Kiwanis International awards 2014 World Service Medal to founder of Table for Two

Masa Kogure is honoured for his dedication to ending hunger in Africa while curbing obesity in developed nations

Masa Kogure, founder of Table For Two, has been awarded the 2014 World Service Medal by Kiwanis International, for his dedication to ending hunger in Africa while curbing obesity in developed nations.

Table For Two (TFT) was established in Japan in 2007 with the goal of simultaneously tackling health problems and addressing obesity through a unique 'calorie transfer' concept in which calories from one part of the world with an excess are transferred to populations in need.

The company is one of Japan's fastest-growing nonprofit organisations and has distributed more than 16 million meals to African children.

'Our approach is to help by providing school meals. But longer term, that's not sustainable. The communities we assist need to be self-sustaining,' Kogure said.

'With this in mind, we have already started trialling projects where students learn about the latest farming technology after school. They then become advocates of modern farming, and so the students become teachers and help spread the knowledge. We also encourage them to grow cash crops in their school gardens so they can earn money that they then use to purchase the main staples they need for meals.'

Kiwanis International President Gunter Gasser said: 'We were impressed with Masa Kogure's ingenuity and dedication to solving two world issues.

'His passion fits well with Kiwanis' mission: to serve the children of the world. Childhood obesity and childhood hunger are two very different problems that affect the world's children. We must do what we can to help.'

TFT works with 500 partners in the developed world in Japan, US, UK, Switzerland, India, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong, including corporate cafeterias, university dining halls, governments and public restaurants. Partners serve balanced meals to their clients and transfer US$ 0.25 per meal (the value of the excess calories) to TFT and its Millennium Village Project, which currently serves nearly 19,000 schoolchildren in Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda. TFT options are also sold in more than 400 convenience stores in Japan.

US-based Kiwanis International is a global organisation of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world.

The Kiwanis International Board of Trustees established the Kiwanis World Service Medal in 1985 to recognise individuals who devote a significant part of their lives to meeting the needs of others.

The World Service Medal is presented annually. Previous winners have included Mother Teresa, actors and humanitarians Sir Roger Moore and Audrey Hepburn and US First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Rosalynn Carter.

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