More than 20,000 children across 42 countries will take part in Save the Children’s Race for Survival, a global relay race to raise awareness on the urgent need to tackle child malnutrition. Children from Australia to Brazil, Zambia to Afghanistan will run on October 16th, coinciding with World Food Day, to bring attention to this underlying cause of a third of all child deaths, with 2.3 million dying in 2011 alone.
The children have invited politicians and celebrities to the event so they can highlight the importance of ending child malnutrition. In Asia, the countries racing include Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
“Every hour of everyday 780 children die before their fifth birthday. Malnutrition is an underlying cause in a third of those deaths. Children from around the world are running today to send a message that world leaders need to end this hidden crisis,” said Jasmine Whitbread, Save the Children’s chief executive.
Olympic athletes and celebrities around the world will lead this challenge. They will bring together teams of children aged 11 to 13 running the marathon distance of 26.2 miles in relays and try to beat Patrick Makau’s world record of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds.
Save the Children in collaboration with Google+ will also host a 12-hour ‘Great Debate’ on child survival on the Google+ hangout platform. A total of 30 panellists from 15 countries, including celebrities, politicians, civil society actors and children, will discuss ways to avoid millions of preventable child deaths.
The world is reaching a crucial moment in the global effort to end preventable child deaths. The number of children dying before their fifth birthday across the world has almost halved in a generation, from 12 million to 6.9 million in the last decade. But the fight is not over. While progress is being made, the global decline is still too slow to achieve the Millennium Development Goal on child survival by the 2015 deadline.
As leaders discuss rising food prices and stimulating economic growth, they should also meet previously agreed global targets to reduce child malnutrition.
Join the Save the Children/Google+ ‘Great Debate’: www.raceforsurvival.net
To follow the schools in the world participating in this race, please visit: www.competitioncentre.net/map
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