THE BLOG

Young People Need to End World Hunger But We Have to Work Together

20/06/2014 10:44 BST | Updated 20/08/2014 10:59 BST

People tend to think of us as the future generation, but why can't we be the NOW generation, and be a key part of solving hunger, and making sure everyone has safe water, ourselves?

So this week, I helped launch the Humanitarian Water and Food Award (WAF) Youth Awards in London. It includes a series of Skype in the Classroom lessons that I will offer to their 84,000 teachers and their classrooms worldwide, talking to other kids about hunger and dangerous drinking water, and how they can help solve it.

I know how much of a problem access to food and water can be because last year I went to Malawi and I met a boy about my age called Mapangano. I learned that he was one of the 1-in-8 people around the world who go to bed hungry every day (around 1 billion people), despite there being more than enough food to feed everyone.

I find it hard to believe that today around half the food we produce is thrown away, while people like Mapangano are hungry. I think this is unfair and we need to solve this. Young people have the ambition, creativity and energy to find a solution but we need to talk and we need to work together.

That is why we have launched the WAF Youth Awards, with the lessons on Skype in the Classroom.

Once young people know about the scale of the problem and that it can be fixed, then I really think they will want to fix it, once and for all. It's ironic that, in a way, we already know what to do to solve hunger and lack of safe water; that's obvious when you see the incredible initiatives that made the WAF Award final this year. Our problem is that we aren't DOING these things on enough scale.

I think our problem, very simply, is that there isn't enough CARE in the world. I like to think of the four letters of care as standing for Commitment, Awareness, Responsibility, and Empathy. If we had enough of those things, we would do what needs to be done. So that's why we decided to focus the new Youth award on rewarding kids who create more care in the world.

Adults often don't really understand how we kids think, and we need to do this in a way which will really excite and engage kids. So, we're using the kinds of things we kids love - animation and gamification - in something we're calling the "Liberation Campaign". Kids will get Energy Points for the time they spend on it, and Impact Points for the difference they make. The individuals and teams with the most points will get to go to Milan for the WAF Youth Awards in 2015 which will be part of the World Expo. It will be an incredible experience!

You might be wondering why it's called the Liberation Campaign! Well, if you think about it, what is standing in the way of us feeding the world are certain enemies - apathy, ignorance, stinginess, defeatism, cynicism; and what we need to defeat these enemies are powers like commitment, generosity, optimism, awareness, and empathy. So what we need to do is liberate the world from these enemies, using our powers!

I launched the Liberation Campaign and its prize - the WAF Youth Awards - today in front of more than 500 people at Central Hall in London, and tens of thousands on the internet via the UN. Over the coming months we will speak to thousands of kids through Skype in the Classroom and other projects.

Imagine we can get a whole generation of kids involved in this, battling the enemies that stand in the way of us feeding the world! For people who say that that's not possible, I say that once upon a time, lots of people thought we could never get men to the moon and back again safely.

I really think we can make the world a better place where people like Mapangano don't have to go to bed hungry anymore.

11-year-old Ayrton Cable is a social activist and the founder of Humanitarian Water and Food (WAF) Youth Award. This Award merges with his "World Food Challenge", which Ayrton launched on International School Meals Day and WE Day London at Wembley in front of 12,000 young people. He is also the grandson of MP Vince Cable