Why the Enough Food If rally tells us public support for international development is strong

Saturday’s Big IF rally brought together some 45,000 people in Hyde Park to call on G8 leaders to take action on global hunger.

This achievement is all the more impressive when we consider how disillusioned the public are with politicians, and – more broadly – with the ability of the current political system to deliver change.

The Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign is focused on four big IFs which will help tackle global hunger:

1.    Aid: IF we give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger and help the poorest families feed themselves.
2.    Tax: IF governments stop big companies dodging tax in poor countries.
3.    Land: IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land and grow crops to feed people, not fuel cars.
4.    Transparency: IF governments and big companies are honest and open about their actions that stop people getting enough food.

Figures published in the Lancet show that malnutrition is the underlying cause of death for 3.1 million children – around 45% of deaths among children under five years of age. The growth of a further 165 million children was stunted as a result of poor diets.

Alongside the rally was a visual petition – an installation of around 250,000 plastic flowers, the petals of which represent the millions of children who die each year from malnutrition.

IF Installation

The IF Flower Installation (Photo: EnoughFoodIF)

The rally heard from many inspirational speakers including philanthropist Bill Gates, director Danny Boyle, singer Angélique Kidjo, and Homeland actor David Harewood.

David Harewood urged the crowd to tweet David Cameron to ensure he gets the message, and said that campaigners needed to keep the pressure on world leaders. Bill Gates added that hunger is ‘the great travesty of our time.  Providing developing countries with the means to feed their people is a vital part of lifting these communities out of the cycle of hunger and poverty.’

Bill Gates - Mann Virdee

Bill Gates (Photo: Mann Virdee)

The most striking moment of the rally, however, was an incredibly powerful minute’s silence in memory of the millions who have died of hunger, led by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

The rally was an important reminder of the strength of public support for international aid, and It was excellent to see such a strong turnout from LCID members.

Mann Virdee is Treasurer for LCID

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