West Country Campaigners attend World Hunger Rally in London
CAFOD campaigners from Cornwall and Devon were among a massive 45,000 strong crowd who made their voices heard last Saturday at the Big IF London rally to demand Prime Minister David Cameron and G8 leaders tackle global hunger. The rally at Hyde Park took place as the Prime Minister prepares to host eight of the most powerful nations in the world at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland.
Waving banners and singing they were among thousands from across the UK who came together for the family day out to campaign against hunger and show their support for the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign, which is calling on David Cameron to use the UK’s G8 presidency in 2013 to prioritise the issue of hunger.
They listened to inspiring speeches from high profile supporters of IF, including Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, film director Danny Boyle and CAFOD ambassador actor David Harewood.
Janice Lyons, a retired teacher from Devonport, travelled five and a half hours to create a huge visual petition of 250,000 spinning flowers, with a total of two million petals representing the two million children who die because of hunger each year – lives that can be saved if world leaders take action at the G8.
Janice said: ‘Because I support CAFOD, my conscience in such that I have to do my little something to end poverty. I wanted to put pressure on the G8 leaders and to tell them to take hunger seriously and not to shrug it off.’
Mary Marnell from Saltash, Cornwall who also joined the group who travelled up to the Big IF G8 Rally said: ‘It was important to be here today so as to be heard, and to show people around the world that we care about them. Everyone has the right to have enough food. My message to the G8 is that they should do something about it whilst they can!’
CAFOD’s manager for the South West Simon Giarchi said: “It truly was an inspiration to join the two coach loads of 80 campaigners from Cornwall and Devon on our campaign pilgrimage to the Big FI Rally.
Our fantastic supporters took the messages of hope from south west to London where we all raised our voices alongside thousands fellow campaigners from across the country to call for determined action to end global hunger for the 870 million people affected.
The action on 8 June was a turning point in tackling malnutrition, the biggest killer of children worldwide. David Cameron and his fellow leaders heard us loud and clear that in this day and age children should not be dying because of hunger. There is enough food for everyone and politicians can and must act to end the scandal of global hunger.”
At the Hunger Summit dubbed the “Nutrition for Growth” event chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron the UK alongside other rich countries pledged £2.7 billion to tackle malnutrition between now and 2020.
However, commitments on agriculture were disappointing. According to the UN, support to small farmers provides the single biggest opportunity to reduce hunger, poverty and increase productivity. The 8 June was another missed opportunity to invest in those who feed a third of the world’s population.
Our Hungry for Change campaign will continue into 2014, hoping to secure investment in small-scale farmers.