Sunday, October 10, 2010

Walking for Hope

It is cold and a bit windy in Geneva; the sun will certainly not shine very bright today. Nonetheless we put on our walking shoes and headed out for the 19th edition of the “Marche de l’Espoir” or “Walk for Hope”, run by Terre des Hommes. This walk, which takes place in early October every year, benefits one or more countries, and specifically children in these countries. Last year, it was Senegal; this year it is Brazil, Burkina Faso and India.

Importantly, this year’s edition is focused on healthy, sustainable food for all. Today, more than one billion of the 6.7 billion people on our planet suffer from hunger or malnutrition, or 150 million more than in 2008. More than half are children.

This number is growing in spite of the Millennium Development Goals which aim to reduce malnutrition by 50% by 2015. But the Earth could feed 12 billion people, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This food is inaccessible to a large part of the world’s population, especially those in the Southern hemisphere, because of low wages and agricultural practices that are not adapted to the regions where food is needed the most.

It is with this in mind that we set out this morning to bring our part of “Hope”. As with all walks of this kind, our children have dragged their parents along. They have already done the advanced footwork, going to neighbors, family and friends and getting them to pledge money for each kilometer walked. And it will not be in vain.

During our walk, we mingle with the thousands of other participants, old and young and all ages in between, who have come along to bring their bit of “Hope” to the world. We walk along the route, have our “passport” stamped every kilometer, and take part in the two quizzes that will bring us two bonus kilometers – that much less for our feet to trod.

Our oldest child logged 12 kilometers, and the youngest 16 ‑ a nice reversal that will lighten a few of their sponsors’ pocketbooks, and put healthy, sustainable food in a few more stomachs.