WFP USA Announces Partnership With Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars

World Food Program USA and Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have joined forces to bring attention to the urgent issue of global hunger. The partnership with the world-renowned music group formally begins today, June 20, 2012 with the public release of their new music video "Big Fat Dog," a song from Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars latest album Radio Salone.

June 20, 2012 -- The "Big Fat Dog" music video, which was filmed in Freetown, Sierra Leone, was launched on the Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars' record label Cumbancha's YouTube channel at 10 a.m. EST on June 20th as well as the band and record label's websites. To support the partnership announcement and video release, the band has made available striking new press photos taken by world-renowned National Geographic photographer Jay Dickman in Freetown this past April. Hi-rez versions of the photos can be downloaded here.

"I am thrilled that Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars have partnered with us in our fight against global hunger," said Alma Jane Shepard, WFP USA's vice president for development. "Our partnership with them is even more meaningful, given the story of the All-Stars. Their support is very important during this critical time in the Sahel and it is a testament to their tenacity and humanity that they are playing such an active role in giving back."

Formed in refugee camps in Guinea during the brutal civil war in Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have always sought to bring attention to important social and political issues in Africa and beyond. Their past efforts on behalf of the United Nations Refugee Agency, Amnesty International, The International Rescue Committee and others have demonstrated the band's commitment to making the world a better place. "It's been a long struggle out of the war, out of miserable conditions," notes bandleader Reuben Koroma, "We try to bring out sensitive issues that are affecting the world. It is all of our responsibility that the masses are suffering. We bring our positive messages into the world so we can expect a positive change in the world. And, most importantly, bring about peace."

Members of Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars returned to Freetown, Sierra Leone after the war ended in 2002 to confront the new challenges facing a country wracked by poverty, lack of economic opportunities and weak infrastructure. The fight against hunger in Sierra Leone is something the band members have experienced firsthand, and it continues to be a major issue at home and across the continent.

For the third time in a decade, drought in the Sahel region of Africa is threatening millions of people with hunger. Meanwhile, conflict in Mali has forced at least 300,000 people to flee their homes, adding to the hunger crisis both in Mali and neighboring countries. The UN World Food Program (WFP) and its partners have launched a regional response to bring food assistance to more than 9 million people in eight countries. Read more about the Sahel crisis here: www.wfp.org/crisis/sahel.

The partnership also includes awareness-building efforts during the band’s current tour. Members of the band will mention WFP USA's efforts to fight hunger from the stage and will distribute information at the merchandising table after the shows. A full list of tour dates can be found at www.cumbancha.com/slras/tour.

For more information on Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars visit www.cumbancha.com/slras

Media Contact (Cumbancha): Nicholas Concklin, (802) 425-2118 or nick@cumbancha.com

About WFP USA

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, reaching more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance last year. World Food Program USA builds support for WFP through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.