Imagine if 18 million Australians were at risk of severe hunger. Right now, this is the reality for the men, women and children of West and Central Africa.

There's a long line of problems that can be avoided. Pic: AFP

In the Sahel land belt that stretches from Senegal and Mauritania on Africa’s west coast, to Niger and Chad near the continent’s centre, more than 18 million people—equivalent to more than the entire population of Australia’s eastern states—are at risk of going hungry.

The worst of this food crisis is set to continue over the coming weeks. It’s now the hunger season in the region, that time before a new harvest when people’s food stocks become dangerously low.

But this year, the combination of poor rains and skyrocketing food prices means the lean season will be even tougher than usual. As the rainy season takes hold, and people’s dwindling food supplies are further depleted, cases of malnutrition and malaria look set to rise.

Farmers should now be planting their crops, but a lack of seeds and tools—and also disruption due to conflict—means many are simply unable to do so. This is a worrying sign which could mean the next harvest won’t produce enough crops to get people out of the current food crisis and on the road to recovery.

Areas of Mauritania, Chad and Mali have been classified as in extreme food security—one level below famine. Huge swathes of the Sahel remain in a critical condition.

Sadly, it’s an all too familiar story. Just two years ago, the Sahel region was hit by a similar food crisis affecting 10 million people. And this time last year, we were talking about the food crisis in East Africa, and just days away from the declaration of famine in Somalia.

The West Africa food crisis reinforces many of the lessons we have already learnt from past emergencies: things like the the importance of responding to early warnings of a looming crisis, ramping up the response when there are growing humanitarian needs, and acting to prevent a repeat of this hunger pattern in the future.

We know from experience that the earlier we act, the more lives can be saved. Effective early warning systems means the world had plenty of notice of what was to come.

Agencies like Oxfam were warning as far back as last December of a looming food crisis in the Sahel, and we have been working in the region for months providing urgently needed relief including food, water and cash support.

The international community and UN agencies responded early to the warnings, mobilising funds to try to prevent the worst of the crisis. This was positive.

But sadly, it hasn’t been enough to meet the increasing humanitarian needs. There still remains a significant funding gap, with the UN now estimating it needs $1.6 billion for the humanitarian response—up from around $700 million back in January.

The Australian Government has already provided $30 million to the Sahel food crisis, which is to be commended. Oxfam urges Australia—and Australians—to continue its support of people in need in West Africa.

Funding is needed so we can respond to people’s immediate and urgent needs, help them to prepare for the next harvest, and to ensure a speedy and effective recovery. It’s not too late to respond, but we must act quickly.

Ongoing conflict, particularly in the north of Mali, threatens to further escalate the crisis, and there are fears locust swarms could devastate crops in some areas. The onset of the rainy season will also make it harder to get help to people who need it.

At the same time, we must work to make sure future crises can be prevented, and invest in small-holder farmers to boost local food production. Things like new irrigation systems, crops that can survive in low rain conditions, and better roads and transport links, are just some ways that can help.

We also need bigger and better food reserves to ensure there is more supply in times of need, and to help keep prices more stable. And we need stronger social welfare safety nets to help vulnerable people cope, especially in the hard times.

The return on these kind of long-term investments is that we can avoid the worst aspects of these cyclical hunger crises and secure a future where everyone in West Africa has enough to eat. Drought is inevitable in the Sahel, but hunger is not.

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    • Nigel says:

      07:20am | 19/07/12

      My view is that the key word in all of this is CONFLICT. If the warlords or rebels and governments were to stop the waste of both stop spending huge ammounts of money on weapons then maybe the countries could be sustainable. I donate and have sympathy for the people, usually women and childen who end up suffering, but there needs to be an attempt to fix the conflict. What would be the case if these countries were oil rich?

    • Mark G says:

      09:30am | 19/07/12

      You assume that the women and children are innocent and yet the men are guilty. Generally it’s the men fight but that doesn’t make the women innocent. The women are just as responsible for setting the pre-conditions to conflict in those countries. My biggest problem is the bleeding heart attitude that we, as western countries, need to fix these issues. I do believe in humanitarianism but help should only come when it is requested and there is a known desire to fix the problems. Too often in these places this humanitarian help is rammed down their throats by do gooder westerners. It is a very tragic situation but it is largely cause by poor decisions made by Africans and not poor decisions made by the west. The west is rarely part of the problem the problem these days, so I fail to see why it is our duty to find the solutions. There is only one group of people that can solve these problems, Africans. In solving their own problems you will find that they may even prevent them from occurring in the future. Africa is like a spoilt child with helicopter parents that are always solving every problem and protecting them from consequences. This actually makes the situation worse because the solutions are often inappropriate mothering solutions that don’t stand up to reality. I emphasis it again, this problem needs to be dealt with by Africans.

    • Nigel says:

      07:20am | 19/07/12

      My view is that the key word in all of this is CONFLICT. If the warlords or rebels and governments were to stop the waste of both stop spending huge ammounts of money on weapons then maybe the countries could be sustainable. I donate and have sympathy for the people, usually women and childen who end up suffering, but there needs to be an attempt to fix the conflict. What would be the case if these countries were oil rich?

    • P. Walker says:

      07:29am | 19/07/12

      I’m sorry Andrew, but if only the Africans woke up one day and realised that their country cannot support such vast populations they might think about family planning.  I couldn’t support a family of more than 2 kids, that’s why I’m snipped.  Pretty simple logic!  Whoops, you now know I’m not Catholic.
      ...and taking their huge families to host countries will acerbate that countries problems too.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      01:37pm | 19/07/12

      This. I immediately thought ‘how many Africans aren’t starving, ie what is the total population of Africa that is living and currently over populates non-arable land?’

    • Emily says:

      01:53pm | 19/07/12

      Ah yes, because it’s just that easy…

      Do you think these people have easy access to contraception, considering they often don’t have access to medical care? Do you think that many of them know or understand the idea of contraception or how to use it? Do you think they can even afford it? Not only that, but do you think that many of the women would have a say in whether or not they use contraception, even if these barriers didn’t exist?

      What is a simple and logical ‘snip snip’ over here, is by no means simple, affordable, or accessible in many of these areas. It is a complex situation that requires solutions on numerous levels.

    • Jess says:

      02:35pm | 19/07/12

      And foreign medical aid was often tied to not offering family planning or contraceptive/abortion advice in these countries during the Bush and Howard Years. Carr is making progress to return funding to these programs

    • james smith says:

      07:30am | 19/07/12

      I believe the African problem is an effect of overpopulation. Their country can’t support its own people and yet it’s commonplace to have eight children, of which they too can’t support. All this is fed by a dependence on foreign aide.

    • Emma says:

      08:14am | 19/07/12

      Lecturing African families on family planning is one thing. But the situation is currently that there are big families and they dont have food. Should a lecture really go that far that their eight children starve to death so they learn for the future?

    • George says:

      09:36am | 19/07/12

      +1. Thank god the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation talks about overpopulation. It’s just infantile, worse than infantile, that we can’t use basic logic because it might hurt a bunch of morons’ feelings.

    • Justme says:

      09:46am | 19/07/12

      No Emma the 8 children shouldn’t starve to death, but if they all survive and thrive on handouts from other countries instead of learning something about how to sustain their own population from their own land, then in a generation from now they will all have 8 children of their own gIving us 64 children who can’t feed themselves either. (apology for that massive run on sentence by the way).

    • AdamC says:

      09:52am | 19/07/12

      @james smith, sub-Saharan Africa is the only place where the overpopulation myth holds a grain of truth. Of course, the underlying problem is still a lack of economic development and poor agricultural productivity. There are plenty of other heavily-populated areas, even heavily-populated poor areas, where famines do not occur. Africa seems uniquely backward and underdeveloped when it comes to food production and distribution.

      @Emma, maybe we could put some conditionality on humanitarian aid? For example, we could require the parents of large families to get their tubes tied before claiming food aid. Clearly, that is a radical, ugly solution, but it seems better than the ‘do nothing’ alternative.

    • fml says:

      10:11am | 19/07/12

      Instead of the worn out steralisation is the only hope argument, how about throwing a couple of bucks towards these guys?

    • M says:

      10:19am | 19/07/12

      Shall we mention the role of the church in all of this by telling women that birth control is evil?

    • P. Walker says:

      12:02pm | 19/07/12

      Emma it appears that your solution is to never address the population problem.  Try this; give me your address and I and 300 other people will land on your door step for dinner one night, unannounced.
      How will your country (address) cope with that?
      I also noted in the SMH the other day, some guy lasting Melinda Gates for “meddling” in family planning for these countries.  Amazingly after Googling this chap his bio was that he was first a Catholic and a professor , say no more.
      However he did lightly praise her efforts in vaccinations and HIV research, something that his Vatican does extremely well ;-(

    • fml says:

      12:30pm | 19/07/12

      P. Walker.

      By overpopulation you mean over consumption of the worlds resources, right? One first world citizen consumes 30x more than a third world.

      So if the first world citizens reduce their consumption by half, we can share enough resources for 15 third world citizens. Does that make sense? or do you want to just remove 20 third world citizens from the planet?

      Why is it most people who are concerned about the earths resources are concerned with what other people consume and not what they consume?

    • Emma says:

      12:59pm | 19/07/12

      P. Walker

      I have not attempted any solution. I am just saying that a lecture on family planning is nice, but it does not solve the immediate problem of starving children. We should work on a long term solution while at the same time trying to minimise the losses we are faced with currently and which we cant change.

    • Justan Oz says:

      02:55pm | 19/07/12

      Overpopulation is the problem for the whole world,not just Africa! Most of our aid money, and assistance, should be directed at education and birth control…It is no good just trying to feed people,that is just a dead[sic] end..

    • The Realist says:

      08:26am | 19/07/12

      James Smith is right.  The overpopulation of an country leads to deep problems.  I’ll donate to the starving people of Africa as long as they have a birth control plan which could at least minimalise starvation.
      I feel the same about any group or cultlure - black or white.

    • Rob M says:

      09:48am | 19/07/12

      If you attach conditions to aid, then it is not really aid, just imperialism. Telling a country that you will only give them aid if they give you a vote in their parliament is a little bit rich.

    • Dave Charlesworth says:

      10:31am | 19/07/12

      @ Rob M

      You are a moron, The Realist is putting forward a realistic solution to this tired old problem that just won’t go away no matter how much $$ we throw at it.

      What’s his comment got to do with votes?

    • P. Walker says:

      12:09pm | 19/07/12

      As much as I’m against a bloody Carbon Dioxide Tax, the proceeds should be given to those countries which can prove they have reduced their birth rates dramatically.

      Just a thought.

      Note, I say birth rates and not population.  We all know that the African despots would be out their with their machine guns for a few quid!

    • Rob M says:

      01:15pm | 19/07/12

      @Dave Charlesworth, I am merely stating the facts as I see them. If you attach conditions to aid, then you are essentially only giving money to countries that do what you tell them to do.

      Is my assessment overly moronic, then, or are you just being a bit sensitive when I tell you that what you’re suggesting smacks of colonialism? I think it’s the latter.

      Maybe you didn’t like the accusation of imperialism, but that’s what it is. If you don’t like that, then the solution is to not give aid. You might think (correctly) that just throwing money at a problem is a recipe for repeated failure. But the fact of the matter is that if you hold back aid from countries because they won’t allow you to tell them how to run themselves, then you are not being generous, and you are not providing aid. It is coercion.

      Call a spade a spade, for god’s sake. There are ways to to make aid more effective than by telling sovereign states how they should run themselves.

    • Rob M says:

      01:30pm | 19/07/12

      As an aside, coercion can be quite an effective tool in international politics if you can get it to work. The only problem with the Realist’s solution is that it ironically is not very realistic - it wouldn’t work for most of the countries hardest hit by famine because their governments are recalcitrant and disinclined to work with world powers.

      The other problem is that overpopulation is NOT the chief cause of starvation. If you do a bit of research, I think you’ll find that the major cause is the dual-edged sword of drought and receding levels of arable land for agriculture. Populations that could normally sustain themselves are faced with a sudden lack of resources and for a time cannot cope. That’s what a famine is. This is exacerbated if warlords use the opportunity to seize food supplies for political leverage.

      If you want a real solution, you have to stop them fighting, and you have to get them out of the factories and into the fields. You have to reverse the effects of erosion and water scarcity (and yes, it can be done, we do it here in Australia all the time). “Downsizing” the population misses all of the root causes of the problem, and sounds like corporate simplicity to me. Countries are not corporations, and you cannot run them as such.

    • Jess says:

      02:41pm | 19/07/12

      Bush and Howard removed family planning funding from the aid budgets…

      US made it a condition of trade agreements.
      Also educating women in general also slows the birthrate

    • terrarious says:

      08:30am | 19/07/12

      While West Africa is facing a devastating drought that will cause unnecessary pain, death and suffering for its 18,000,000 inhabitants, Australia contributes a measley $30 million in aid, while contributing $300 million to help EDUCATE Indonesia’s Islamic students. Ehhhhhh?

      But as Australia is really worried about global warming, that hasn’t happened for the last 15 years,  Gillard plans to raise $10,000,000,000 initially, via the carbon tax, to stop the warming, which it won’t.

      That’s the problem with this global warming nonsense, billions are wasted based on failed computer models, by IPCC, big governments big banksters and rent seeking academics on imaginary crises, wasting money that could be used to solve real problems like feeding 18 million starving people.

      What is really going on here?????

    • Bertrand says:

      10:03am | 19/07/12

      Spending money on educating people in Indonesia makes a hell of a lot of sense. It keeps them out of the radical Madrassas and away from the influence of radical clerics who promote terrorism. Seems like a sensible way to use foreign aid to further our own national interests.

    • The Old Man says:

      09:22am | 19/07/12

      Dear Mr Hewett
      A few points which, in my humble way, I think may go some way towards helping things in these situations
      1. Outlaw Oxfam
      2 Outlaw the UN
      3 Stop all aid to countries where it is just stolen by third world despots and warlords!

      Why should we support Oxfam when they are responsible for killing millions of people in these situations by support the UN IPCC and their theft by Carbon Tax? How much more money could have been available for food research instead of being wasted to stop the sky falling in?
      There is an old saying, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a week, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life’
      How many dams has the UN helped to fund in these areas to lessen the impact of these sorts of disasters?

    • Robinoz says:

      09:28am | 19/07/12

      My grandmother told my mother when the latter was 10 or so that “we have been sending money to Africa for decades and nothing has improved”. Now, almost 100 years later, the situation is still the same. Maybe it’s simply Allah’s will.

    • fml says:

      09:29am | 19/07/12

      It is not an issue of overpopulation, its an issue of poor agricultural practices. Once the countries become industrialised you will find the birth rate will decrease.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      10:37am | 19/07/12

      Hi fml. Do you think Africa will become industrialized like China in 10,000 years? My old friend spent many years setting up an agricultural center to teach Africans to grow food. Two years after he left the place completely disintegrated.

      Each FOUR months the population of the World increases by a number greater than the TOTAL population of Australia.

      Last few days there was media reports on the fact that it requires massive foreign to double the food production by 2050 that is FORTY years.’

      I am against massive foreign investments in food production if it means losing control of our farm land. If foreign investments are limited to max 30% of a food company in Aust thats OK. Why bother about limiting foreign investments in QANTAS. It does not matter as it is just an airline.

    • JT says:

      11:13am | 19/07/12

      @Dr B S Goh ‘‘Hi fml. Do you think Africa will become industrialized like China in 10,000 years? ‘’

      It will happen a lot sooner than that. Economical transformation is the only force in the world that has reaped better lives for those it touches. China is undergoing it right now, and struggling to let it transform them without letting it diminish their power (they being the government).

      Already it is touching other countries e.g. India and will transform them as did the industrial revolution transformed the west. Africa is the last untouched continent for this force, their time will come.

      In fact in some parts it is already occurring ironically led by China which is heavily investing money and people into the continent.  The worry is will China turn the continent into little Beijing? or will its massive economic investment there see the economic revolution occur there as it has elsewhere.

      As for your constant food shortages quote Dr B S Goh, you’re wrong. You forget that food production in 2012 could easily feed more than the population of the planet and that population growth slows as economic growth takes hold.

    • fml says:

      12:47pm | 19/07/12

      The economic transformation of africa has already begun, the diversification of their economies is due to the movement of the old agricultural based economy to more of a mineral based export system.

      Saying it will take 10,000 years just shows your naivety. Unfortunately I don’t believe you have mentioned your real agenda, I don’t think you are willing to wait the 5-10 years to see effects of the continual GDP growth of quite a few of the African nations. I think you want a quick solution to a hypothetical problem.

    • Dr B S Goh, Australian in Asia says:

      01:14pm | 19/07/12

      @ JT

      The problem with Africa seems more cultural and political rather than racial. I have taught a few black students and many students from the Middle East

      There was a very famous black mathematician in Berkeley, David Blackwell, see

    • JT says:

      01:44pm | 19/07/12

      @Dr B S Goh

      ‘‘The problem with Africa seems more cultural and political rather than racial. ‘’

      Yes their cultural and political problems are stymieing economic transformation, not sure what race has to do with it?. We also aren’t helping by stymieing it through aid.

    • M.Mouse says:

      03:41pm | 19/07/12

      They used to have pretty good agricultural practices in Zimbabwe but look at it now….

    • earl says:

      04:21pm | 19/07/12

      So many comments about overpopulation. That is just rubbish to put it simply. It has been pointed out many times, the problems in Africa are essentially self inflicted and has nothing to do with the number of people but rather poor social structures, corruption, sectarianism, cronyism, poor governance and conflict. The main problem facing the world is population shortage and aging not overpopulation.

    • Graham S says:

      09:43am | 19/07/12

      Here we go again. As African states refuse to take action to restore something resembling civilisation in West Africa & other corrupt, bankrupt rat-holes, the begging bowl is being passed around to us, yet again.  It is nearly 25 years since Bob Geldof’s Feed The World campaign & others since and in that time the African population has doubled so why on earth should we do anything to encourage further catastrophy on that continent?  Where is the logic?  There is none. Yet again, another wide-eyed child gazing, yet again, at the camera and that wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a Kalashnikov-bearing, Islamist killer, siring children whenever the whim takes him. Somewhere, over the rainbow, lies Somalia, another fine land of violent, Kalashnikov-toting, khat-chewing, girl-circumcising, permanently tumescent layabouts. An almost entire continent of sexually hyperactive, illiterate indigents, with tens of millions of people who only survive because of help from the outside world.  Asian countries have suffered horrendous catastrophes, wars & disasters as has Europe, all in the past 50 years and pushed on. Africa has gone completely backwards. Let them help themselves for a change

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:55am | 19/07/12

      “The return on these kind of long-term investments is that we can avoid the worst aspects of these cyclical hunger crises”

      Until the next warlord smashes his way through everything that has been achieved and plunges poverty-stricken African country X into the depths of human misery again.

      I’m going to get a coffee…more cynical than usual for this time of the morning.

    • M says:

      10:23am | 19/07/12

      As soon as the oil reserves of africa start being tapped it’ll all get better.,

    • Dave Charlesworth says:

      10:40am | 19/07/12

      I think the gist of this type of story has well and truly worn off, only the hemp smoking extremists and the Feel Good crowd are listening these days. And lets be honest they make up only 11% of the population.

    • Zaf says:

      11:31am | 19/07/12

      What those countries need is some sort of stable, representative Govt - whose priorities would be winning the next election, and therefore taking care of their people. 

      The Indian subcontinent suffered a series of famines while it was a British colony, the most recent being the Great Bengal Famine during WWII - caused by the Raj requisitioning rice in Bengal for the Army in Burma.

      While droughts and floods continued after Independence, the elected Govt of India made sure that the country didn’t descend into famine - there has not been one widespread famine in India since Independence.  And the Govt was motivated enough by public interest that it invested in the Green Revolution, and now India is more or less self sufficient in food.

      That’s what Africa needs.  Not just endless, limited band-aid charity.

      So ask: who is propping up these unelected warlords and why?  Who sells them arms?  Where do they get money to buy arms? 

      The situaiton in Mali may be a on-off side-effect of the fall of Gaddafy in Libya, but the situation in the Horn of Africa has been the same for decades.  Who benefits from that?

    • M. Mouse says:

      04:09pm | 19/07/12

      Drought is part of nature, but famine is man-made. And they keep having famines because of other man-made problems and why bother storing up food etc when Whitey will provide it?

      No different from other welfare dependant people. Very sad.

    • Caedrel says:

      11:45am | 19/07/12

      The responses so far are pretty much the ones I expected for an article such as this. Aid has two branches: disaster relief and community development. Learn about the detail of the work being carried on in the latter area, working with the locals. It’s often not handouts, but things like micro finance, helping them learn a trade and form community groups, teaching them about sanitation and hygiene but in the local context. I can’t help but feel that people’s so-called cynicism about Africa is more of a front for their selifhness, laziness, and racism: a lie they tell even to themselves.

    • fml says:

      12:35pm | 19/07/12


      Finally someone who tells it how it is.

    • Good Grief says:

      12:36pm | 19/07/12

      And…. decades of such efforts have resulted in…. what?

      I’d rather donate money to get rid of these destructive governments and warlords and cut the problem at the root, but that would be interpreted as being racist and imperialistic wouldn’t it?

      So I say live and let live!! Surely we shouldn’t impose our colonial wills (whether benign or malign) on these noble people. They are a strong and proud people who should be able to solve their own problems, right?

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      02:13pm | 19/07/12

      “so-called cynicism about Africa”

      No, it’s called realism.  Popular support for fixing Africa has been going on for almost fifty years, and so far, it seems to be getting worse, if articles like this are anything to go by.

      Until someone works out how to stop regular and widespread violence which undoes all of the work, they’re, unfortunately, screwed and history is bound to repeat.

    • the cynic says:

      02:08pm | 19/07/12

      The problem is not of our making. When the map of Africa in my school atlas was all coloured in the colours of the colonial powers things were running nicely 3 meals a day and violence amongst ethnic lines was kept in check. Look at it now that the inmates have taken over the assylum!  A complete basket case that we are supposed to wring our hands and gnash our teeth over in self loathing while making payment for their survival.

    • Iggy says:

      10:17pm | 19/07/12

      Yeah, that’s the awesome thing about Slavery. At least you’ll get feed… hopefully.

    • Swamp Thing says:

      05:27pm | 19/07/12

      @the Cynic: Spot on without ‘western’ or (lets tell it like it is) ‘white’ administration these places fall into incredible misery & cruelty: infinitely in excess of anything inflicted by the worst of colonial rulers. Tons of evidence for those with the eyes to see it. White guilt merchants, do gooders and similar types have a close squizz at zim or south africa - at all aspects of life there, to view this decline in action.  Realistic solution? Damn if i know.

    • Brad says:

      07:50pm | 19/07/12

      I’m impressed that Melinda Gates is challenging the Vatican on contraception. Their influence on low socio-economic communities through their missionary work and further through their influence of the delivery of foreign government aid missions has turned the poor and needy away from contraception over several generations.
      Melinda (and thousands of others) have a huge task to turn around this message and encourage a new generation of underprivileged to value and invest in contraception methods. When you have a spare dollar, do you spend it on food, alcohol, smoking, education, clothing, shelter, contraception? Tough choice.

    • Kathleen says:

      04:34am | 24/07/12

      The arid and semi-arid lands of Africa (ASAL’s) cover 43% of Africa’s habitable surface.  They also share a number of things in common: extreme drought conditions that are contributing to a steep decline in living standards; increasing reliance on food aid and human migration from rural to urban areas.  ASAL’s are typically long-neglected, suffering from a lack of infrastructure investment and are characterized by extreme ethnic tensions as people compete over limited natural resources.
      I am the founder of The BOMA Project and we work in four districts in northern Kenya, one of the areas hard-hit by last year’s Horn of Africa drought.  What we are seeing is larger and larger infusions of food aid and a focus on building climate change adaptation strategies around the men and the livestock industry.  While these efforts are noteworthy, they ignore the fact that it is the women and children who are now left behind in the villages, sometimes for as long as six months, as men travel farther and longer in search of grazing terrain and water for their livestock.  With little hope of employment beyond menial labor, like hauling water or gathering firewood, women are forced to beg for credit and rely on humanitarian food aid to survive.  In order to build long-term resilience in these communities, long-term strategies must go beyond a focus on men and the vulnerable livestock industry. 
      BOMA’s focus is on an economic empowerment program for women living in rural drylands.  We not only help build sustainable income levels for women so that they can survive drought, feed their families and pay for school fees and medical care, we also focus on the problems of inconsistent cash flow and inadequate financial services so that women can accumulate savings for long-term stability.  To date we have launched 925 businesses of 3300 adults who support over 17,000 children in Samburu, Laisamis, Loiyanglani and Marsabit Districts of northern Kenya.  Our recent Impact Assessment underscores the success of an economic empowerment program that focuses on women: 63% decrease in the number of children going to bed hungry at least once a month; 89% increase in the number of participants eating two meals a day; 67% increase in the number of children attending school and a 41% increase in the number of women attending adult literacy programs.  82% of all participants are actively saving and lending money through their business or BOMA saving groups.
      Women play a key role in supporting their households and communities in achieving food and nutrition security, generating income, and improving rural livelihoods.  In order to break the cycle of poverty, climate change adaptation strategies for northern Kenya, and for all the rural drylands of Africa, must include a focus on women.


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From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



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