News / Africa

World Food Prize Laureate Encouraged by Gains Against Hunger, Poverty


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

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs