Tackling the tragedy of hunger in a world of abundance, the Churches’ Week of Action on Food (11-18 October) is an opportunity for Christians, communities and all people around the world to act together for food justice.
The Churches’ Week of Action on Food is an annual initiative of the Food for Life Campaign of the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA) to raise awareness about farming approaches and sustainable agricultural practices that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty.
About 800 million people, just over one in nine globally, are chronically undernourished. In Sub-Saharan Africa, that number rises to one in four. While slow progress has been made in some regions, it is unacceptable that chronic hunger still affects so many when there is more with enough food for all in the world today. Combining the realities of hunger with the unhealthy consequences facing over 1.4 billion overweight or obese adults, action at individual, community, national and international levels is required.
Dr Manoj Kurian, WCC-EAA’s coordinator, highlights that ending hunger is the second goal recently established in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. “Faith communities must be at the heart of this concerted, global effort. Our faith and our foundational values dictate that everyone has a fundamental right to be free from hunger and under-nutrition. All of us can examine our food choices and call for policy changes that will ensure the right to food for everyone.”
The week includes World Food Day (October 16) as well as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (13 October), International Day for Rural Women (October 15) and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17). In addition, 2015 is the International Year of Soils, and World Food Day 2015 focuses on Social Protection and Agriculture.
Some of the actions being planned by participating organizations in the Food for Life Campaign include:
- March in El Salvador for World Food Day, combined with speaking with local church leaders, food justice and environmental activities, as well as local farmers advocating for laws and systems that put the land and people first, organized by the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
- Consultation and advocacy related to the challenges of India’s new Food Security Law by the Indian Franciscan Association and the Congregation of Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany.
- Inspiring God’s people to “Pray. Give. Advocate.” through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s “From Hope to Harvest” resources.
- Campaign activities taking place in West Africa through the Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches.
- Raising awareness of the need for a hunger-free world through donating the cost of a favourite meal to help young people in Kenya and South Sudan through World Vision.
Asking “Is nutrition becoming part of business rather than a human right?”, the 2015 Right to Food and Nutrition Watch will also be launched at the FAO headquarters in in Rome on 9 October in advance of the week of action. The Watch is an annual publication that monitors key policies, processes and issues related to the right to adequate food and nutrition at the global, regional, national and local level. The WCC-EAA is part of a consortium of 22 civil society organizations and social movements that produce the Watch.
More information and resources for the Churches’ Week of Action on Food – including an action guide and suggested liturgy – are available at: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/churches-week-of-action-on-food
Statistics from the State of Food Insecurity in the World, FAO 2015, World Food Programme and World Health Organization.
The Food for Life Campaign of the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance aims to eradicate hunger, promote adequate nutrition and strive towards just and sustainable food systems. The Campaign places particular emphasis on sustainable agricultural practices and the situation of smallholder producers and their access to and control over natural resources such as land, water and seeds.
The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, an ecumenical initiative of the World Council of Churches, is a global network of churches and related organizations committed to campaigning together on common concerns for justice and human dignity. Current campaign issues are: HIV and AIDS, food security and sustainable agriculture.