TNT feels proud of the fact that a small employee event grew into a large global manifestation to end child hunger. - Ludo Oelrich, Programme Director MtW
It was the first time that the WFP took the overall lead in organising Walk the World and hundred thousands of walkers stepped forward at 421 locations in 118 countries. Once again TNT played a key role in this groundbreaking event, organising walks and attracting additional participants and sponsors. Other humanitarian organisations such as Caritas and WorldVision also joined in the Walk this year. “It’s a great start in the fight against hunger,” said Peter Bakker, TNT’s CEO whilst walking in Madrid, “We said we should make this into a really big event and it happened. We are really proud of what we have achieved.”
The Walk started at 10 o’clock in the morning in Auckland, New Zealand and proceeded through the world’s 24 time zones, ending in Apia, the capital of the Pacific Ocean island of Samoa.
International capitals, rural communities, neighbourhoods and historical landmarks served as the backdrop to Walks which varied in size and style. In northern Uganda, on a hot and sunny day, more than 100,000 displaced people living in camps participated in the Walk. In the Bolivian capital La Paz, two brothers were reunited after having been separated for six years. Both are being fed by two separate school feeding programmes administered by WFP. Participants in Lesotho had a wonderful time during the 11km Walk in Maseru, which was led by the country’s Hon. Queen 'MaSenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso. The President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was at the head of a 30,000-strong crowd through Monrovia that ended in the City Stadium.
In Indonesia, a world champion swimmer set a new world record on behalf of Walk the World by crossing the treacherous Bali Straits, while other supporters of ending child hunger were planting “Walk the World: Fight Hunger” flags on Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro summits. The call to end child hunger was heard in Red Square in Moscow, on The Great Wall of China, in the historic centres of Budapest and Prague, in the old cities of Amman and Cairo, and in hundreds of other locations in all continents around the globe.
During the Walks, TNT and WFP people kept good company with some VIP’s such as Mr. Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who joined the Walk in Lisbon, Portugal, and Princess Haya of Dubai, WFP Goodwill Ambassador walking in London, UK. Even Pope Benedict XVI expressed his support in his special Sunday morning address.
Activities to support the Walk started on May 19 in Rome and in Dubai. The Cirque du Soleil performed in front of the Coliseum in Rome where Jim Morris of WFP and Ludo Oelrich, Programme Director MtW, spoke to the public and press. “TNT feels proud of the fact that a small employee event grew into a large global manifestation to end child hunger,” said Oelrich.
Even though this year’s Walk focused on participation from TNT rather than fundraising, TNT people still raised over € 780,000 – enough to feed and educate more than 31.000 children for a year through WFP’s Global School Feeding Campaign. These funds will be used for School Feeding Programmes in the adopted twinning countries.