New Dehli, 16 November 2007 – Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme, has returned from a field visit to projects
that the UN agency is supporting in India, urging the international community to strongly commit to support WFP programmes so as to provide education and food to millions of hungry poor
The Italian actress strongly appealed for contributions during the press conference that took place today in New Delhi.
Making a difference – “Working side by side with WFP has taught me that each one of us can make a difference in the fight against hunger. Food can serve as a magnet to bring children to
school and change their life”, said Cucinotta, who chose India as her first field visit in her role as WFP Ambassador Against Hunger.
Cucinotta visited WFP-assisted primary schools, mother-and-child health and nutrition centers, and food-for-work activities in the predominantly tribal districts of Jhabua and Dhar in central
state of Madhya Pradesh. She was very impressed with the functioning of WFP-supported projects.
She learnt first-hand that as a result of the WFP’s support to national school feeding programme, the enrolment in the schools have increased substantially, the attendance rates were higher
than in other schools and moreover, the children looked healthy.
«Tremendous progress» – “While India is making tremendous progress on the economic front, more efforts are needed in the social arena, in terms of better nutrition, education
and health services for the poor. The commitment of the Government of India for hunger and poverty alleviation is commendable. I have been impressed by WFP’s work in India that focuses on
strengthening the national food-based schemes by developing better models, including formulation and local production of micronutrients fortified special foods. Every dollar WFP spends
leverages several more dollars from existing schemes. This is what external support and capacity development are needed for in India”, said Cucinotta.
Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Oscar nominated in 1994 for the film “Il Postino”, has been appointed WFP Ambassador Against Hunger in 2006 after having produced the Italian film “All the Invisible
Children”, that focus the attention on the millions of children and teenagers whose rights are denied by hunger, exploitation and war. The film was realized by eight top directors: John Woo,
Emir Kusturica, Spike Lee and others.