I went to a special screening of The Hunger Season last night in London. The film tells the story of Justice Methula in Swaziland, struggling to survive in the face of droughts and diminishing aid. It connects him to the governments rich and poor, UN agencies and donors whose decisions have an impact on his life, and starts to unravel the question of why we are failing to tackle hunger.
After the screening, I fielded some questions from the audience with the Director Beadie Finzi. People wanted to know more about the politics of ending hunger – how much money is needed, how is it spent and on who? Are governments accountable for their efforts? What is the role of the private sector? These are all the right questions to be asking.
Beadie is passionate that people use her film as a tool for change – to engage people in these issues and inspire action. In the US, they are launching an initiative called ‘Movie & a Meal’. The idea is that people host a film night – a group of people come together and watch the film. But, they forego their usual evening meal, and instead eat cooked maize in solidarity with the billion people going hungry. Groups can then use the opportunity to ask people to take action – be it donate, take a campaign action or support whatever is going on in their area.
This has got me thinking about plans for our HungerFREE campaign next year. In the second half of the year, there are two big opportunities to keep up the pressure on governments to deliver on their promises to halve hunger by 2015 – the G8 and G20 summits in Canada in July, followed by a review of the Millennium Development Goals in New York in September. We need to provoke more public outrage on this issue to force it back into the spotlight.