Cover Image
close this bookA Better World in 2020 - Wake-Up Calls from the Next Generation (IFPRI, 2001, 34 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentSharing their worries, Sharing their hopes
Open this folder and view contentsEssay Competition Grand Prize Winner
Open this folder and view contentsEssay Competition Runner Up

Sharing their worries, Sharing their hopes

We must not perceive hunger as a hopeless, unsolvable dilemma. Underneath all the statistics, charts, and data sheets are people. They are people with talents and abilities, waiting for an opportunity to really live; people just like you and me.

Micah Ballinger
16 years old
Midland, Virginia, USA

Callie Constable
16 years old
Midland, Virginia, USA

Read the inspiring texts over the next many pages, take a look at the vivid pictures accompanying them. They all tell stories from a concerned young generation. None of them are advocating a continuation of the current state of affairs - which appears so often to be the attitude of a weary and complacent world.

There are many indignant voices here, pointing to unfair distribution of wealth, welfare, opportunities, and our daily bread. But they are also asking for change, from within deprived communities and from a world rich enough in resources to give everyone a fair share.

Uppermost in the minds of virtually everyone speaking out here - and in the many more contributions not finding their way into this booklet - is fear and anxiety about when war may erupt. Riots, uprisings, and civil unrest are a scary reality in the regions of these youngsters. This does not, of course, reflect the global situation, but it occupies everyone’s mind: “Work for peace, you who are in charge,” these voices are saying. In more cases than you might like to know, leaders are labeled rulers, and far too often-for their or our comfort-they are regarded as an elite not preoccupied with the welfare of their people, but rather bent on accumulating personal wealth. We need honest folks (often understood as women) at the helm for things to improve, according to the voices here.

So they also trust leaders to work for change: To be bold and shift priorities toward improvement of the welfare of the poor, so that the poor can do more with their own plentiful human resources. Had they been in on the development jargon, they would have talked of empowerment.

Most of the young people speaking their heart here are urban dwellers. And they understand perfectly well that only if the quality of rural life is lifted, if facilities are brought there, will people want to continue a productive life on the land. So such a lift is necessary, because the farmers are the genuine breadwinners of their nations. We should honor these hardworking women and men and put pride and prestige back in agriculture, say our young writers and artists.

Whether they are from developing or developed countries, the voices here agree that development aid and food programs are vital ingredients in present and future efforts to end hunger. So “keep it up,” is the message from all sides. But the real important steps to take are centered round better agricultural policies, credit, access to markets, infrastructure, and population programs - and, not least, education and extension. In short: Shift the priority towards agriculture.

One embarrassing message to affluent people everywhere: Give up your disgusting habit of loading your plate with more than you can eat. Not necessarily the solution to world hunger, but it might remind you of your obligations to contribute what you can!

One hopeful message to the world community: It is uplifting to see the trust placed in international cooperation, and not least the United Nations system. All you who have not lost hope in global undertakings should know how much they are admired out there by the next generation and how high are their expectations.

Let us hope - and work - for a better world, so that they do not lose faith.

Ebbe Schi/B>

Chair of the poster and essay juries for the 2020 Vision Initiative competition

Poster Competition Grand Prize Winner: “My Vision of How to Make a Better 2020”

Kayla Horn
10 years old

Becky Bruning
9 1/2 years old
Ellisville, Missouri, USA

I thought to myself that here we have nearly 800 million people going to bed hungry every night, around 170 million kids starving or ending up malnourished, because they do not have proper food to eat, but what do powerful institutions do about it? Hardly anything, just encourage people to enter contests like these, and then what? Tell me how would this contest help in giving the boy who begs before my house even one meal, how would it benefit any starving person in this world? But then the more I thought about it the more I started appreciating the idea. I think maybe now I DO understand why contests like this are held, probably to sensitize us, probably to make us aware or maybe to get new ideas. Whatever the reason, I think it worked -at least for me it did. I hope that my contribution will help.

Tarini Nair
16 years old
Ghaziabad, India

Poster Competition Runner Up - Class 6c/sk
Tilst, Denmark