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Project Reports

UPF-Nigeria Marks World Food Day with Launch of Food for Peace Initiative

Abuja, Nigeria - UPF-Nigeria mobilized volunteers and Ambassadors for Peace to organize an event to mark UN World Food Day, Oct. 16, 2014, with the theme Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth.” The event also featured the launch of the UPF-Nigeria Food for Peace Initiative, which is designed to bring together food producers, distributors and consumers with policy makers and Ambassadors for Peace to explore strategies for the harmony of the needed culture, structure and infrastructure for the realization of food for all and ensuring that all people eat food to live in peace.

 

The event was held at the National Merit Award House in Maitama, Abuja with participants drawn from several groups including governmental agencies, farmers and investors, food vendors, representatives of hotels, youth and women's organizations as well as other NGO leaders and Ambassadors for Peace. The opening prayer was offered by Rev. Sunday Uke, director of UPF-Nigeria's Office of Interreligious Affairs, and was followed by the National Anthem of Nigeria recited by all participants.

 

Dr. George C. Ikpot, director of UPF-Nigeria's Office of International Affairs, delivered the opening address in which he shared stories about the commitment of the UPF Founders to the well-being of all people emphasizing their involvement in helping to feed the world with both spiritual and physical food. Dr. Ikpot said: “Today’s event provides us the opportunity to move our aspirations for peace in Nigeria forward. The launch of the Food for Peace initiative today provides us the platform to ensure that we do everything to make sure our world and nation does not remain in the realm of survival of the fittest alone but survival of both the weak and strong.”

 

The United Nations Secretary-General’s message on World Food Day was read by Ambassador for Peace Bede Ekeh, founder of LOGON, an NGO working with several women farmers in Nigeria. In various goodwill messages, UPF-Nigeria was commended for the idea of connecting the UN food for all to a new level with the Food for Peace initiative. The messages came from the commissioner of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, the director general of the National Agency for Food Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the national president of the South-South Apex Farmers Association, the commandant general of the Global Initiative for Harmony in Nigeria, and Mrs. Rosemary Effiong, national coordinator of the Society for Empowerment and Self Reliance, as well as the General Manager of 805 Restaurants Ltd., Sir Frederick James, Sr.

 

Mr. John Okwudili Ene, principal partner of the Horticulture Development Center, popularly known as “John the farmer,” gave an inspiring presentation in support of the Food for Peace initiative urging all stakeholders to work together to ensure that “no one goes to sleep without food or stays awake without food.” The director of UPF-Nigeria's Office of Resource Development, Una B. Smart, spoke passionately about the UPF Founders' investments in food and health technologies for healthy living and used the opportunity to introduce the Happy Health Neurostabilizer machine, which he mentioned has proved effective in treatment of pains, a common situation for local farmers in Nigeria, and offered to introduce training programs for leaders of the farmers’ association on the use of the machine for healthy living for peace.

 

The keynote presentation on the Food for Peace initiative was presented by Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko, secretary general of UPF-Nigeria. The presentation outlined the need for the initiative as well as the methodology being adopted to ensure that food contributes to peacebuilding in Nigeria. The initiative seeks to create a global culture for food production, distribution and consumption as well as mobilization of an interdependent community of stakeholders committed to food for all to live in peace. [For the text of his message, click here.]

 

It was also explained that the idea of the Food for Peace initiative was strengthened by Mr. Abiola Aloba, an intern serving with UPF-Nigeria from the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan, who has just completed his Master's degree in peace and conflict studies with a specialty in humanitarian and refugee affairs. His voluntary service with passion, determination and commitment inspired the creation of the Humanitarian Affairs unit in the office of the secretary general of UPF-Nigeria and led to the planning and outreach efforts for the launch of the Food for Peace initiative.

 

With positive commendations from participants, the representative of the Global Women Farmers Association called on the UPF to intensify her efforts to ensure that access to food becomes a reality for all people. There was also a call on government to recognize the efforts of UPF-Nigeria in the task of building a peaceful Nigeria. A voice vote in support of the launch of the Food for Peace initiative in Nigeria signaled the formal proclamation of the initiative, with a call to reach out to all stakeholders and design innovative programs including education, food drives, food banks, hosting of Food for Peace forums, dinners, awareness and advocacy campaigns as well as the establishment of peace farms and working with agricultural science teachers to train young farmers for peace, among others.

 

The event was enriched further with the presentation of awards to some agencies and establishment that are making efforts toward creating access to qualitative and quantitative food for all people in Nigeria. The National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) received the UPF-Nigeria World Food Day 2014 award for regulation of food services, while the following hotels were presented with the World Food Day Award 2014 for creating access to food for all:

 

• 805 Restaurant, Abuja

• Beverly Hotels, Wuse 2, Abuja

• Agura Hotels, Area 10, Abuja

• Hungryman Restaurant

 

Also, 13 leaders of farmers associations received certificates as Ambassadors for Peace and were inducted into the Food for Peace Initiative Committee. Recipients expressed their appreciation to the UPF and pledged to work in the Food for Peace Initiative to ensure that everyone has access to food and that when people eat they should eat to live in peace.

 

The event ended with a banquet of different varieties of food served by the women to all participants. UPF-Nigeria is determined to follow up with the initiative and work toward securing land in Abuja and other communities for the farms for peace programs of the initiative. Ambassadors for Peace were encouraged to spread the message of the 2014 World Food Day focused on family farming to all communities in Nigeria.

 

The World Food Day event in Nigeria was reported by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria network radio and the Kapital FM as well as Love FM and Hot FM in Abuja.

 

Background

 

On April 28, 2014, UPF-Nigeria delivered thousands of yams raised through the support of four Ambassadors for Peace: Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Hajiya Dr. Maryam C. Abdullahi, and Sir Chief Polycarp and Lady Helen NDOUNTENG JP, under the Ambassadors for Peace Emergency Relief Project for the internally displaced persons in Benue State. During the presentation of the over 4000 tubers of yams to the displaced persons, H.E. the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Steven Lawani received the yams on behalf of the people.

 

The supplies were followed by UPF's message of peace to the displaced persons. The summary of the message based on the inspiration of the UPF Founder was "take these items; use them to gain energy but not to seek revenge. These are food for peace, eat them but live in peace no matter the situation." These words have become the common expressions among the beneficiaries and the people who witnessed it. On this foundation, UPF is determined to build on the Food for Peace idea.

 

During the 2014 UN International Day of Peace, the conclusion of the week-long activities was a Dinner for Peace, where Ambassadors for Peace again endorsed the idea of Food for Peace and requested the Secretariat to work toward the formal launch of the Food for Peace initiative.