A year ago, almost to the day, I visited a refugee settlement on the Syria border, and it changed everything for me... Nothing prepared me for what I found a year ago. Instead of a population in need of aid, I found families outraged by the international silence surrounding the brutality of the conflict they had fled.
People around the world know that education is the key to a better life. Voters from over 190 countries who responded to the United Nations My World survey said providing a good education for all was the best way to build a better world. There's a huge gap between that goal and reality, however: 250million children are still being denied a chance to learn the basics.
The treatment of malnutrition has revolutionised over the last few years, with the development of Ready to-Use Therapeutic Foods meaning more children than ever can receive life-saving treatment at home, in the comfort of their own community. However, as I recently discovered when I visited West Pokot in Kenya, there are still a high number of malnourished children who are not yet accessing treatment.
Five days on a £1 per day allowance for food & drink. No meal gifts, no using what's already in the cupboards, just budgeting a fiver. This was not going to be easy. It would mean willpower, possible hunger, monotony and sacrifice of both luxury and well, a social life not to mention my beloved wine.
In the days leading up to G8 there have been a series of focused campaigns, initiatives and events designed to raise awareness of specific policy issues which will be up for discussion at the summit. World hunger is one such issue, around which an impressively broad and powerful campaign called Enough Food For Everyone IF has mobilised, calling hunger "the great scandal of our age."
Last night many senior representatives of NGOs and parliamentarians gathered in the House to debate food poverty, under the umbrella of Just Fair. Useful and important things were said. But the really powerful word came from several speakers, all women, who spoke about the reality of living in food poverty.
I've been working with Save the Children and have travelled to a few countries with them now including my mum's homeland, the Philippines. What I've seen there as well as elsewhere is why I'm writing this blog. It's the reason why when I look into my fridge, my cupboards or at my daughters' dinner plates, I remember the people I've met there. You see, I've seen real hunger. Here, when we say we're starving, we've usually missed a coffee break or are late on lunch. Over there, in the Philippines, Bangladesh and countless other countries, it's literally true and it's utterly devastating.