Rochester Launch Of ‘IF’ Campaign

2013_01_30_AAn enthusiastic group of people gathered in the grounds of Rochester Cathedral to launch and show its support for the national IF campaign ( which was publicised earlier in January. Among the group was local MP Mark Reckless, the Bishop of Tonbridge, Dr.Brian Castle, and the Dean of Rochester, Dr.Mark Beach.

The IF campaign is supported by over one hundred aid agencies and focuses on the millennium development goal which aims to eradicate hunger.  While there has been progress on a number of the goals, the aim to halve hunger by 2015 is far from being met.  There is enough food for everyone, yet nearly one billion people go to bed hungry every night and over two million children die from malnutrition annually.  Even in the UK, many people struggle to find the money to feed their families and food banks have sprung up in places to help meet this need.

The IF campaign sees 2013 as a major opportunity for progress in the fight to provide food for everyone.  In 2013, the UK is set to achieve its promise of spending 0.7 percent of gross national income on aid.  In 2013, UK is chair of the G8.  In 2013, there will be an international debate on development goals.  2013 therefore opens up new possibilities.

IF is wanting us to get together to put pressure on world leaders to change the future by tackling four big Ifs:

  • IF we give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger and help the poorest people feed themselves.
  • IF we stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries, so that millions of people can free themselves from hunger.
  • IF we stop poor farmers being forced off their land, and use crops to feed people not fuel cars.
  • IF we force governments and corporations to be honest and open about their actions that stop people getting enough food.

…..then there really will be enough food for everyone.

2013_01_30_BAt the Rochester launch, Emma Kevan from Christian Aid passionately introduced the campaign.  MP Mark Reckless spoke of the government’s work and hopes in alleviating hunger.  He indicated the government’s working and thinking in the area of the four IFs of the campaign.  Bishop Brian, speaking of his time as a parish priest in Africa, said that the extreme element of hunger is death and one of his duties was to conduct the funerals of children who died from malnutrition.  A less extreme, and sometimes hidden, element of hunger is tiredness, lack of energy and general lethargy, which prevent people from flourishing at work and school.  Food for all would have a profound effect on people’s ability to cope with living.

Back in 1963, President John Kennedy said,

We have the means; we have the capacity to eliminate hunger from the face of the earth in our lifetime.  We need only the will.

The 2013 IF campaign provides an opportunity.

31st January, 2013