On Wednesday 23 January, Somerset House in Central London played host to hundreds of people demanding that UK Prime Minister David Cameron urging the leaders of the G8 nations to take action to end global hunger. The launch of the ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’ Campaign saw a huge projection on its walls urging people to sign up to a petition demanding the G8 take action around the issues of taxation, investment, land and transparency.
The projection, similar to the one displayed on Buckingham Palace at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, made the case for helping those who cannot afford to eat from the centre of one of the richest cities in the world.
The Salvation Army is one of more than 100 agencies working together on this joint campaign to end global hunger.
At the launch event, hundreds gathered in the courtyard of the former Inland Revenue Headquarters, where Lauren Laverne led a series of speakers from Bonnie Wright of ‘Harry Potter’ fame to Senegalese singer and guitarist Baaba Maal in setting out the case for a fairer distribution of land, tax, and food.
The bright lights from the projection were matched only by the flashes from photographers jockeying to get a picture of Bill Nighy. Defiantly stood with pen raised, the ‘Love Actually’ star had just signed a giant inflatable IF sign to officially begin the campaign.
Every night one billion people go to bed hungry and two million children die every year from malnutrition. More people die from starvation than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. The world produces enough food for everyone, but not everyone has enough food to eat.
The IF Campaign aims to make 2013 the beginning of the end for the global hunger crisis. Together, the goal is to ensure that Leaders of G8 Nations:
- Stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and begin growing crops to feed people, not fuel cars.
- Encourage government and big companies to be honest and open about some of the things that stop people getting enough food.
- Give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger and helping the poorest families get enough food.
- Stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries.
Helping the hungry has always been in the remit of The Salvation Army. Co-founder William Booth wrote in his seminal book In Darkest England and the Way Out of a homeless man who had gone without food for five days. Booth questioned: “Who that has experienced the sinking sensation that is felt when even a single meal has been sacrificed may form some idea of what kind of slow torture killed that man!” As an empathetic organisation, The Salvation Army has no choice but to try and form that idea, to understand the pain of the hungry, in an attempt to help those around the world who are unable to feed themselves.
Carl Jobson from The Salvation Army's International Development department says: "From the early declarations of 'soup, soap and then salvation' to our work supporting small scale farmers to tackle their own hunger today, ensuring those who might struggle to have enough to eat has always been a part of The Salvation Army’s mission. But part of that fight means creating fairer conditions which enable them to feed themselves. We urge our supporters to add their name to those who think G8 leaders have a duty to ensure everyone in our world has enough food."