News / Africa

World Food Prize Laureate Encouraged by Gains Against Hunger, Poverty

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

The winner of the 2010 World Food Prize says eradicating hunger is within reach.  The comment came as the United Nations prepares to hold its summit next week (9/20-22) on the Millennium Development Goals.

Rev. David Beckmann says he’s encouraged by efforts to achieve the MDGs – especially the first goal, to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger.

“I take a lot of encouragement from the fact that the world’s been making some progress against hunger, poverty and disease.  (We’re) almost surely not going to hit all the Millennium Development Goals in all the countries of the world.  But we have seen remarkable progress against hunger and poverty,” he says.

Beckmann, who’s president of Bread for the World, says a lot of progress can be seen in sub-Saharan Africa.

“There are 30 million more kids in school than 10 years ago.  Although the rate of hunger is still way too high in Africa, about half the countries in Africa in fact have made really significant progress against poverty over the last 10 years or so,” he says.

Get involved

But he says to eradicate hunger and poverty requires everyone’s participation, starting with world leaders at the U.N. summit.

“It takes political commitment.  So it’s good to get all these heads of government to come together in New York because it makes them focus on poor people.  The people who run governments have a lot of other pressures and they usually don’t focus on poor people.  So, it’s good for them, but it’s also good for us because it makes you and me talk and your listeners listen and think about what can happen to reduce poverty, hunger, disease.  Because I think a lot of the action really is in our hands,” he says.

David Beckmann, Bread for the World
David Beckmann, Bread for the World

The U.N. summit will also be used to launch a global campaign to end childhood hunger and malnutrition.  Some are calling it the thousand day campaign.  Beckman says recent studies have shown the importance of good nutrition at a very early age.

“The most important lesson from all these studies is…that to have a high impact you’ve got to focus on babies and pregnant women.  So the thousand days between conception and age two.  That’s the highest impact time to make sure that a child has good food, enough food, good nutrition.  If we miss that window, the child’s health and intellectual capacity will be less for the rest of his or her life,” he says.

Not just a job

For Beckman, the effort to eradicate hunger and poverty is a spiritual one.

“I’m a preacher, a Christian preacher.  So, when I see the fact that hundreds of millions of people have escaped from poverty, I think this is God moving in our time,” he says, adding, “It’s something that we can do that God wants to have happen that, you know, kids ought to have enough to eat.  Every kid in the world ought to have enough to eat.  That’s actually within reach now over the next couple of decades.”

He says having enough food is a basic human right.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs