Dancing to African beat in fight against world hunger
THE rich, diverse and colourful heritage of Africa was celebrated yesterday ahead of a major two-day conference on combating world hunger.
Music, food and culture from more than 20 African countries were showcased in Dublin.
Visitors took a crash course in Ugandan and Bini dancing, learned Swahili phrases, and modelled traditional Kasai costumes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The event in the Iveagh Gardens was hosted by Irish Aid, the government's overseas development programme.
The celebration was staged as up to 200 people arrived in the capital to identify practical ways of tackling the global hunger crisis.
Overseas Development Minister Peter Power said it was crucial that the eradication of hunger remained at the heart of all development efforts.
"It is simply unacceptable that more than one billion people in the world are hungry," he said. "Halving the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015 will require a concerted, co-ordinated effort to make hunger our top priority.
"We must adopt a comprehensive approach that is focused on increasing farmers' productivity and improving maternal and infant nutrition."
Tom Arnold of Concern said he was pleased that talks on how to reduce hunger were taking place in Ireland.
"Governments, civil society groups and the private sector must find new and better ways of working together if hunger is to be defeated," he said.
"I am particularly pleased that Irish Aid and Concern are combining with the UN to show leadership in sustaining momentum for policy change aimed at significantly reducing the number of hungry people in the world."