SASKATOON, Sept. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (PotashCorp) and Free The Children, a leading international development organization, have announced a multi-year partnership to help address international food security and encourage youth in Saskatchewan and across Canada to take on this challenge locally and globally. Bill Doyle, President and Chief Executive Officer of PotashCorp, made the announcement with Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger at a Saskatoon high school.
The partnership includes the introduction of an Agriculture and Food Security pillar to Free The Children's long-term and sustainable Adopt a Village program, which helps lift rural communities in developing countries out of poverty through long term sustainable infrastructure and programming. PotashCorp is the Founding Partner of Free The Children's fifth Adopt a Village pillar, which joins the program's four existing pillars of Education, Health, Clean Water and Sanitation and Alternative Income and Livelihood. The Agriculture and Food Security pillar will be added to programming in all eight of Free The Children's Adopt a Village countries: India, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Kenya, Haiti, Ghana and rural China.
"As the world grows from seven billion people today to an estimated nine billion by 2050, food security will continue to be a pressing issue," said Doyle. "This partnership combines our agricultural expertise with Free The Children's successful development model to help bring the issue of food security to light and ensure that communities in need have the knowledge, resources and tools to farm optimally."
"The majority of families within our communities are subsistence farmers. Over the years, we've witnessed changing weather patterns and desertification, leading to production issues and higher food prices in many of our communities. Despite interventions, malnutrition and food security persist as challenges across all of our countries of operation," said Craig Kielburger, Free The Children co-founder.
"Thanks to our partnership with PotashCorp, thousands of people in our communities will receive training, education and resources on farming practices and pasture development, helping enhance food security in these regions."
In addition to the sponsorship of the new Agriculture and Food Security pillar, the partnership will also see PotashCorp support Free The Children's work with six communities in India, China and Kenya on agricultural initiatives at the home, school and community levels.
Further to supporting agricultural programming in developing communities, PotashCorp and Free The Children are committed to engaging youth across Canada on the issue of global and local food security. This includes the development of educational materials focused on food security for use in classrooms in a number of provinces, as well as a national school speaking tour. PotashCorp will also sponsor 25 students from across Canada (including three students from Saskatchewan and two in New Brunswick) to travel overseas to volunteer in a Free The Children community each year.
PotashCorp employees will also have the opportunity to volunteer with Free The Children initiatives in Canada and will have a chance to travel overseas to volunteer in Free The Children communities.
"We understand that access to healthy, nutritious food is difficult for many communities around the world," Doyle said. "We see this partnership with Free The Children as far reaching. Through sustainable development and education, we will team our efforts and affect positive change in our local and international communities."
We Day Comes to Saskatchewan
The two organizations also announced that Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event, We Day, will be brought to Saskatchewan by PotashCorp for the first time on February 27, 2013 at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon. Performers will be announced later this year.
We Day, a cutting edge movement promoting active citizenship, is held in cities across Canada. These stadium-sized events connect world-renowned speakers and performers - from President Mikhail Gorbachev and Sir Richard Branson, to Nelly Furtado and Joe Jonas - together with thousands of students and educators in an inspirational setting to learn about many local and global issues. It is the kick-off to a year-long program of service that educates, engages and empowers students to become active citizens. More than 100,000 students are expected to participate in local We Day events in cities across Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, and now Saskatoon.
We Day events are free of charge for students and educators to attend. PotashCorp is supporting We Day nationally as a Presenting Sponsor, helping the event reach new levels. PotashCorp is also the Regional Title Sponsor of We Day Saskatchewan, making it possible for the event to be hosted in this province. As part of the company's sponsorship, educational programs kick-started by We Day Saskatchewan will be available to elementary and secondary schools across Saskatchewan.
"Free The Children's first We Day was five years ago in Toronto. This year, it will be our biggest We Day season to date," said Kielburger. "And thanks to the generous support and commitment from PotashCorp we are able to extend the We Day reach to Saskatchewan, where we hope to inspire and ignite a passion for change in the lives of thousands of youth throughout the province."
As the world's largest crop nutrient company, PotashCorp plays an integral role in global food production. The company produces the three essential nutrients required to help farmers grow healthier, more abundant crops. With global population rising and diets improving in developing countries, crop nutrients such as potash, phosphates and nitrogen offer a responsible and practical solution to help produce the food we need, from the land we have.
Free The Children is the world's largest network of children helping children through education, with more than one million youth involved in innovative education and development programs in 45 countries. The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's Nobel Prize), the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network.
SOURCE Free the Children