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Brampton’s Margaret Majewska gets food assistance agency Nobel Peace Prize

While she was planning out her career path, Brampton native Margaret Majewska was focused on working in an international context, but she didn’t imagine working for the United Nations.

Since 2011, she has been working with the World Food Programme (WFP), the food assistance branch of the United Nations, and her work through 2020 helped the agency earn the Nobel Peace Prize, presented to the WFP on Dec. 10.

“(The award) allows us to put a spotlight on the 690 million people who still go to bed hungry every night and gives us a platform to amplify their voices which we’re hoping will allow us to mobilize greater support,” said Majewska, who is stationed out of the WFP’s head office in Rome.

As a procurement officer in the goods and services branch, Majewska is responsible for sourcing items necessary for the agency to undertake day-to-day operations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she said WFP has had to source items it hasn’t bought before, such as personal protective equipment in the midst of global supply disruptions.

While other challenges – such as the impact on commercial transportation – surfaced as a result of COVID-19, Majewska believes WFP’s relationships with various governments and experience working through other challenges such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa from 2014-16 helped the agency adapt and persevere.

She said the number of people WFP reached through food assistance worldwide rose from around 97 million in 2019 to roughly 100 million in 2020.

“It’s still nowhere near enough,” she said. “We’re seeing the devastating impact of COVID-19 still playing out in terms of rising unemployment, shattered livelihoods and increasing hunger.”

A graduate of Mayfield Secondary School in Caledon, Majewska earned a degree in international business and economics while attending Temple University in Philadelphia on a volleyball scholarship.

She had the opportunity to study at Temple’s Rome campus and returned to Rome years later to work with the WFP.

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