KAMPALA – More than 100 children aged between five and 15 years will have their paintings displayed in a two-week-long exhibition in Kampala, starting on 26 November 2022, as part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Food Day.
The children, including those from underserved communities, refugee settlements and those living with special needs (hearing, sight impairment and physical disability) from across the country, were selected through the World Food Day 2022 Art Contest organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Faces Up Uganda- a youth-led non-profit working with children, especially in underserved and vulnerable communities (where hunger, unemployment and poverty are rife), to use creative arts to empower children to explore their potential and contribute to uplifting their peers and communities.
The Art Contest was meant to provide children, a constituent that is often “left behind”, with a platform to tell stories of their interaction with food, its production and consumption and to share their ideas for food and environment security in the world they live in. The Contest, held under the World Food Day 2022 theme: Leave No One Behind: Better production, Better nutrition, Better environment and Better life, received 3 500 submissions from children countrywide and 120 paintings were shortlisted for public showcase. During the open-access exhibition, members of the public can purchase the original paintings. All proceeds go towards supporting the children’s education and basic needs.
Prior to the exhibition, 12 children who emerged winners in the national World Food Day art contest received awards from the Rt. Hon Prime Minister- Robbinah Nabbanja, during national World Food Day celebrations on 16 October, organized by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and agencies at the National Crops Resources Research Institute in Namulonge. The Prime Minister challenged stakeholders in the agriculture sector to reflect on the sector’s progress and contribution to a better life and recommit to deliberate actions to end hunger in all its forms, in a country that prides itself in abundant resources.
Speaking at the launch of the exhibition on 26 November 2022 at Motiv Creative Space in Bugolobi, Antonio Querido- FAO Representative in Uganda, commended Faces Up Uganda for championing the contributions of children to improving food and agriculture outcomes and advocating for better nutrition, food production and a healthy environment.
“The role of young people in transforming how we produce and consume food is vital. I commend FAO and Faces Up Uganda for creating this space for children to share their ideas and enthusiasm, and their stake in the future they want” said Querido.
The FAO Representative noted that the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) Report by FAO and its partners estimates that up to 828 million people faced chronic undernourishment in 2021 – 46 million more than in 2020 and 150 million more than in 2019, before COVID-19. The impacts of the pandemic had already widened existing inequalities, increased extreme poverty, and made eradicating hunger even harder, especially in vulnerable countries.
“All of us can act effectively and efficiently, in a coherent manner and with greater compassion, by speaking up and influencing decision-makers. We must ensure that action and solidarity are at the center of our thoughts and our passion, to work towards ending hunger and to achieve the Four Betters: better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life for all, leaving NO ONE behind”, he added.
Emmanuel Kalule Sekitto- the Chief Executive of Faces Up Uganda, called for increased involvement of children in the development discourse, to empower them to contribute to better outcome in agriculture, food, environment and education.
“It is important to involve children to share their thoughts and ideas on matters of importance. In Uganda, where almost half of the total population is below 15 years, this presents an opportunity to harness the creativity and social consciousness of this demographic for a Better World”, he said.
Natan Dawiti- a child with hearing impairment, from Ntinda School of the Deaf, lauded the contest for elevating the talents of children through art and giving them an opportunity to speak to the world.
“It was such a big opportunity for me to take part in this amazing competition and actually become one of the winners. I never expected to be among the winners in Uganda”, said
Aksanti Bienfait Bafunyempaka- the overall winner of the 13-15 years category.
“Through my art, I want to communicate with the world. I want to be an international artist and I want my art pieces to bring change in the world”, said the young national of the Democratic Republic of Congo, living in Nakivaale refugee settlement, Isingiro District.
World Food Day
World Food Day is commemorated annually on 16 October. Communicated in over 50 languages in over 150 countries, World Food Day calls on everyone – from governments to private sector, academia, civil society and individuals, including youth – to become food heroes and build a sustainable future. World Food Day promotes worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all. The theme for World Food Day 2022 was “Leave No One Behind:
Better production, Better nutrition, Better environment and Better life”. World Food Day is also a commemoration of the founding of FAO. This year’s theme embodies and amplifies FAO’s strategic focus around the 4Betters and acts as a call to the Government, development partners and relevant stakeholders to support sustainable agriculture and agri-food systems.