Martin Fergus 2018

Martin C. Fergus, PhD

Ed. Notes- This coming Wednesday, May 9th, we are launching a new project and Idea Clearing House weekly publication. We could think of no one better qualified to kick STUDENTS SPEAK off than KIDS Advisory Board Member, Martin c. Fergus.

Iearn-KIDS ushers in the next generation of hunger solvers

By Martin C. Fergus

One of the greatest challenges faced by anti-hunger activists is what some have referred to as the “graying of the movement.” As time passes, it has become increasingly clear that we have not had great success in recruiting new and younger participants. If the anti-hunger movement is to survive and in fact thrive, it is essential that young people become involved, so there is a new generation of anti-hunger activists.

It is here that the partnership between the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) and Kids Can Make a Difference (KIDS) comes in. Their joint Finding Solutions to Hunger, Inequality and Poverty project is all about educating and mobilizing the next generation of anti-hunger activists. Central to its work is Stephanie Kempf’s Finding Solutions to Hunger: A Sourcebook For Middle and Upper School Teachers. Using this resource, teachers around the world help their students understand what hunger is, why people are hungry and, equally important, what we can do to help end hunger.

Use of the teacher’s guide creates the possibility of collaboration between schools, where students can share their projects with each other and learn from this exchange. This provides an opportunity for students from schools with dramatically different socio-economic backgrounds to view the issue from another perspective, as was the case with one school in Trenton, New Jersey paired with one in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A school on New York’s Long Island using Skype was able to conduct a classroom-to-classroom video discussion with students in several different countries, by responding to projects posted by these other schools on the iEARN Website. A similar interchange occurred between a school in Tunisia and another school in Taiwan.

Out of such collaboration has emerged something new – the Finding Solutions to Hunger Student Ambassadors, facilitated by iEARN’s Mary Brownell. As Ms. Brownell tells it:

More than a year ago, a wonderful teacher from the Pakistan International School [in] Doha-Qatar, Ambreen Mehboob, joined iEARN’s project Finding Solutions to Hunger… Ambreen’s class became one of the strongest collaborative groups the project has sustained in many months. From that original class of students, a small group of girls asked if they might continue their involvement on an independent basis. Thus, were the Finding Solutions to Hunger Student Ambassadors established… They have become an integral part of the forum posting among students in ways that I only imagined could be possible. They have helped to plant seeds of action and understanding in the minds of many, many students in countries across the landscape of our world. I could not have done this without them.

These students have not only been educated about hunger and it’s causes, they have also been motivated to get involved, right now, while they are still young. They learned that they do not have to “wait until they grow up” before they act. And there is no more powerful way to stimulate the development of future anti-hunger activists than having them take action today. When they take the lead and see that their actions make a difference, this creates a feeling of empowerment and a commitment to future action. Nothing could provide hope for the rest of us more effectively than this.

Martin C. Fergus, Ph.D., is Associate Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Fordham University and a member of the KIDS advisory board. He currently resides in Minneapolis, where he remains active in the hunger ministry of his local congregation and serves along with his wife, Dottie, on the Twin Cities’ Metro Area Team of Bread for the World (www.breadmn.org). He may be contacted at fergus@fordham.edu or martinfergus@hotmail.com.

eliminate hunger

About us

Kids Can Make a Difference is a program of iEARN (International Education and Resource Network), the world's largest non-profit global network. iEARN enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

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