Below is a guest post from one of our Global Travel Scholars, Matthew McDonald. Through the program, Matthew received a scholarship to travel to Botswana in the Summer of 2014. While in Botswana, Matthew lived with rural host families in a village south of the capital, as well as in northern Botswana, where he ate traditional food, practiced the native language, and generally learned about the culture of Botswana through immersion and participation. In the blog post below, Matthew illustrates how his experiences in the Global Travel Scholarship Program expanded his world view and inspired him to start an effort to bring local attention to the global issue of hunger.
Last summer, I had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad and study the wildlife, ecology, and culture of Botswana, Africa thanks to the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s Global Travel Scholarship Program. My experiences abroad, as well as knowing the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh’s mission to spread global awareness, made me eager to make a difference in my own community. I thought to myself, “How can I help the people around me become more globally aware?” Then, it hit me. Each year my school’s chapter of the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization, H.G. Parkinson FFA, which I was President of, holds an open house for community members and students at my school. During this open house, we showcase our FFA chapter and educate others about agriculture.
Typically, members present about agriculture in our area and in America at large. This year however, I initiated a theme that discussed agriculture from all around the globe, including how people in certain areas of our world are faced with malnourishment and what organizations are doing to help prevent this. Each group of members chose a different country and created a presentation about the agriculture found there, while the senior officers of our chapter, including myself, presented about organizations that are seeking to create a food-secure world. Some of these organizations included World Vision, Project Heifer, and our local food banks.
I was honored to present about Elanco’s Enough Movement. Elanco, a global animal health company, created a report called the “Enough Report” which outlines what it will take to feed our growing population. Within the next thirty-five years, the world’s population is expected to increase by nearly two billion people, making the total a whopping nine billion people. That said, we must find a way to not only feed the people of today, but also the people of tomorrow. Elanco is doing just that! They have already outlined three solutions to creating a food-secure tomorrow: innovation, choice, and trade. Elanco says that by enabling innovation, allowing consumer choice, and reducing the politics of trade we can create a world where nobody has to go to bed hungry. I know what you are probably thinking — “This is great, but how in the world am I going to play a part in creating sustainable agriculture or reducing international tariffs on trade?” Well, fortunately for you, there is a way to get involved. Perhaps the simplest way we all can make a difference is by being advocates. How do we do this — how do we help provide organizations with necessary resources, educate people with the facts of world hunger, and spread the word? One way we can do this is on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. As part of my presentation, I had elementary students at my school get their picture taken behind a cardboard cutout that said, “We’ve had enough!” and posted them on Twitter using #feedthe9. As a result, we were spreading awareness and even gained the attention of Elanco themselves. It was that easy!
You see, you do not have to be a farmer, scientist, or a politician to play a part in creating a hunger-free world. You simply have to be an advocate. Everyday consumers like you and I have more than enough capability to earn this title and I hope that we all will. Let’s not stop here! Let’s continue the movement to create a more globally aware and hunger-free world! To learn more about the Elanco’s, “Enough Movement,” and how you can get involve, visit:
How will you join the movement and play your part in this life-saving mission?
Tweets from H.G. Parkinson FFA, Feb 2015, Twitter