Ending Hunger Now – what's missing from Josette Sheeran's talk?

Inspiring TED talk by World Food Program boss Josette Sheeran. Besides the general moral outrage and can-do optimism she conveys, I like the focus on local sourcing, investing in small farmers, school meals, breast feeding and supporting food banks as a form of local food reserve.

But some culprits get off very lightly. Nationally, what about governments that either use hunger as a political tactic or turn a blind eye to it because it affects opposition groups or other constituencies they don’t care about? Globally, apart from an oblique reference to food subsidies, there is little mention of rich country policies on biofuels, or cutting aid to agriculture, or land grabs, or driving risks down the value chain to small farmers, or failing to do anything on climate change, which all contribute to the problem.

I’d be interested in other reactions to the talk.

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Comments

2 Responses to “Ending Hunger Now – what's missing from Josette Sheeran's talk?”
  1. I thought this was a brilliant presentation. She focused on how local people can be empowered to address hunger and how this changes systems. This is about changing paradigms, and many people have been engaged in this for a long time. Those small nutritional packs grew from the work of a pediatrician in Malawi, who challenged the existing paradigm for feeding severely malnourished people, for example.
    She has put all paradigm-changing work together, focusing on the power of giving people tools to address and change hunger locally. Near the end, she says WFP has been able to leave 30 African counties – that is a powerful tribute to the power of working with people locally to help them solve their own problems and build their own economies while feeding people.
    There are probably many other things she could have focused on, but she did what few other agency heads do – she put it all together in an accessible, powerful picture that makes sense, speaks to the head and the heart, and thus empowers ordinary people elsewhere to help create this change.

  2. Hi Duncan,

    Thanks for posting this on your blog. It is indeed an inspiring talk with some great strategies that work.

    I do see what you mean about her letting some of the main culprits of food shortages off the hook. I also don’t agree with her comment that we didn’t have the means to solve food crises a hundred years ago. What we lacked then, and now, is the political will (and courage) to restructure the global food system and correct the power imbalances.

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