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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 10, 1998 - PACNEWS)---A United Nations-sponsored global television fund raising initiative to raise people's awareness about hunger, malnutrition and food security has helped kick-off a financial aid program for food projects worldwide, including the Pacific Islands region.

During October last year, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized TeleFood, a live fundraising telecast involving 60 countries.

Aimed at raising people's awareness about food-related issues around the world, the initiative was part of a follow-up to the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome, where leaders of 186 countries pledged their efforts to cut by half, the number of the world's hungry by the year 2015.

As planned, money collected from the initiative is going toward funding practical grassroots projects, targeting poor farmers, foresters and fisherfolk in the developing world to increase production and ensure access to food for all those in need.

Using proceeds from the TeleFood campaign, the FAO has set up a TeleFood Special Fund, which will cover assistance to almost all developing countries.

In each country, the program will include one or more projects for an amount of between US$ 5-10 thousand.

From the Fund, the FAO has approved 14 projects for the South Pacific. These projects will be implemented by government departments concerned and coordinated and monitored by the FAO sub-regional office in Apia, Samoa.

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