The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that 34-year-old Congolese professional footballer Distel Zola has been named a High-Level Supporter for healthy meals and better nutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). His appointment comes as the country faces high food insecurity and malnutrition levels.
As a high-level supporter, Zola will use his professional status to raise awareness about healthy eating, school meals, and malnutrition prevention among young people.
“I have long championed the need for young people to choose healthy food, I have seen first-hand how school meals benefit children and their families. As a father, I know how important a nutritious diet is for our children to learn and stay fit. I am delighted to be working with WFP in the DRC and hope to make a difference,” says Distel Zola.
Born on February 5, 1989, Distel Zola played for Monaco as a teenager, and his career then took him to France, Turkiye, and the United States. He represented the DRC’s national team, “The Leopards,” internationally. Distel plays for the Barbagiuans, a charitable team Prince Albert of Monaco owned. In 2021, he and his wife, Lorraine Lemaire, launched the Banazola Foundation to give Congolese children from deprived backgrounds a better future.
“We are thrilled to sign Distel Zola, and I am excited to see how we can bring young people together in the DRC to advocate for long-term solutions to malnutrition; we need to spread the word that healthy food means a healthy life. Zola is the perfect choice to help us raise this awareness,” says Peter Musoko, WFP’s Country Director in the DRC.
Zola joins WFP’s team of High-Level Supporters advocating for nutrition and food security improvements, including television personality and activist Eitan Bernath, best known on social media for his captivating nature and cooking expertise.
Approximately 2.8 million children and another 1.7 million pregnant and breastfeeding women and girls suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022.WFP plans to reach 500,000 students with school meals in 2023. While the number of people facing food insecurity across the country remains critical, WFP continues to face funding shortages and requires US$ 285 million to meet the increasing humanitarian demands over the next six months.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP).