humanitarian emergency in 2001, the Dubai centre is now a bustling logistic hub for the agency.

A new spectrum of food crisis looms with over a billion going to bed hungry every night worldwide. While the budget earmarked for 2010 was $6.7 billion, the WFP could receive only half the amount so far.

The WFP says that the global food aid deliveries of 5.7 million tonnes in 2009 were the lowest since 1961; programme food aid declined by 25 per cent, emergency food aid by 12 per cent and project food aid by six per cent.

“The prices of commodities such as wheat have shot up. Russia’s decision to ban export of wheat till 2011-end because of drought has also compounded the problem,” Belgasmy noted.

The situation forced the WFP to cut rations, thereby affecting calorie intake of the beneficiaries. In the occupied Palestinian territories, for example, the calorie levels were below the minimum prescribed, falling from 2,100 to 700.

According to Belgasmi, the ‘Fight Against Hunger’ campaign is being launched in the UAE in partnership with various industry leaders.

Each partner is expected to provide unique “interactive” and “relationship” marketing expertise to generate cash for the programme.

“In line with WFP’s strategic objectives for the Middle East region to raise both awareness for WFP’s humanitarian activities and developmental initiatives, as well as local funds, we will be launching mass fund-raising campaigns throughout the year,” stated Belgasmy.

“It’s a mix between a consumer marketing initiative and a B2B proposal as part of Corporate Social Responsibility,” explained Ashraf Hamouda, senior partnership and business development Manager, WFP.

“The aim is to reach the maximum number of the general public, criss-crossing the population wherever they exist, hitting two birds with one stone, branding as well as reach,” he added.

The WFP argues that 3Fs — fuel, finance and food crisis — have hit the poor worst.

“Due to this, the calorie intake is less, malnutrition high and the most vulnerable are children and pregnant women,” Belgasmy noted.

Most WFP activities in the UAE are actively supported and partnered by the Red Crescent Authority (RCA).

Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the UAE RCA, had earlier stated that the initiatives adopted by the UAE aim at securing food to those who need it and provide all means of living to millions of peoples who experience severe hunger and its tragic consequences.

Hailing UAE’s role in fighting hunger, Belgasmy said that the RCA’s constructive partnerships with WFP had made remarkable difference in the standard of services to victims of poverty and hunger worldwide.

The WFP and RCA officials insist that the current humanitarian challenges require broader international cooperation and activation of partnership among international community institutions and organisations and active forces to deliver food, which is a basic right to every individual.


  1. Ramesh,

    That is an excellent interview. Glad you posted it here.

    Part of the reason, there is deficit is that there are many more Non Profit organization that are raising funds. And perception with donors is that donating to smaller organizaiton is better as the money or value for money is likely to reach to needy. Donors are looking for low management cost to handled the donated money and with smaller organizatio management cost is low.

    This is a good post Ramesh. Really appreciate it posting it here.

  2. wonderful post. so many children die of malnutrition each year while so much food is wasted each day...

  3. Hey Hi. Sorry for the long break.

    Your blog looks new.

    About the Post: Nice initiative. However, I don't know what to say, I just hope that the program achieves thrice the amount of success than it aims for.

  4. Excellent article. We have the highest number of malnourished children in India. I think the mid-day meal is a good initiative, but the implementation is not so wonderful.

  5. Fantastic article. Glad you shared it with us.

  6. Great step - i wish it huge success!Thanks for sharing this excellent article .

  7. thanks for sharing.
    well written

  8. Very nice interview Ramesh! Although its alarming to see the rise in numbers! Very nice initiative from your side!

  9. We still have the largest number of hungry children in India.I wish, an international campaign is started world wide.

  10. I hate to see food wasted and am truly shocked by the amounts we throw away here in England. A fascinating report, thanks for sharing it.

  11. Ramesh, A good article. Kudos to you.
    When Goverment of India had announced the Right to Food act I had written a post on 'There will be food for everybody'. How many are getting the food God only knows.

  12. This is how you express ur professional side , rite?

  13. good one dost!! may this venture feed the hungry..even if it feeds one hungry person, the Lord creator will be happy.

  14. Is there any way I can help? I am yet to read the original article. So you write for Gulf Today?

  15. Ah...where to start...excellent interview!

  16. Dear Colleague,

    I am publishing a book titled "Global food security" and I would like to have your permission to use the above picture for the book cover. If it is possible, please send me a message: Acknowledgements can be mentioned on the cover.

    Best wishes
    Dr. Mohamed BEHNASSI
    Prof. of Global Sustainability Politics
    Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences,
    Ibn Zohr University of Agadir (Morocco)
    Head of North-South Centre for Social Sciences-NRCS

  17. Dear R. Rasmesh,

    I am a last year student, with a project of developping an e-learning module about food safety and quality, is it possible to use the photo you publishe on it?

    Also do you have an e-mail or phone number if you want me to explain you with details?

    thank you!!