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London Olympics legacy - an end to global hunger?

Posted by Anna Ridout Press Officer

15th Aug 2012

This week, because of your support, we made an important step. We helped get hunger and the broken food system high on the world's agenda.

One tap of a stick on a single drum may get you wiggling your toes but an energetic troop of drummers and percussionists putting their whole weight behind a tune will get you jumping and dancing and waving your hands in the air. 

One text or signature on a petition to tackle hunger in West Africa is a crucial and important call to action - 600,000 is a thunder roll that cannot be ignored. This week your drum beat was heard on the Thames in London, at number 10 Downing Street, and at a hunger event held on the last day of the Olympics. Your action has built momentum not just now for people in the Sahel region of West Africa but for next year's G8 summit hosted by the UK. 

On Friday signatures from all over the world were handed to David Cameron. Alongside other agencies, we urged world leaders to act to end hunger and malnutrition - not only in the Sahel but for people all over the world. 

On Sunday ahead of the global hunger event, Oxfam cruised on a 'Lets Beat Hunger' boat down the Thames. The boat was festooned with banners, flags, drummers and people dressed with 'Big Heads' of Prime Minister David Cameron and other world leaders dancing and waving to the Olympic crowds.

Hunger in the spotlight

Duncan Green, Oxfam's Senior Strategic Adviser, said: "We're here to drum up support for David Cameron's efforts to ensure everyone on the planet has enough to eat. Leaders at the event responded by saying they would make tackling hunger the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and make a difference ahead of the 2016 games in Rio."  

Oxfam and other charities said:  "At a time when the world's spotlight is on Britain, we have shown as a nation not only that we can stage the greatest Olympics in history, but that we believe in a legacy for the games which is about more than medals and arenas. 

"There is real hope now that - with the momentum from this meeting building towards next year's G8 summit - we can mount the biggest-ever effort to end global hunger and fix the broken food system."

The meeting acknowledged that this is a crisis with complex structural causes, but with the political will seen today, we know the solutions are at hand. This week, because of your support, we made an important step. We helped get hunger and the broken food system high on the world's agenda. 

Tackling the root causes of hunger

Through Oxfam's GROW campaign we will continue to tackle the root causes of hunger, including:

  • Campaigning to prevent land grabs that result in poor families being evicted from the land they used to grow crops on, in order to make way for wealthy investors with little or no warning and no compensation. 
  • Calling on global governments to invest in small holder farmers 
  • Addressing the causes of food price spikes - such as climate change and biofuels policies

Read more about the GROW campaign and make sure you're signed up to campaign with us, and keep the drum beat going.

In West Africa and across the world there is still a lot of work to be done. And action means really protecting people who still go to bed hungry every night. Farmers in Niger, Mali, and across West Africa need ongoing support to rebuild strong and reliable incomes and cope better with crises. Oxfam will continue to help communities to recover from the food crisis by introducing community projects such as grain and animal feed storage, women's market gardening, agricultural crop production and providing income generation grants. 

Thanks to all those that donated to our appeal and have made this work possible.

Join the GROW campaign

Donate to West Africa

Blog post written by Anna Ridout

Press Officer

More by Anna Ridout