UCL News


Starved for attention: the neglected crisis of childhood malnutrition

14 January 2011

Alisha Allana (UCL Biosciences), President of the UCLU Friends of Médecins Sans Frontières, describes the charity’s campaign on childhood malnutrition, and how UCL students can support it.

'The malnutrition that shouldn't be', Franco Pagetti/MSF

“As members of UCLU Friends of MSF, we are dedicated to raising both awareness and money for the international humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières.

Despite the name, we are open to everyone: medical and non-medical students, and we hold a huge range of events: from talks and film screenings, to fundraiser events and pub quizzes!

Last year, Médecins Sans Frontières and VII Photo launched ‘Starved for Attention’, a multimedia campaign exposing the neglected and largely invisible crisis of childhood malnutrition, through a series of short films from award-winning photojournalists.

Here at UCL, we want to raise awareness about the campaign and enable students to find out more about the malnutrition ‘hotspots’ around the world and the underlying causes of this crisis, as well as innovative approaches to combat this condition. The films capture frontline stories of malnutrition from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the DRC, Djibouti, India, Mexico and the USA.

Malnutrition contributes to at least a third of the eight million annual deaths of children under five years of age. By signing the ‘Starved for Attention’ online petition and getting involved with Friends of MSF at UCL, you can be part of the campaign to rewrite the story of malnutrition and demand that the 195 million malnourished children get the attention they need and deserve to escape the deadly cycle of malnutrition.

We believe that it is important to promote the work MSF carries out, not only in the high profile danger zones and disaster areas, but also in more neglected areas. Here, MSF aims to tackle longer term problems such as malnutrition and set efficient plans into place in order to allow populations to live comfortably and improve their lives.

UCLU Friends of MSF will be launching the campaign on Monday 17 January, with the campaign film screening. There will be refreshments, including samples of Plumpy Nut, the therapeutic food given to malnourished children by MSF. We will also be raising money for this campaign at various events throughout the term, including at the UCLU Live Music Society Battle of the Bands.”

Image: Detail of ‘The malnutrition that shouldn’t be: DRC’, Franco Pagetti/MSF


  • ‘Starved for Attention’ campaign launch/film screening

Date: Monday 17th January 2011

Time: 6pm

Place: Darwin Biochemistry LT (Darwin Building via Malet Place)

Come along to find out more about the MSF campaign to rewrite the story of malnutrition and give 195 million children the attention they deserve to escape this deadly cycle. The campaign includes a series of short films from award-winning photojournalists that capture frontline stories from around the world.

There will be refreshments – including samples of Plumpy Nut, the therapeutic food given to malnourished children by MSF.

  • Friends of MSF Charity Run 2011

Who? 300 students and staff from UCL, Imperial, Kings, Barts and other universities around the south east of England, staff from MSF UK and anyone wishing to support MSF

When? 9am, Sunday 20th March 2010

Where? Regents Park, London

What?! 5 and 10km runs in aid of MSF

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