Tag Archives: Horn of Africa

Blog Action Day 2011 – Food

16 Oct

Today is World Food Day, it is also Blog Action Day. Food is the topic for Blog Action Day this year.

I live in a country where there is an abundance of food. I can pretty much eat whatever takes my fancy, whenever I want. Food from all different countries. Sweet food, savoury food. Healthy food, junk food. Fresh fruit and vegetables. There are a variety of different grocery stores in my town that I can go and shop from and most are open twenty four hours for six days of the week.

Here’s a confession, I often throw food away that I have bought because it has gone past it use by date and we didn’t get around to eating it. Daily food goes in the garbage (actually compost bin) because someone didn’t finish their sandwich, apple, baked potato – you get the picture. I know many of you reading will do the same yourselves in your homes.

Fast food chains and some grocery stores in the country I live in, would rather throw uneaten food away in dumpsters, than donate it to soup kitchens or homeless shelters. This is not right.

Thousands of miles away mothers are watching their children die because there is a famine. This famine is caused by no rains, the inability to grow crops etc, but it was predicted before it happened and world leaders stood by and did nothing. Even now the media would rather report on a celebrity couple divorcing than the thousands that are dying in the Horn of Africa. Why? Probably, because it doesn’t affect us. We have food. It is Africa afterall. They have famines. It is a poor continent.

The thing is, whether Africa has famines or not, there is an abundance of food in this world. There is more than enough to go around. We could have helped eleviate the effects of this famine, far sooner than we have. We could have helped to save more lives than we have. But, as the ONE Campaign’s recent advertisement shows us, famine is the F-word.

Outside of the Horn of Africa famine, there are approximately 925 million people do not have enough to eat — more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union combined. 98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries. Two-thirds of the world’s hungry live in just 7 countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan (Source: The Hunger Project).

Poverty is the main reason for hunger. Food prices are constantly rising at the moment and that makes the situation even worse for those living on less than $1.25 a day. It’s a vicious circle when you are hungry, as you often get ill and can’t work to earn money for the food so desperately needed. Children miss school, if they are lucky enough to go in the first place. The video below shows what an Ethiopian can buy for $1 a day. Bear in mind though, the other costs people have, other than food costs.

A Dollar A Day – Ethiopia | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme – Fighting Hunger Worldwide.

Tonight, almost 1 billion people around the world will go to bed with familiar hunger pangs. In 2011, we have the ability to stop this. We just need to be motivated enough to do it.

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The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity

9 Oct

Please read the information below from the ONE Campaign and click on the link at the bottom to sign the petition. At the time of publishing this post, ONE have received 95% of their target signatures – help them get to 100% and end this senseless famine in the Horn of Africa.

Drought is inevitable, but famine is not. The current crisis in the Horn of Africa is the result of a tragic combination of factors that are man-made, including abnormally high food prices, lack of governance and security in Somalia, and a historic lack of investment in long-term agricultural development in the Horn. Over the past few years, we lost the political will and public support necessary to prevent the famine – and its causes. As a consequence, tens of thousands of children have died.

We have also missed the opportunity to help 200 million people from poor farming families lift themselves out of poverty. Communities in Africa can cope with droughts and natural disasters. But we need donors to put resources toward seeds, irrigation and teaching farmers new growing techniques. We need leaders to invest in early warning systems and national social safety net programs.

Congress can help keep our commitment to farmers in developing countries by fully funding Feed the Future— a life-changing USAID initiative that is investing in long-term agricultural development and could help put an end to famine for good.

Please sign our petition to Congress calling on them to fund this vital program:

http://act.one.org/sign/hungry_no_more_us?referring_akid=.5457599.eXimHV

Thank you!

A Hungry Child Can’t Wait – Ask 5 For 5

19 Sep

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Lyn and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can’t wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we’ll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren’t so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world’s first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond–or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity’s baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don’t do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn’t want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother’s hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya–the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, “I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm.” The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. “We don’t have enough food now…our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues.”

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on–in nine generations of 5x5x5…we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
 help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!

I’m looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you’re interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn’t wait. She doesn’t wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn’t wait for us to decide if she’s important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on…please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped–you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don’t move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you’re life is busy like mine, you probably won’t get back to it later. Let’s not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let’s leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!
 

Help the Horn of Africa – Ask 5 For 5

24 Aug

I think this is a fantastic idea and I wish that I had thought of it myself! You can donate what it will cost you to have a fancy coffee and help the people in need in Africa.

The following is a guest post from Sarah Lenssen of Ask5For5

Sarah is looking for other bloggers who would be willing to allow her to guest post on their blogs during Social Media Week (Sept. 23-29th). If you would like to be part of this then please leave a comment below, or email me, and I’ll forward your details to Sarah.

guest blogger: Sarah Lenssen from Ask5for5
photos courtesy of Cate Turton / Dept. for International Development


First, thanks to Lyn; for allowing me to post on her blog today! Today, 25 bloggers, including this one, are standing with me to Ask 5 for 5 for Africa. Here’s why….

I began pursuing a BIG dream two weeks ago. After deciding I could no longer avoid the news about the famine in the horn of Africa, I had that gut feeling that I couldn’t sit this one out. I HAD to do something because I could. Something bigger than I could do alone.

A malnourished child in an MSF treatment tent in Dolo Ado

Two of my children, Ashen and Bereket, were adopted and are from the region affected by the drought in Ethiopia. They would be two of the statistics if they still lived there. I see my son’s and daughter’s faces in the photos of those suffering in the refugee camps. It could have been him. It could have been her. The thought haunts me.

And moms just like us are watching their children go hungry day after day. I can’t imagine what it’s like, but I have to –I have to be there to help them, because it could have been my children. These families have lost their livestock, their crops, food prices are inflated at the market if there any food there, and don’t have any more lifelines to tap into. Many are traveling hundreds of miles through parched land in hope of finding help. Many are dying along the way. It is estimated that 29,000 children have died in the last 90 days in the famine in Somalia alone.

Malnourished children, weakened by hunger

But I KNOW we can do something about it. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed, we can rally ourselves and our friends to respond! I set up a fundraiser through See Your Impact. 100% of your gift will go to the relief and development organization World Vision, where it will be combined with government grants to multiply up to 5 times in impact! 

You’ll receive updates on just how your funding is being used to help save lives affected by famine in East Africa. I’m amazed at how much we’ve raised already — over $7,000 in just four days! We blew through our first 3 goals in just 3 days and are well on our way to $10,000 and beyond!

I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share on Facebook and Twitter, and join our page to stay updated too!

I’m also looking for 100 bloggers to stand with Ask5for5 to spread the  word during Social Media week, September 19th – 23rd. If you’re interested, email me, ask5for5@gmail.com.

Extra food for every child under five

Thanks! Please donate and email your friends right now–don’t wait for a calmer moment, because if you’re like me, other demands inevitably crop up and you won’t get to it. A child’s life hangs in the balance, but you can help save her!

FYI – Since this post Ask 5 For 5 has raised over $10,000 and is now well on the way to the new goal of $25,000.