Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Meet Frank: An Aspiring Journalist, YouTube Star, and Malnutrition Survivor

April 12, 2013

I've just spent a week being shown around Tanzania by the most extraordinary young man. His name is Frank, he's 15 & when he was younger he nearly died from severe malnutrition.  Even now, he often only has two meals a day and struggles to learn at school as a result.

Sometimes people say that charities present people in Africa as being passive victims, that we might be defining Frank by the fact that he has suffered from hunger. What people often forget to do is ask the person in question.

Frank may be the least passive person I know but he has chosen, for now, to define himself by hunger. Not by the fact he has suffered from it, but by his dedication to spread the word about the dangers of malnutrition and campaign to bring about long term change.

He's an aspiring journalist - an aspiring campaigning journalist he reminds me - and has become Save the Children's ambassador as a result of his work on our young reporters network in Tanzania. With our young reporters team he makes radio programmes educating people about malnutrition & hunger which are then broadcast across the entire country. And now, he's leading the charge for the Enough Food for Everyone If campaign. In Tanzania 40% of children are chronically malnourished so there's still huge challenges ahead.

Last week I travelled to meet Frank with two of Save the Children's YouTube ambassadors: Britain's biggest YouTuber Charlie @charlieissocoollike and his campaigning teacher Mum @liliesarelike. They're now using their voices to campaign online - a very different medium to Frank's radio but one that can be just as powerful.

All three of us came away from Tanzania so by inspired Frank's determination and passion to use his voice to help end this avoidable problem of hunger. We know that the world already produces enough food for everyone so why doesn't everyone have enough food?

'If, If, If' Frank said to me at the end of the week. 'There are so many IFs, but between us I think we can make the IF campaign work'.

I hope you can join Frank, Lindsay, Charlie & I as we work to fulfil those IFs. You can sign up to the campaign and see the pictures and video from the trip at www.savethechildren.org.uk/ifyoutube and join in the conversation online using #ifyoutube.

If you want to see more of Frank & meet his family as we did please watch this YouTube video from @liliesarelike.  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=S_Gd5yVbG18

 
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