MSF and Malnutrition: Let's Give Them Something To Talk About
On Monday, June 27, the fate of over 195 million malnourished people will be affected by the outcome of this year's International Food Aid & Development Conference, held in Kansas City, where the US government will announce reforms to its international food aid policy. This policy has not been altered substantially in decades, and sadly the food the US provides relieves hunger, but does not provide proper nourishment for young children.
Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders has created a briliant multimedia campaign, dubbed Starved for Attention, to expand awareness of malnutition worldwide and convert this awareness into action to achieve a concrete goal: increase the nutritional value of food aid from large donors such as the United States. It began 6 months before World Food Day 2010, and is reaching its peak just now as over 100,000 signatures have been collected in advance of the Kansas City conference on Monday.
By far the most compelling element of the MSF campaign are the videos, depicting the difficulties faced by parents struggling to feed their children all over the world. These are POWERFUL and moving films that help the viewer identify with the grave needs of the agencies tasked with caring for malnourished children, and with the parents of the children.
A stand-out in this collection of videos is Burkina Faso: A Mother's Devotion, a heart-wrenching look at the trade-offs an impoverished mother must face in caring for and feeding her children after the harvest runs out.
The U.S. Standard and a Double Standard, is a poignant juxtaposition of the relative generosity of the US' Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program that helps needy families meet the nutritional needs of their children, and the substandard Corn and Soybean-based food donated to impoverished countries, the result of an inefficient system which ships the excess food generated by agricultural susidies.
A well-organized array of media tools is provided on the organization's website, inlcuding B-Roll, banner ads, photos w/ credit requirements, fact sheets, press releases, and most importantly a link to the action desired: the petition to improve the quality of food aid. Well done, MSF!
FOLLOW UP: Here is the reaction from some of the MSF Staff who attended the conference in June, uploaded in late August 2011:
Update: A thank you and update from MSF International President Unni Karunakara