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Sowing change: my experience of food security advocacy

By Marina Bonnin, Youth ambassador in Ontario

Photo de groupe : nos ambassadrices jeunesse Marina Bonnin et Ivanna Romero y sont présentes. | Group photo: our youth ambassadors Marina Bonnin and Ivanna Romero are present.

From April 27 to May 1, I had the honor of taking part in the Hunger on the Hill event organized by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB), a coalition of churches and church-based organizations, including Development and Peace – Caritas Canada, that conducts advocacy in Canada and works with local partners in the Global South to end hunger. The event was organized to give young people the opportunity to advocate for dedicating funds to resilient agriculture. After several days of intensive training, we were able to put our skills into practice during some interesting meetings with several Members of Parliament in Ottawa. 

My attendance at this event was truly enriching for me. Firstly, I had the opportunity to learn more about global food security, a subject I was already passionate about. I was also able to learn more about advocacy. For me, advocacy is a powerful act that touches the very depths of my convictions. It was an honor to have had the opportunity to make my voice heard by political decision-makers and to defend the interests of those who do not have the opportunity to do so themselves.

Nos ambassadrices jeunesse Marina Bonnin (à gauche) et Ivanna Romero (à droite) | Our youth ambassadors Marina Bonnin (left) and Ivanna Romero (right)

It was also a real challenge because although Parliament is bilingual, the CFGB is an anglophone institution, and so, as a francophone, arguing in a language that is not my own, was no easy task.  That is why this experience taught me the importance of pushing one’s limits and getting out of one’s comfort zone. All too often, we put up barriers that hold us back, but when we go beyond them, we discover a world of infinite opportunities that opens up to us. This wasn’t just an individual experience; it was also the result of real teamwork. We all faced personal challenges. But thanks to our mutual support and team spirit, we could overcome them to make the event a success.

After taking part in this event, I would like to send a message to all the young people reading this: we can be the agents of change for the future. By getting involved in causes that are close to our hearts, we can not only enrich our own lives, but also make a positive contribution to society. I am convinced that everyone has the potential to make a difference in the world.

Marina Bonnin (complètement à gauche)   et d'autres jeunes | Marina Bonnin (far left) and other young people

In closing, I would like to express my deep gratitude to everyone who made this event possible: the Canadian Foodgrains Bank team, my fellow participants and the MPs who took the time to listen to us. Of course, I would also like to thank Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada, without whom this experience would not have been possible. Thank you for allowing me this unforgettable adventure , which has strengthened my desire to pursue my commitment to a more just and equitable world for all.

Ivanna Romero, our youth ambassador for Western Canada, also shared her experience:

Ivanna Romero (complètement à gauche) et d'autres jeunes | Ivanna Romero (far left) and other young people

“At the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s Hunger on the Hill Young Voices meeting in Ottawa, we received training on how to approach MPs and how to ask for more funding and aid for ending global hunger. This was a wonderful experience for us as we never imagined that we would be speaking personally to MPs of all political parties. I also had the chance to attend the Question Period in the House of Commons. That, I will never forget. I am very grateful for this experience and happy that my voice has been heard for those who can’t raise their voice. I wasn’t only representing the youth, but my own community, women’s empowerment and the people in the global south.”

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