I’m not a big fan of Dancing with the Stars, in fact I rarely even watch it. However, this season Jessica Watson is dancing to support the World Food Program, a charity which Cooking for Oscar also supports through We Feedback. Jessica is a WFP Youth Representative and a We Feedback supporter as well. A percentage of each vote received for Jessica goes to WFP in support of their school meals programme in Laos.
“WFP provides school meals to an average of 22 million children each year in 60 countries. Why? Because providing a nutritious meal to children in school is one of the best ways of breaking the cycle of hunger that traps nearly a billion people globally. Here are four things that make school meals such a powerful tool:
1. Incredibly cost-effective
In regions that suffer from hunger, school meals play a vital role in breaking the hunger-poverty cycle. Children only get meals if they go to school regularly. In many programs, attendance also earns a take-home ration that will help sustain the child’s family as well. Just US$5 will provide one month of school meals for a child.
2. Gets poor kids into school
Education takes a very low priority when a family is hungry. Poor households are often obliged to choose between sending the kids to school or to work in fields, streets, factories or sweatshops. With school meals, parents do not have to make that choice. School becomes the best option for securing food. This also helps gender equality in cultures that do not typically educate girls since parents are eager for their girls to attend school for the food benefits.
3. Breaks the cycle of poverty
When children are forced to work, they grow up without an education or proper nutrition, thus increasing the likelihood that they will remain poor and have to keep their children home from school as well. This is how poverty perpetuates itself. School meals break this cycle by giving both kids and parents a chance to focus beyond the next meal and achieve their potential.
4. Creates a sustainable solution
Whenever possible, the food used in these programs is bought locally, helping to boost the local economy. Once a program is running smoothly, our aim is to hand over the program and let it be run locally. In fact, over the past 45 years, WFP has handed over school meal programs to 42 countries where the programs continue to thrive.”
You can see Jessica each Sunday night at 6.30pm on the Seven & Prime Networks and be sure to vote for her:
CALL 1902 55 77 13
SMS ‘JESSICA’ to 191 777
MNET entry cost $0.55. Mobile calls to 1902 extra.
SMS Helpline 1300 851 419
Final voting closes: 17/06/2012 at 18:30 AEST
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For more information and highlights from the show visit
If you are interested in helping the WFP with their school meals programme you can get more information here.