We woke to a beautiful (but boiling hot) day in London on Friday 10th August, the perfect weather for ONE to join Save the Children, Concern, Oxfam, Action Aid and Unicef to hand in our petition to 10 Downing Street. It called upon world leaders to act now and next year on malnutrition and hunger; signed by 643,486 people from across the world it is a clear, strong and simple message, which will hopefully inspire those concerned to act. With more than 18 million people in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa facing food shortages alone it was an urgent message.
We were joined on the day by Frank Kapeta, Save the Children’s young ambassador from Tanzania, who had landed that very morning at London Heathrow to knock on the famous door of Number 10 urging for action. I was personally very nervous and excited to be given the opportunity to walk behind the gates, down the street which through out history has been the hub of British Politics. With the world watching the Olympic games and the UK holding the G8 summit next year, David Cameron has the unique opportunity to lead. This Sunday he will be joined by Brazil’s Vice President Michel Temer to host the Global Hunger Event to encourage the world to take the necessary steps needed to reduce malnutrition, hunger and the subsequent stunting. The petition was a stepping-stone towards this, showing that the citizens of the world want their voice to be heard and recognise the desperate situation which has evolved across many countries in Africa.
As we waited to be allowed through it dawned on me the scale of what the six of us were about to do. We were representing over 600,000 people, taking each towards the door of the Prime Minister. Despite a few minor security hiccups over an international rather than national press pass of our photographer we were eventually let through, the famous 10 in sight. More photos were taken, with the necessary ‘slow mo’ walk towards the door captured, it was down to Frank to knock. Once handed in to the guard the six of us were elated, I could hardly stop smiling (cue the photographer once more). However the excitement didn’t stop there, much to our delight it was announced that the Prime Minister was about to leave Number 10 on his way to watch an Olympic event. As a politics student seeing the man who has the final say over all political decisions was special to say the least. As we waited patiently his advisor told us he wanted to say hello. Shocked would be the word to describe our faces. In a little line we stood, as he shook our hands and gave us details about the upcoming stunt being held following the Hunger summit on Sunday. He also ensured us that he would do everything he could to make Sunday a success in setting real foundations for the fight against malnutrition and hunger. As he drove off I took in the surroundings for one final time, content in the knowledge that the petition handed in was the first step in the build up, and I cannot wait to see the results of the summit on Sunday.
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