Address by Lois Brown: Live Below the Line Event

April 29, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario

Check Against Delivery

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Live Below the Line event on the Hill, which I am co-hosting with Ottawa’s own Micronutrient Initiative and RESULTS Canada.

I am proud to be a part of this wonderful grass-roots movement: thousands of people around the world are taking the Live Below the Line challenge to raise awareness of the extreme poverty experienced by 1.2 billion people every day.

So far, more than 25,000 people around the world have taken the challenge to eat and drink for $1.75 a day for five days, and have raised more than $4.4 million for the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations.

We can all make a difference—no matter what our age or situation—and this is a great opportunity to do so.

RESULTS Canada is a national network that shows that volunteers can help create the political will to end poverty and suffering.

As for the Micronutrient Initiative, I have been fortunate enough to actually see their work on the ground.

During my visit to Malawi, I witnessed the impact of the Micronutrient Initiative.

Malawi is an African country with great potential, but which, for historical and political reasons, has concentrated its agriculture on raising corn.

Now we all know that children can’t survive on corn for their diet. It may fill tummies, but for many years, the impact of this diet resulted in children afflicted with stunting. Not only do these little ones not grow—their cognitive abilities are challenged and they are at risk of disease because they are so fragile.

I saw how children who had not received the nutrients they needed in their first one thousands days of life suffered from the results of stunting: mental and physical impairment that robs them of the chance to thrive.

But they were fortunate that the Micronutrient Initiative was there to change all that.

Together with the Micronutrient Initiative, our government helped to found the Zinc Alliance for Child Health—a partnership between Canada, the Micronutrient Initiative and Teck Resources, a Canadian mining company that is one of the largest zinc producers in the world.

In 2013 support from this alliance made it possible for 8.2 million cases of childhood diarrhea, a leading killer of children, to be treated with zinc and oral rehydration solution.

And I was there to witness the profound difference these micronutrients were making.

In Malawi, at the hospital just outside of Lilongwe, I saw little packets embossed with a red maple leaf being administered to precious little ones, and changing their health, their families, and their futures.

Later, in Bangladesh, I was moved to see the impact of micronutrients in a country where deaths from childhood diarrhea are commonplace.

But once again, this was a story with a happy ending, because Canada was there through Micronutrient Initiative!

And we have an inspiring story to tell here.

Canadians are active and engaged global citizens, and when we join in activities such as Live Below the Line, we become better connected. Canadians are known for being compassionate and generous, and they want to help—because those are Canadian values and that is what Canadians do.

And now, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, it is my pleasure to introduce him to you.

Ladies and gentlemen, here is the Honourable Christian Paradis.