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My Journey to the G8

Posted: 18/06/2013 09:59

My journey to the G8 started back in May when I was chosen by Mumsnet to represent them as part of the IF@G8 bloggers project. At the time I felt both honoured and terrified; and as I sit in the Enniskillen media centre, surrounded by the world's press and feeling somewhat out of my depth, these are still my predominant emotions.

Going to the G8 is so far outside my comfort zone I might as well be travelling to the moon, but I'm doing it because the issues being tackled by the IF Campaign are so important, and very close to my heart.

There's enough food in the world for everyone and yet over 3million children die from malnutrition each year. This is unacceptable.

I have two small children. By pure accident of birth my children have the privilege of growing up in a family where they have more than enough of everything.

In 2008, when I was pregnant with my first child, I flew to Ethiopia for ActionAid to report on the food crisis there. This was where I saw firsthand the reality of hunger and the devastation it wreaks. I met mothers whose children were dying in front of their eyes because their crops had failed and there was nothing to eat. Babies suckled at their mothers' breasts but the milk had long since dried up. There was no social safety net, nothing to catch these women and children before they fell into the abyss. These women were experiencing every mother's worst nightmare: the inability to protect their children.

I can only imagine the horror of these women's lives. Can you begin to imagine watching your own child wasting away in front of you and being powerless to prevent it?

I believe that every one of the 3million children who died last year were as precious and deserving of a chance at life as my own two boys. That's why I'm here, as terrifying as it is, to tell the G8, on behalf of mothers everywhere, to step up and do something about the scandal of children dying in their millions from malnutrition.

We want them to do more to support women in developing countries to feed their families. Most small-scale farmers in developing countries are women and we want to see targeted aid to help them produce more food. We also want to see more funding made available to enable small farmers to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

We want the G8 to clamp down on tax dodgers. It is outrageous that developing countries lose more each year to tax dodging companies than they receive in aid. I've heard stories where small market traders in Ghana actually pay more tax each year than the big multinational company with a factory next door.

And we want them to push for greater transparency. We want governments and companies to be open and honest about their actions and how these impact on poor people. Better corporate and government transparency would, for example, help protect small-scale farmers from land grabs, which usually result in them losing their livelihoods with little or no compensation.

The clock is ticking - 8,500 children are dying from malnutrition every day. The G8 leaders have the power and the opportunity to do something about world hunger. The question is, will they do it?

 

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