This World Food Day introduce your students to Molly.
By Amy McMillen, Partnerships and Outreach Coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

This World Food Day, the UN World Food Programme is telling the story of one amazing girl named Molly. She’s a thirteen-year-old girl growing up in the Mathare slum of Nairobi, Kenya – one of the poorest places on earth – where she receives a daily WFP meal at school. Last year, WFP gave her a small flip cam to film her daily life. They turned the videos she shared with into a powerful mixed-media film that highlights the importance of school meals in her life.  That daily meal means she’ll come to school, succeed in the classroom, and get a healthy start to life. WFP even designed a special quiz around Molly so that for every person who takes the quiz, a child like Molly will receive a meal. Thanks to this quiz, WFP hopes, with your help, to feed 50,000 kids by World Food Day.  

We know that the creativity and energy of the next generation will help us innovate to solve hunger. That’s why WFP also designed a teachers’ resources pack to help teach hunger and Molly’s story year-round. We encourage teachers to dive deeper with their students with all of the lessons Molly’s World teaches us: from economics to creative writing, health to geography.

Check out other ways to engage your local school this World Food Day.

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MOLLY’S WORLD by Rose Ogola of the UN World Food Programme                       

This is the story of Molly Achieng, a 13-year old schoolgirl from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. We in the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) first got to know her when she agreed to take part in a filming project designed to give viewers an insight into the life of a teenager in Mathare, one of the capital’s largest shanty towns. The idea was that Molly would take a small video camera around with her and shoot whatever she liked: her classmates, her home, the place where she lives.

In Mathare where Molly lives, life is difficult. Most houses are made of old iron sheets or wooden boards on earthen floors. Sanitation is rudimentary with as many as 10 shacks sharing a bathroom and latrine. There is no running water in the houses and people have to fetch water from communal taps serving hundreds of people. Getting food is a challenge for most of the people and many children, especially girls, have to work to help put a meal on the family table.

The school Molly attends is part of the school meals programme run jointly by WFP and the Government of Kenya. Under this initiative, daily hot meals are served to some 1.3 million children in Nairobi’s slums and in the arid- and semi-arid areas of Kenya. School meals provide an important safety net for vulnerable children in food-insecure environments. For many of them, the school lunch is the only meal they can count on during the day. Typically, it will consist of beans and maize or split peas and bulgur wheat. Not only does it fill their stomach, it also helps ensure that children attend school and can concentrate in class.

Over the course of the next few months, Molly filmed her life: the sofa where she did her homework and slept at night; her journey home from school; her trip to fetch water; a piece of open ground where people dumped garbage; old torn shoes that she could not afford to throw away because they were her only pair; and a boy from the neighbourhood, a big Michael Jackson fan.

Since then, they have been viewed by many more people than either WFP or Molly herself could ever have imagined. It is difficult to pinpoint what makes her films so engaging. They offer a rare glimpse into a world that many viewers would never otherwise see and Molly’s curiosity about the world, her sense of fun, and above all her warmth and humanity have won the hearts of many people around the world.

 Life in the slums is particularly difficult for girls. Many drop out of school after primary school due to lack of money to pay the fees. Luckily for Molly, a sponsor in the United States is covering her education costs and will hopefully continue to do so when she starts high school in 2014.

Molly’s idol is Mother Teresa of Calcutta who, for more than four decades, ministered to the poor in India. “I know that by working hard in school, I will attain my dream of becoming a nurse and a nun”, she says.

Earlier this year, Molly and some classmates went to Cisco’s studios in Nairobi for a live video up-link with children from Ambrit International School in Rome. The Ambrit students had watched Molly’s videos and had then made their own video clip which they wanted to show Molly and her classmates. After overcoming initial shyness, the children ended up showing each other dance moves, discussing their favourite foods and telling anecdotes about their lives.

WFP also organized a blog session through Facebook where children from the US and Europe had the chance to chat with Molly and her classmates about their lives.

If ever there were an example of the potential in children from poor backgrounds and the need to nurture it, Molly is it.

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@WorldFoodDayUSA tweeted link to this page. 2012-10-04 07:40:08 -0400
This World Food Day meet Molly. http://t.co/VO4LuPtm