I have been meaning to write this blog post for a few days now since seeing a post on Mummy from the Heart's blog about the #IF campaign.
This was not like the zillion other topics that pop into my mind to do a blog post on and then I never quite get around to it. This was one of those that I HAD to do.
In a nutshell, #IF is about raising awareness that there is enough food in the world for everyone, based on four IFs. With the G8 summit being held in the UK this year, we can all do our part to put pressure on governments and world leaders to make those IF's happen.
All I am asking you to do, is visit the IF page and add your voice - I've just added mine and it took about 2 seconds. It is not often that I plead with you to do anything. I generally don't ask for likes, shares, comments or anything like that on my blog posts - but this one thing I plead you to do right now and then pop back here and read the rest to find out why.
Have you done that? Thanks. If not, please pop over and do it now.
I'm not going to go into detail about the four IF's as you can read everything on the webpage and the pages of other organisations that are supporting it for example, ONE and Save the Children. I know I am probably supposed to list various bits of information and give certain details but in my usual 'totally useless with anything technological' style I didn't manage to successfully download the bloggers media kit with the info about writing a blog post on this, so you will just have to put up with me doing it my own way.
For anyone that doesn't know, I am totally and utterly useless with anything to do with maths or statistics. I just have to see a number and I panic! So whenever I used to hear any facts about the number of people living in poverty around the world, or dying from aids, or suffering with malnutrition, my brain just kind of switched off to the numbers. These numbers are often so high that it is just hard to comprehend what that many people is like. Coupled with the feeling of helplessness of not feeling able to do enough to make any significant difference, it just often ends up being easier to switch off and try not to 'absorb' any of it.
Well several years ago, I heard the statistic that 30,000 children under the age of five DIE each and EVERY day around the world from preventable causes - many of them from hunger. (I know that sometimes there are some variations between the statistics that different charities publish and that the statistics change from year to year and sometimes are estimates as they are sometimes dealing with issues that try to remain undectected like child traffiking into the sex trade.)
Well I decided I wanted to know what this number looked like. I didn't want to ignore it, I wanted to understand it. My belief is that once people actually realise just what is going on out there, they will want to do something about it. I just think that for many people, the numbers just seem overwhelming and often meaningless when they are not given a context to understand it.
So I found out that in the town where I live, there is a population of 30,000. So the number of children that were dying each day was the same as the number of people living in my town. So the scale of death that was happening around the world in JUST ONE DAY would be like me waking up to find everyone in the town where I live gone.
When I thought of it like that it just shocked me to the core. Would we here in the UK accept that scale of tragedy if it was happening here in the same way that we accept it when it is happening to others and not affecting us directly?
I think you will agree with me when I say the answer is NO. We would not accept it if it was happening to our children, our friends' children, our neighbours children. So why is it so easy for all these people dying from hunger each and every day to remain invisible to the world?
Perhaps it is because they are the people who don't have a voice of their own. Why should the politicians care because they are not the people who are going to be voting for them in the next election? Why should the business leaders care because they are not the affluent market that they are targetting with their latest products?
But you and I do have a voice. Whether it is in our own little corner of the internet with our blogs, whether it is with our facebook friends, or twitter followers, whether it is with other mums and dads in the playground, whether it is with our work colleagues, we do have a voice. So as well as adding your voice to the #IF campaign to make your voice heard by world leaders, remember to tell others too so they hear your voice and they can add their voice.
Don't forget your own children. Make sure they understand the basics and know what's right and wrong. If we can't end it in our generation, then let's make our children grow up to be the decision makers, leaders and politicians of the future who WILL do it.
Thankfully the number of children dying from hunger seems to be reducing, it is now said to be over 2 million a year. A few years ago this figure was well above 3 million. So it can be done - the situation can be improved. But 2 million? That is still too many children to lose every year from something SO preventable as hunger when there is enough food in the world...IF.