My son, Joshua, recently turned 16 months old. (As a new parent, I’ve learned that we track our young children’s ages by months or even days rather than by years.) As Joshua grows, I witness him becoming increasingly independent and stubborn, particularly when it comes to eating.
Eating has become a daily challenge and game. My wife and I have to transform every meal into an entertaining game of hide-and-seek or peekaboo in order to get him to eat. Then, in dramatic fashion, Joshua will start throwing his food on the floor to emphatically tell us that he is done.
Though I hope this passes soon, I know that his behavior is common for a soon-to-be 2-year-old. But I have to admit that the ritual pains me, knowing that so many children around the world lack access to basic -- let alone nutritious -- food.
Since Joshua was born, I've been made increasingly aware of the desperate need for bolder global leadership on the issues of hunger and malnutrition. If Joshua misses or doesn’t eat a full meal, his day goes on as normal. If millions of children under the age of 2 around the world continue to miss meals because nutritious food is unaffordable or inaccessible, their minds and growth will likely be stunted and could lead to a tragic but entirely preventable death.
Janet Aroo was found to be severely malnourished at just 10 months old. Here, she eats Plumpy'Nut, a nutritionally-fortified paste used to counteract malnutrition. (Photo: Lucy Murunga/World Vision)
Tragically, one out of every four children suffers permanent physical and mental disabilities due to chronic malnutrition.
In anticipation of the 2012 G8 Summit coming up on May 18-19, World Vision has been working in coalition with organizations like Save the Children, ONE, and others to convince President Obama and other G8 leaders to prioritize issues of child malnutrition and global hunger.
The G8 Summit may seem like an “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” event that takes place in a remote and often-luxurious location. But it’s a significant meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders, where life-or-death decisions are made, in a very literal sense.
Due to a groundswell of public pressure, past G8 Summits have resulted in pledges of greater support for life-saving programs such as child and maternal health, food security, and effective foreign assistance. We need this public pressure, yet again.
While the 2012 G8 Summit risks being overshadowed by the continuing global economic crisis and the presidential election, your voice can help ensure that many of the world’s most vulnerable children are not forgotten.
On the White House website, you can find an online petition, calling on President Obama to prioritize child health and nutrition at the G8 Summit. If we can acquire 25,000 signatures within 30 days, not only will we have demonstrated that there is tremendous public support for tackling child malnutrition, but the White House has promised to provide an official, public response to our petition.
This would be a tremendous step in making sure child malnutrition is highlighted at this year’s G8 Summit.
Every two minutes, 10 children die of malnutrition. Use your next two minutes to help save lives.
Add your name to our petition. Tell President Obama that you’re serious about ending childhood malnutrition around the world.