A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
*Broadcast quality footage and high resolution images available*
Leading actors, musicians and statesmen including actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Scarlett Johansson, Kristin Davis, Archbishop Emeritus Tutu and former President Lula of Brazil are putting out a call to fix the broken global food system, which is failing to feed nearly a billion people each day.
The international food system – which takes food from the fields to our plates – is currently leaving one in seven people to go hungry every day and, according to Oxfam, the situation is getting much worse because of environmental crises such as climate change.
Musician Angelique Kidjo, photographer Rankin and supermodel Helen Christensen are also among the names joining Oxfam’s new GROW campaign in calling for governments and big business to act now to fix the broken food system and avoid a permanent food crisis.
GROW, which will be Oxfam’s biggest ever campaign and will run in 45 countries around the globe, aims to eliminate hunger today and tomorrow.
Actor Scarlett Johansson, said: “Sharing food is one of life’s pleasures. On a global scale, we don’t share fairly. Close to a billion people go to bed hungry every night. The fact is: the global food system is a broken one. All of us, from Kentucky to Kenya, deserve enough to eat.”
Grammy award-winning music recording artist, Angelique Kidjo, grew up in Benin in West Africa where more than one third of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition.
She said: “I love food. I also know what it’s like to go without it and it’s no joke - it feels like someone has put fire in your belly. I wouldn’t wish hunger on a single person. But close to 1 billion men, women and children are hungry today. That's why I’m joining Oxfam's GROW campaign to make it clear to governments and business that hunger is not acceptable today or tomorrow.”
Celebrity photographer Rankin has photographed the British Queen, and A-list stars including Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue, and has now turned his camera towards pastoralist communities in Kenya where years of neglect and a prolonged drought have left them struggling to feed themselves and their families.
Rankin said: “I have recently returned from Kenya with Oxfam, where we visited the region of Turkana. The area has been so badly hit by drought that the people there are surviving on as little as a handful of maize a day. They are unable to grow food and their cattle are dying. I spoke to the community and asked them what the one thing was that they needed most. They all gave the same answer; they wanted the means to grow their own food and to sustain their own lives. This seems so simple but as of yet it is not possible. This scandal can, and must, be rectified.”
With climate change drying out land and killing crops, and rising food prices leaving many struggling to buy food to eat, the problems are getting worse. Currently the poorest people in the world are spending up to 80 per cent of their weekly income on food, with people in India forced to spend more than double what is spent in the UK. One liter of milk in the UK costs around 26p (43 cents), while someone in India can expect to spend the equivalent of £10 ($16.50).
Helena Christensen said: "For me, food and family go together. There’s nothing I like more than gathering my family around the table to share food and conversation. Other families aren’t so lucky. One in seven people are going hungry today and the effects of climate change are making it even harder to feed the world.
Oxfam’s GROW campaign calls for a new approach to managing the world’s natural resources. One where climate change is kept in check by a global climate deal that actually works, and where we grow more sustainably – producing more food and fewer greenhouse gases. GROW is calling on governments to create a new future in which everyone’s family can sit around the table to eat and talk. Join me. Join GROW and grow a better future."
Oxfam’s GROW Campaign is highlighting the solutions which can help end hunger today and tomorrow. For example in Brazil the government – working with civil society - almost halved the proportion of people living in hunger in just 15 years between 1992 and 2007.
Sex and the City actor, Kristin Davis, has just returned from a trip to Haiti with Oxfam where she visited woman’s farming projects. She said: "In my travels with Oxfam I have met many women producers who work the land from sunrise to sunset but are still struggling to feed their families. That's why Oxfam's GROW campaign to tackle the world’s food crises is so important.”
Former President Lula of Brazil said: "We can't wait anymore. Political leaders and global companies must act now to ensure that all people can put food on their table. There are no excuses. We have the capacity to feed everyone on the planet now and in the future. If the political will is there no one will be denied their fundamental human right to be free from hunger."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a life long campaigner for human rights said: "Many governments and companies will be resistant to change through habit, ideology or the pursuit of profit. It is up to us – you and me – to persuade them by choosing food that’s produced fairly and sustainably, by cutting our carbon footprints and by joining with Oxfam and others to demand change."
Notes to editors
The report and report summary are available at: Growing a Better Future
Social media release is available
For access to the following high-resolution video and photographs, contact your nearest media officer :
- High profile supporters
- Broadcast quality footage featuring messages from former President Lula of Brazil, actor Gael Garcia Bernal, singer Angelique Kidjo and other high profile supporters
- Time logged transcripts in French, Spanish and English
- High resolution pictures of actor Scarlett Johansson, Former President Lula of Brazil, Archbishop Emeritus Tutu, singer Angelique Kidjo and Rankin
- Broadcast quality footage and time logged shot lists in French / Spanish / English
- High resolution pictures available
- Stories from Guatemala and India
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Anna Mitchell on +44 1865 339157 or +44 7796 993 288