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IFAD launches dance challenge to empower rural youth to fight rising hunger

  • Published at 09:52 pm May 29th, 2019
IFAD launches dance challenge to empower rural youth to fight rising hunger
MTV award-winning choreographer Sherrie Silver and Nigerian singing sensation Eazi call on young people to #DanceforChange and help send an important message to world leaders: Invest more in rural youth and agriculture UN/Ifad

IFAD will use results from the dance challenge in their advocacy efforts to remind world leaders of the need to increase investments in agriculture as well as long-term development and training for rural youth

The United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has launched an innovative global dance challenge, asking young people to make their moves matter and record a 15-second dance video in support of creating opportunities for rural youth in some of the world's poorest countries.

The virtual dance petition, launched this week on TikTok, the short-form mobile video platform, asks world leaders to invest more in sustainable agriculture and young people as a means to end global poverty and hunger.

IFAD will use results from the dance challenge in their advocacy efforts to remind world leaders of the need to increase investments in agriculture as well as long-term development and training for rural youth.

There are 1.2 billion young people (aged 15-24) in the world including over 30 million in Bangladesh today. Over 80% of these young people live in developing countries, and their numbers are fast-growing in low-income countries where poverty remains the most intractable in rural areas.

Some 821 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth. More than half of the world’s malnourished children live in Asia and the Pacific. And Bangladesh is the third country with the highest prevalence of undernourished persons of South Asia. 

#DanceforChange features MTV award-winning choreographer Sherrie Silver, also IFAD's Advocate for Rural Youth, and African recording artist Eazi. The Nigerian singer Eazi’s full name is Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade. 

The pair have teamed up to bring attention to the need for increased agricultural investment as a means to generate opportunities and hope for millions of rural youth while making the world more food secure amidst rising global hunger. 

In a pre-launch promotion on TikTok, nearly 5,000 people from around the world have created unique video dances and memes in support of the cause. The highest audience engagement so far has been in Canada, India, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“We are dancing to capture the world’s attention and to share a message with young people everywhere: our generation can end global hunger, but only if our leaders invest more in agriculture and the next generation of young farmers,” said Silver according to an IFAD press release issued on Wednesday. 

Silver, who choreographed a special dance move for the challenge and music video for the campaign featuring rural youth in an IFAD-support project in Cameroon dancing to a song written by Eazi, was born in Rwanda and educated in the United Kingdom. She is best known for her choreography work in Childish Gambino’s Grammy Award-winning video, This Is America.

“We want world leaders to know that young people in rural areas are a tremendous resource. They have the power to feed the world and transform food systems if given the opportunity to succeed,” she said.

Eazi, a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur, recorded the song "Freedom" in support of the campaign and dance challenge with fellow artists J. Derobie and Guiltybeatz. The song aims to show a positive depiction of agriculture and attract young people to farming.

“More investment in young people and farming means more food, more jobs and more freedom for us all,” Eazi said in a recorded message on TikTok encouraging users to take part in the challenge.

In mid-June, Ifad will release the 2019 Rural Development Report: Creating Opportunities for Rural Youth, which examines the crucial role that rural youth can play in transforming global food systems and building rural economies in developing countries over the coming decade.