To celebrate the life work of three individuals who have made outstanding contributions to end child hunger and advance school feeding around the world, PCD staff amongst other representatives of local and international non-profit organizations, USAID, industry, and government entities came together in Washington on Monday, March 5, 2012, for the Global Child Nutrition Foundation’s annual "A Possible Dream" Gala.
Addressing the 500 member audience, National Coordinator of Kenya’s school feeding programme, Philomena Chege, took the opportunity to highlight the importance of school feeding. "A hungry child cannot learn they cannot exploit their potential. I urge you to join hands with us to curtail this problem". Chege was also amongst those honored on the night, being awarded the 2012 Winston Policy Scholar.

The government led school feeding initiative in Kenya, called Njaa Marufuku Kenya (NMK), which began in 2005, is currently beingsupported by HGSF. HGSF promotes local agriculture by benefiting rural farmers; using locally-sourced food, providing regular orders and a reliable income for local farmers, the majority of whom are women, while improving the education, health, and nutrition of children.

NMK targeted areas that had ahigh and medium potential to grow food as well as areas that hadhigh levels of school dropout, poor primary school performance, and high levels of malnutrition. Currently the project continues to reach 31,720 children in 48 schools that are across six provinces in the East African country.

At the ceremony, the ninth recipient of the Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition was presented to Ambassador Tony P. Hall. As he accepted the award, he quoted Mother Teresa and noted her as inspiration in his efforts to alleviate childhood hunger. "What we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of that missing drop".

Ambassador Hall continued by saying, "when programs effectively reduce absenteeism and increase the duration of schooling, educational outcomes improve across the board "¦ Eliminating the scourge of childhood hunger is not something any of us can do alone. We need all hands on deck if we’re going to succeed in this".

The two other individuals celebrated at the gala were Lyman Graham as 2011 SNA Director of the Year and Tony Roberts as 2011 SNA Industry Member of the year who were recognized by School Nutrition Association President, Helen Phillips.

The event is held annually to raise awareness and funds for GCNF’s efforts to combat global child hunger through sustainable school feeding programs.

It was announced at the gala, that the total raised was $365,000 with an additional $60,000 for the Global Child Nutrition Forum. The forum, which is to be supported by GCNF, WFP and PCD is due to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May this year.

Find out more on the Kenyan School Feeding Programme

Read more on the Gala on GCNF’s website

See coverage of the ceremony in the Washington Post