By Vatican News staff writer
Notwithstanding amazing development in so many sectors of society, hunger is still a stark and dramatic reality for 26.4 % of the world’s population.
To raise awareness and help develop new, sustainable models of food production and distribution, the World Council of Churches (WCC), is promoting the “Week of Action on Food” that culminates on World Food Day, which falls on 16 October this year.
The theme chosen for the World Day is “Grow, Nourish, Sustain Together”, and the WCC is providing resources through its global network to all who wish to take part.
It is offering online prayer services, podcasts featuring farmers and faith communities from different regions of the world, as well as messages from young people and from people with disabilities who will be sharing their views on how to achieve food sovereignty.
As we mark the “Week of Action on Food”, statistics tell us that two billion people are experiencing moderate or severe levels of food insecurity and that 10 months into the Covid-19 pandemic, access to food and livelihoods for people around the world has become increasingly difficult.
Analysts foresee the number of people facing acute food insecurity to nearly double as the pandemic impacts 60% of the world’s workforce – that’s 2 billion workers – who are in informal employment.
80% of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, where most do not have access to a social safety net.
It is also estimated that an additional 140 million people will be thrown into living in extreme poverty.
Heroic response of faith-based communities
Celine Osukwu, a member of the International Reference Group of WCC Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance and the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, points out that “People of faith, deeply rooted in their communities, are responding heroically to this crisis.”
“We have no excuses but to respond to this crisis together, sharing what we have, in faith, to ensure that all are fed, leaving nobody behind, and with no food being wasted,” he adds.
One important aspect of the WCC’s Food for Life Campaign focuses on the need to ensure that small farmers and indigenous peoples have access to seeds, land, water, resources and markets.
So, during the week, churches will be finding ways to encourage people to “get back to the basics” and promote agro-ecological food production that is local, diverse and has a minimal negative impact on the earth and people.
It’s a week, the WCC says, in which to “share resources in solidarity and care for each other, ensuring that all people are entitled to adequate, affordable and nutritious food.”