Amadou And Mariam: Ambassadors Against Hunger For WFP And The European Union

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Rome - The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the internationally acclaimed Malian singers Amadou & Mariam as WFP Ambassadors against Hunger for the European Union.

The award-winning musicians are the first WFP Ambassadors dedicated to raising awareness among the European public of the scourge of global hunger and efforts to tackle it by WFP and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO).

“Amadou and Mariam have supported WFP’s work for several years and we know how important their message of solidarity, encouragement and hope is to millions of hungry people around the world,” said Gemmo Lodesani, Director of WFP’s office in Brussels.

“The humanitarian commitment of Amadou and Mariam makes them powerful voices in the fight against hunger. Their ambassadorship is also an important tool to highlight the vital partnership that exists between WFP and ECHO,” said Peter Zangl, Director General of ECHO.

Amadou & Mariam have just returned from Haiti where they visited WFP projects funded by the European Union. The visit gave the two musicians an opportunity to meet pregnant and nursing women and their children receiving specialized nutrition products in the health clinic of Camp l’Aviation, where some 25,000 Haitians displaced after the January 2010 earthquake still live.

“Hunger is a problem not only in Haiti. Hunger is a problem for millions of people across the world and it is a problem for all of us. We are happy to be able to fight together with ECHO and WFP to make sure that nobody goes to bed hungry,” said Amadou during a visit to projects in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Amadou & Mariam also visited a cash and food for work project in Carrefour, one of the worst-hit areas of Port-au-Prince, where a group of women is rebuilding the community with the support of ECHO and WFP.

“Being a mother myself, it has touched me deeply to meet these Haitian women. I am very happy to experience how they are staying strong and I encourage them to continue,” Mariam said afterwards

The visit of Amadou & Mariam concluded with a concert at which they were joined by famous Haitian musicians, James Germain, and Beken at the Institut Français d’Haïti in Port-au-Prince.

ECHO and WFP have developed a strong partnership. In 2010, ECHO supported WFP’s response in 34 crises, aimed to meet the basic nutritional needs of the affected population, particularly those of women and children.

For further information: Julie Laduron, ECHO/Brussels: Tel. +32-2-296 00 69, julie.laduron@ec.europa.eu