Sahel Hand In – Knock, knock, knocking on Number 10's door

Posted by Lucy Aitken Read Community and Activism Campaigner, London and the south east

10th Aug 2012

It was a scorching morning, the sun bearing down on our squinting faces as we posed for photos, fake knocking on the famous door of Number 10.

I was representing Oxfam, along with other activists from Concern, ONE, Action Aid, Unicef and Save the Children, delivering a huge box of names - more than 600,0000 people calling for immediate action on hunger in the Sahel area. The Prime Minster is holding a summit with all the VIPs in town on Sunday - and we had to let him know that we were all watching.

We toyed with what expression to put on for the photographer - happy, because everyone looks nicer with a smile, and we were thrilled that such a HUGE number of people were behind this; or stern, because 18 million people are starving to death each year? We each opted for something different, to mix it up a little.

There were some press inside the gate, and we piqued their interest a bit. They bossed us about, moving us around to get a good shot. I hope they cover this, I hope they show telly watchers how many people are involved in this fairer-world movement.

After much dillydallying, we handed over the box. And posed, fake knocking a bit more.

Job done, and as we thought about heading home, someone mentioned we could stay a bit, watch the Prime Minister get in his car.

I wasn't keen. I was anxious, I had had to get friends to look after my daughter, Ramona, and I was already running late for them. As I considered just heading home, someone else approached.

They ushered us out from behind the barriers, and explained that the Prime Minister would like to say hello.

We gathered by the door and a second later his pleasant face appeared. Not wanting to let a moment slip, in my very best, most articulate and confidently loud voice announced, like some kind of Head Girl speech, "We trust you are going to do every thing you can to create a world free from hunger." He pledged to. "We are passionate about a just world and hundreds of thousands of others are too." He understood and chatted a bit more. Mo Farah was coming! They were gonna set up a race track! But he seemed positive that his hunger summit would be worth it.

As he left, we celebrated, we hugged and high fived. Delivering a petition turned into something that bit more. Not because we were stunned by the (very) rich and famous but because we hoped that the Prime Minister picked up our energy; that our faces, a little gang of global citizens, might be in his mind as he heads up Sunday's meeting of leaders. Maybe he captured our hope and maybe we helped fortify him, to make the decisions he must. We can only wait and see.

Blog post written by Lucy Aitken Read

Community and Activism Campaigner, London and the south east

More by Lucy Aitken Read