Students work toward food for all

Brian Choptain

Students from Lac du Bonnet Senior School take part in the fact or fiction quiz.

Students from Lac du Bonnet Senior School take part in the fact or fiction quiz.

Food Security. What is it? How do we meet this challenge? What can you do?

The Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC) hosted its first session of six on Nov. 14 in Beausejour at the Sun-Gro Centre.

Janice Hamilton, executive director of MCIC, explained the importance of the program.

“This is the fifth year of the program, each year we do a different theme. The program fits into the curriculum and it helps students recognize the right and wrong in the world. Middle year students are eager to learn and share their knowledge. It also gives them a few skills.”

“It can also be a catalyst to get things going in local schools.”

Six students each from Clearspring, East Selkirk, Edward Schreyer, Lac du Bonnet, Niverville, Pinawa, Ross L. Gray and Whitemouth took part in the one-day conference.

“We have six conferences this year, and we have to actually turn some schools away because of the high interest.”

Amy Usackis, teacher from Lac du Bonnet, said students were “planing to host a hunger banquet, to raise money and awareness about world hunger.”

Edward Scheyer School students discussed with their teacher, Kelly Otto, what they learned from the conference.

“It was very eye opening to them, because they weren’t aware that 830 million people were hungry, said Otto.

“They learned about the difference about hunger and malnourishment and they like hearing the stories.”

Edward Schreyer School plans are to work on making a video to raise awarenss in their school about food security.

Student feedback was also very positive about the conference.

This year’s theme was food security. Students took part in a series of activities that help them understand why there is hunger in the world.

Students learned what hunger looks like, then took part in an interactive fact or fiction quiz on hunger, voting for their choices on remote devices.

The activity brought awareness to how often hungry people often do not eat the right kinds of food. Other people are hungry from growing cash crops like cocoa beans that are sold for export.

The increase in meat consumption was also brought to students’ attention. The grain alone used to feed livestock in the U.S. could feed 800 million people. Or if people did not eat meat for one day, the savings would equal 3.7 million cars not driving for a week.

Student watched a video showing how hunger forced families into making choices as who would go to school. In Malawi, boys would go to school while girls would stay home.

After the video, students took part in a simulation game called the Causes of Hunger.

Student groups had to separate a pile of corn, beans, and rocks in a set amount of time. If they were able to separate enough food, it showed that they could feed themselves, without using the money they had been given.

MCIC received $1 million from the province last year. It is a coalition of over 40 organizations involved in international development.

MCIC is responsible for distributing provincial funds designated for international development and emergency relief and rehabilitation and works within Manitoba to build understanding and engagement on international issues.

“These organizations have raised $25 million from Manitobans for international projects,” said Janice.

“These groups listen to communities, identify the needs and how to help them.”

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