five NGOs are petitioning the government to end the war in Yemen
The war in Yemen between Houthi rebels and the Saudi led coalition has created the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Despite the dire situation, there is reason to hope. On November 26, five NGOs petitioned the U.S. Government to call an end to the war. Two days later, the U.S. Government announced it would add an additional $24 million to USAID’s Office of Food for Peace. On December 13, the Senate voted to end the United States support of the Saudi coalition. These are the five NGOs that are petitioning to end the war in Yemen.

Since 2015, there have been more than 16,000 civilians casualties, 22.2 million people, including 11 million children, are in need of aid and eight million are at risk of famine. The war has led to a host of other problems as well, including a cholera outbreak and a lack of access to clean water. Many organizations are trying to stop the conflict in Yemen. These are 5 nonprofit organizations working hard to protect the people of Yemen.

These are the 5 NGOs that are petitioning to end the war in Yemen

  1. International Rescue Committee (IRC): The International Rescue Committee, headed by David Miliband, a former U.K. Secretary of Foreign Affairs, is focused on humanitarian relief operations in war-affected areas. Right now it operates in more than 40 countries, and its refugee resettlement program operates in 28 U.S. cities. The IRC has been providing aid to Yemen since 2012, working to protect women and children as well as provide access to healthcare and education.
  2. Oxfam: Oxfam is a global organization working in more than 90 countries to end poverty. Led by Abby Maxman, the former Deputy Secretary General of CARE International, Oxfam believes in identifying and changing the root causes of poverty rather than just sending material aid. Through fighting and eliminating injustice, Oxfam feels that poverty can finally be eliminated. The organization has been working in Yemen since 2015 to prevent diseases by providing sanitation, hygiene assistance and clean water to those affected by the war.
  3. CARE: CARE is active in 93 countries around the globe working to combat social injustice and poverty. The organization is headed by Michelle Nunn, who previously ran the organization Points of Light and had been a candidate for the U.S. Senate. CARE current goal is to reach 200 million of the world’s most vulnerable people by 2020. CARE has been working in Yemen since 1992 and is currently providing food, water and sanitation to one million Yemenis people each month.
  4. Save the Children: Save the Children is an organization that works in the U.S. and around the world to provide for underprivileged children. It is headed by Carolyn Miles, who has been with the organization since 1998. Save the Children is active in 120 countries worldwide promoting nutrition, health and education programs. Save the Children is doing just that in Yemen by treating almost 100,000 Yemenis children for malnutrition through mobile health clinics.
  5. Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC): The Norwegian Refugee Council started its relief efforts after World War II and continues its mission to this day. The organization is active in 32 countries across the world to provide clean water, education, camp management, legal aid, food assistance and shelter to refugees. The Norwegian Refugee Council is headed by Jan Egeland, who has been with the organization since 2013 and was appointed in 2015 by the U.N. as special envoy to Syria. In 2017, the NRC has provided food for more than 300,000 Yemenis and shelter to more than 50,000.

These 5 NGOs that are petitioning to end the war in Yemen are all fighting for a better world for the world’s poor. Through their work, they were able to spur the government into action. Since the petition, millions of dollars have been added to the aid package for Yemen, and the U.S. has voted to end its military involvement in the conflict.

Peter Zimmerman
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Mogadishu
Mogadishu is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, withstanding famine, drought, war and terrorist occupations to earn this title. Mogadishu is also a budding tech hub, home to coffee shops, new colleges and even a TedX conference. Underneath these contrasting descriptions of Somalia’s capital city lie two issues that continue the cycle of poverty for the majority of residents, famine and terrorism. The root causes of many of the following 10 facts about poverty in Mogadishu can be traced back to these two underlying issues.

10 Facts About Poverty in Mogadishu

  1. The issue of poverty in Mogadishu is being worsened by famine in Somalia’s countryside. More than 500,00 Somalis have been heading toward Mogadishu in search of food, water, and shelter, and around 100,000 have reached the borders of Mogadishu. They are desperately in need of food assistance.
  2. Camps have been set up around Mogadishu to deal with the influx of famine refugees; however, they have been described as “no man’s land”. Leftover members of the Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab have attacked international humanitarian workers trying to provide basic services to those living in the camps. For example, a convoy from the World Food Programme was hit by a roadside bomb on May 15, 2017.
  3. This is not the first time a famine has affected the quality of life and poverty rates in Mogadishu. In 2011, a deadly famine raged the Horn of Africa, with Somalia unable to escape its effects. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people moved to Mogadishu to escape the famine’s effects and few have plans to return home. Even though the economy is said to be rapidly growing, most who fled to the city live in settlements and subsist on odd jobs to meet their basic needs. There are concerns that the huge number of young, unemployed people in camps may provide the opportunity for extremism to take hold.
  4. The unemployment rate in Mogadishu in 2016 was 66 percent with 74 percent being women. This high unemployment rate, paired with large population growth and the constant threat of violence, has earned Mogadishu the title of the “world’s most fragile city”.
  5. Organizations like the World Food Programme (WFP) work in Mogadishu to support some of the most impoverished parts of the population. Namely, female-headed households, families with children under age 5 and the elderly. Their soup-kitchen style meal centers serve approximately 80,000 a day. WFP is also working with the European Union’s humanitarian aid and civil protection department (ECHO) to provide financial assistance to families in need.
  6. There is concern over disease outbreaks, such as cholera, migrating from the countryside to Mogadishu along with those escaping the famine. One employee of the Mercy Corps describes the hospital conditions in Mogadishu as “overwhelming”. When dealing with outbreaks of cholera overcrowding and a lack of resources prove deadly: “The hospital is so overstretched that there is no room or time to properly screen and separate or quarantine the incoming patients, so kids with measles and cholera are side-by-side with kids who are malnourished, but not infected — yet.”
  7. Around 5,000 boys live on the streets of Mogadishu. This group of boys is part of a number children who have been left in the city to fend for themselves. One boy who was interviewed said his family lost everything in the 2011 famine and as a consequence, he was left because they could no longer provide for him.
  8. The terrorist group Al-Shabaab, Somalia’s Al-Qaeda franchise, occupied the capital for almost a quarter of a century. To this day, they continue to have control over two neighborhoods of the city where it is impossible for police and government forces to enter. The group often attacks the international airport.
  9. Despite progress being made, terror attacks continue to disrupt the lives of millions. In 2016, Mogadishu suffered at least 46 terrorist attacks. In 2017, al-Shabaab attacks have killed or wounded more than 771 people.
  10. Poverty and climate change are intimately connected in Mogadishu. Just last year, six people died due to some of the heaviest rainfalls the country has seen in over three decades, with more than 750,000 having been affected through property loss. The U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq underscored the importance of getting to the root of the consequences climate change has had on poverty

Looking Towards Mogadishu’s Future

While these 10 facts about poverty in Mogadishu suggest a bleak future, that is not entirely the case. Some experts believe that the rapid growth of Mogadishu will actually spur economic transformation as long as it is accompanied by international aid and careful management. Michael Keating, the U.N. special representative in Somalia, argues that “The massive shift into urban areas can be an opportunity. It is the way of the future, it is what needs to be done to build a different economy, a different country. But that needs huge investment.” More support needs to be given to reduce the suffering of the Somalian population.

Georgie Giannopoulos
Photo: Flickr

Famine Action Mechanism
The World Bank has discovered a new approach to helping the 124 million people currently affected by crisis-levels of food insecurity: artificial intelligence.

Three international organizations: the World Bank, the U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross, have partnered with three of the world’s largest tech giants: Microsoft, Google and Amazon, in a joint initiative to preemptively address world hunger. The result? It’s called the Famine Action Mechanism (FAM).

What is Famine Action Mechanism?

Launched by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on September 23, 2018, in New York, the Famine Action Mechanism seeks to improve international food aid through famine prevention, preparedness and early action. FAM is being created to augment the capability of existing warning systems to effectively distribute aid prior to the emergence of famine. This is being done through the establishment of official procedures that connect early warnings with financing and implementation.

With the cooperation of humanitarian development organizations, tech companies, academia, the insurance sector and, of course, international organizations, this collaborative effort hopes to see success through the investment of a wide variety of stakeholders.

While other forms of famine prediction, like Famine Early Warning Systems Network started by USAID in 1985, already exist, it lacks the ability to give real-time data and requires the hard work of hundreds of employees.

If successful, the Famine Action Mechanism will be the first quantitative modeling process using an algorithm to calculate food security in real time.

Hope is high for executives at Google and Microsoft who have seen the humanitarian power of technology firsthand. Advanced technologies have already proven effective in helping farmers to identify the disease in cassava plants as well as keeping cows healthier and more productive. President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, has expressed that artificial intelligence holds huge promise in forecasting early signs of food shortages.

How is FAM going to be implemented?

Famine Action will be implemented through four steps:

  1. Early warning systems. Microsoft, Google and Amazon web services are coming together to develop a set of analytical models known as “Artemis” to predict cases of famine using artificial intelligence and machine learning that detect correlations between different risks. With more powerful early warnings and information in real time, this will allow aid agencies to create a faster response and preemptively halt escalating insecurity.
  2. Pre-arranged financing. Syncing the early warning system with pre-determined finances helps to prevent food insecurity because it secures funding before a situation devolves into a crisis. The financing for this program is not only set to tackle the immediate symptoms of poverty and famine but also help the community to build safety nets and coping skills to encourage local development in hopes of preventing repetition in the future.
  3. Increasing resource efficiency. The Famine Action Mechanism plans to partner its resources with existing systems to reinforce the most effective and efficient efforts that are already working on the ground. This way, it will be producing a joint response system with the organizations involved with the program.
  4. Stressing preventative and preparedness approach to global famine crises. International Organizations like the U.N. and World Bank are redefining their approach to food insecurity, poverty and famine, making a proactive system of action rather than reactive aid a top priority of their efforts.

Isn’t Famine Pretty Easy to Predict?

While seemingly slow to take place, the cause of famine, defined as a daily hunger-related death rate that exceeds 2 per 10,000 people, is extremely complex.

The usual suspects of food insecurity like drought and crop production aren’t always the forces that bring a community to famine. Other factors like political instability, inflation or a natural disaster have the potential to significantly alter a community’s food supply. Additionally, nine of the last 10 major famines were triggered by conflict and war.

The uncertainty around when and how an undernourished community shifts into a crisis of famine adds to the importance of preemptive action for food insecurity and the demonstrated need for the Famine Action Mechanism.

Hunger in the World Today

After years of progress on decreasing hunger in the world, we have backtracked on those advancements with more than 820 million undernourished people in 2017. Approximately 155 million children will see the effects of stunting for their entire lives due to chronic malnourishment as well as a reduction of up to 13 percent of their lifetime income. Additionally, last year in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan, more than 20 million people faced famine or near crisis levels of food insecurity.

One in nine people in the world today do not have enough to eat, but that does not mean we cannot get back on track. Not only can early response to famine result in saved lives and decreased suffering, but it is also cost effective. The World Bank predicts that an earlier response rate can reduce humanitarian costs up to 30 percent.

In 2017, the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged to have zero tolerance toward famine, and in the declaration of this program that pledge has been renewed. In the eyes of the United Nations, the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development means ending hunger everywhere for everyone.

To conclude, in the words of Mr. Guterres: “Crisis prevention saves lives. We need to put cutting-edge technology to full use, in the service of all humankind in order to feed everyone in our world and to leave no one behind.”

– Sara Andresen
Photo: Flickr

what is hungerHunger is an easy enough concept to imagine. Most people in the world have experienced it at some level or maybe even gone an entire day without food. But what is hunger at a global level? When hunger is discussed as an issue, there is a major gap between the conception of hunger and how those without access to food experience hunger. In the end, hunger is a systemic problem in people’s lives; those who suffer from hunger are unable to consistently achieve proper nutrition and face food insecurity.

Facts and Figures

Hunger still affects more than 800 million world citizens. This number reflects about one in every nine people worldwide. Hunger is most common in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population suffers from undernourishment. The continent of Asia contains the highest number of hungry people, while Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger – one person in every four faces undernourishment. 

Famine: Extreme Hunger

The most extreme cases of hunger on a public scale are famines, where an excess of deaths occurs as a result of starvation or hunger-induced diseases. These diseases are often preventable with a proper diet, but although there is an excess of food worldwide, the hunger originates in that food being inaccessible. Lack of access is often caused by a insufficient funding and war within an area, as seen in the South Sudan famine declared by the U.N. in February of 2017.

In daily life for undernourished people, hunger takes the form of reduced meals. In 2011, a drought in a Kenyan herding community caused sickly animals. As a result of not being able to afford enough to eat, one woman’s family was forced to cut back to just one or two meals per day as opposed to three. They also could no longer afford “luxuries” like milk. Even with access to water, there is no money to buy food if crops and animals cannot produce. 

The Costs of Hunger

New research shows that generations down the line will also be impacted by the costs of hunger. While it is well-known that young children are often the most vulnerable to hunger, Columbia University’s 2014 study of genes in roundworms after an initial starved generation found that small changes in an organism’s molecular makeup due to its health can be passed on. This means that even after hunger has been reduced, future generations may still see its effects in their own lives.

Combating Hunger

Fortunately, hunger and famine rates have decreased. The Global Goals of Sustainable Development include ending hunger and creating food security and sustainable farming as its number two goal, set to be achieved by 2030. The best strategies for ending hunger are supporting small farmers, targeting infant nutrition and utilizing biotechnology in crop creation.

Additionally, legislative action in the United States Congress is working toward alleviating hunger worldwide. The Food for Peace Modernization currently seeks to make the Food for Peace program more efficient – at no cost to taxpayers – so that it can provide food to nearly nine million more people. Understanding what hunger is can create measures like this worldwide and offer new chances for those suffering from hunger to find relief.

– Grace Gay
Photo: Flickr

The History of Poverty in IrelandIreland’s political and religious history has had a great effect on the country’s history of poverty, which has continued throughout many centuries. There are still neglected political policies that cause great poverty today.

Early History of Poverty in Ireland

The history of poverty in Ireland began with the invasion by Great Britain in 1649. Oliver Cromwell governed Great Britain at that time, and he despised Roman Catholicism. He felt that the predominantly Catholic Irish people could not be trusted and sought to bring them to order. Cromwell executed those that would not comply and exported children to sugar plantations in the West Indies, hoping to decrease the population of the Irish. This population loss allowed Great Britain to gain control over Ireland.

In the 18th century, Ireland’s farmland became the property of English landlords. The landlords were not present to work the farms and only collected rent. The landlords would force multiple families to live on one piece of property to charge more rent. This overcrowding resulted in hunger, as the crop yields could not sustain multiple families and still provide income for rent. Those who could not pay were evicted and had nowhere to go.

Potato Famine a Major Cause of Poverty

The main crop produced on the farmlands was a staple of the Irish diet, the potato. However, potatoes are susceptible to disease, even though the crop needs little maintenance. This was the cause of the Great Potato Famine that began in 1845. The famine was caused by the water mold disease known as late blight, which resulted in crop failure three years in a row. This drove families further into poverty. There were many families that were unable to pay rent or feed their children. The Great Potato Famine was one of the most significant events in the history of poverty in Ireland. The famine caused more than one million deaths and reduced the population by nearly half.

Even though Great Britain impacted the history of poverty in Ireland by taking control of the farmland, when the Great Famine was devastating Irish families, the government refused to intervene and provide help to Irish families. Charities and soup kitchens had limited resources to help those suffering from starvation. Those who did not perish from starvation or disease were forced to immigrate to other countries.

Poverty Issues Still Present Today

This history of poverty in Ireland has seemed to carry over to the present day. In 2010, it was estimated that 6 percent of the population is living below the poverty line and approximately 15 percent of people are at risk of falling below the poverty line. The poverty line is measured by the average income and anyone that makes less than 60 percent of the average income is considered to be living in poverty.

Advocacy group Social Justice Ireland (SJI) has studied the history of poverty in Ireland and seeks to correct the ongoing issue. SJI reports that more than 100,000 people with employment are still living below the poverty line. In addition, SJI has stated that to avoid poverty, a single adult must make an estimated €250 a week and a family of four must bring home approximately €579 a week to be over the poverty line. The difficulties that the working poor face in reaching these income levels are attributed to low pay that is not fairly regulated, either by employers or the government.

Another factor that causes the population to be employed and still below the poverty line is an unfair tax system that has always been a part of the history of poverty in Ireland. SJI strongly urges the government to take charge and break this ongoing cycle of poverty for the Irish people.

– Kristen Hibbett
Photo: Flickr

What Is Famine
The only time many of us think of food is when we are hungry. Unfortunately, many countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, and Yemen are not afforded that opportunity due to many catastrophes that affect the growth of crops and other food sources. Thanks to the supergroup called United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa, circa 1985, famine became a global concern. Artists such as Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Quincy Jones contributed to the charitable, Billboard-charting single We Are the World. Fast forward to over 30 years later, the following question is still a valid one: what is famine?

What is Famine?

Famine is not just food shortage. Chris Hufstader from OXFAM America states that it’s also a widespread food scarcity where poverty leads to malnutrition and death. Food scarcity is determined under a set of criteria and ranking called the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). The IPC is a tracking system that monitors the availability of food in various countries for governments to foresee and become proactive to avoid a food crisis. The IPC is set up into five phases:

  • Food security: a state of having dependable access to food to maintain a balanced diet.
  • Food insecurity: when five to 10 percent of a population has limited access to food.
  • Acute food and livelihood crisis: a plight where there is 10 to 15 percent of a community that experiences a severe absence of food and the only way to reach nourishment is by selling necessary items.
  • Humanitarian emergency: when 15 to 30 percent of a population is at an extreme absence of food and countless people meet there demise because of it.
  • Famine: when 30 percent of a population experiences an absolute lack of food.

Origins of Famine

To know what is famine is to see the origin. Just like many things in life like war, slavery, and any form of injustice there is a cause and effect. According to Joel Mokyr of the Britannica, famine originated in the 19th century in Ireland. The cause of hunger stemmed from a consecutive year of potato crop failure due to an infestation that targets the leaves and roots of these plants. It was later called the Great Famine. The Great Famine was so severe it was given three alternate names: Irish Potato Famine, Great Irish Famine, or Famine of 1845-1849.

Although crop failure is one of many reasons to why famines occur, there are several reasons why scarcity exists. For instance, Joe Hasell and Max Roser from Our World in Data states that the lack of serviceable food markets to support and ensure reliable transportation of goods to aid malnourished countries is an issue. Without efficient shipping from the marketplace, support cannot be released. Also, inflation on prices in food markets leads to marginalizing poverty-stricken countries to afford the food sold. According to Hasell and Roser’s source from the Markets and Famines novel, Martin Ravallion, increase in prices stems from floods that transpired throughout the famine which developed a supply and demand. Panic buying and price speculation, however, contributed to the actual cause of food shortage.

Solutions Exist

Understanding famine, the history, and the causes of this travesty leads to many solutions that can ensure that no one goes unfed. WeFarm CEO and Founder, Kenny Ewan, presents one such solution in providing farmers worldwide with the necessary communication for success. Programs like this begin to counteract every potential food scare and prohibit further damage to populations.

– Christopher Shipman

Photo: Flickr

Facts about famine in North KoreaNorth Korea is one of the most mysterious and reclusive countries in the world. It is well known for its repressive government and the abhorrent living conditions its citizens endure. Nowhere is this suffering more apparent than in the facts about famine in North Korea, which has further repressed the country’s citizens and fueled Kim Jong Un’s pursuit of a dangerous nuclear program. These 10 facts about famine in North Korea show just how brutal life in the country really is.

10 Facts About Famine in North Korea

  1. Numbers Are Scarce
    Although the Food Security and Information Network (FSIN) acknowledged a major famine in North Korea in its 2017 report, the group also noted that statistics showing the scale of the famine are hard to find due to the repressive nature of the Kim regime as well as its efforts to convey the illusion of prosperity.
  2. The Problem Requires External Assistance
    FSIN also noted that North Korea needs foreign assistance to recover from the famine. Given the country’s poor economy, it will be difficult if not impossible for the country to recover on its own.
  3. But External Assistance Is Unlikely
    However, due to rising tensions between the United States, the United Nations and North Korea over the development of nuclear weapons, tighter economic sanctions have been placed on the country, further weakening its economy and deepening the current famine. If any country were to grant economic support to North Korea, it would face an immense backlash from both the U.S. and the U.N.
  4. The Famine Is Significant
    According to a 2017 report by the United Nations, which made estimates based on satellite images and economic data, roughly two out of five citizens are malnourished. It has identified more than 13 million North Koreans in need of economic assistance who are likely struggling to survive in the current conditions.
  5. The Kim Regime Is Focused on Military Development Instead
    Due to fears of a regime change by the United States military, Kim Jong Un has largely focused the scarce resources of North Korea on the development of conventional and nuclear weaponry. This furthers the problem, as the regime has largely ignored the plight of its own people.
  6. Economic Reforms Have Largely Failed
    According to an op-ed by Roberta Cohen for Brookings, economic reforms put in place by the late Supreme Leader Kim Jong Il and current leader Kim Jong Un have failed to revitalize the North Korean economy, including its faltering agricultural industry, leading to a continuation of the famine. This has led Kim Jong Un to dedicate even more resources to military development and repression of citizens to avoid a revolt should the population grow more dissatisfied with his leadership.
  7. Weather and Geography Are Also to Blame
    The weather and geography of North Korea contribute to the famine. North Korea is sandwiched between several other countries, and has a climate that is generally not conducive to agriculture. This could be addressed by importing goods, but due to current global conflicts, there are strict sanctions on the nation.
  8. The Famine Is Behind the Repression of North Korean Citizens
    Many have wondered why the Kim regime is so focused on the creation of a totalitarian state unforgiving of criticism and driven to propaganda. Yet, should the regime abandon this set of ideals, the public would quickly turn on the government for malnourishing them and not promoting change. It is easier for Kim to tighten his political grip and shift blame to the United States than acknowledge his failure to supply his own citizens with basic needs.
  9. Sanctions Have Contributed to the Famine
    Though the United States government places most of the blame for North Korea’s poor living conditions on the Kim regime, according to the New York Times, the strict sanctions it has imposed in recent years have further contributed to the nation’s economic downfall. Though an argument could be made that sanctions are necessary to stop the development of nuclear weapons, it would be wrong to deny their role in the famine crisis.
  10. The Current Famine Could Get Worse
    The citizens of North Korea are often regarded as a brainwashed mass, but they possess the same basic needs as any people. Their suffering has been accelerated by the famine, and should the United States and North Korea become involved in a second war, the situation could devolve into a severe humanitarian crisis. Even disregarding the loss of life from direct military conflict, the chaos caused by war would further disrupt agriculture, cripple the already poor North Korean economy and lead to a refugee crisis that could claim hundreds of thousands of lives.

These 10 facts about famine in North Korea show the brutal underbelly of life in North Korea and a major humanitarian crisis in the making, a reality that is often overlooked in our haste to parody a struggling and repressed nation.

– Shane Summers

Photo: Flickr

Crisis in YemenThere is currently a devastating humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Many factors are intensifying the suffering being experienced by the Arab world’s poorest nation. The civil war is going on its third year and created conditions for famine, disease and terrorism to flourish. A variety of people and organizations are helping Yemenis in need, yet, it will be a long path to stability.

In September 2014, a group of Yemeni rebels, supported by Iran, overthrew Yemen’s government. In March 2015, Saudi Arabia supplied military forces to reinstate the government, with help from the U.S. The country remains in a civil war.

At least 10,000 people were killed, and two million people were displaced as a result of the war. Those evading conflict are who suffer most. The civil war led to famine, the collapse of Yemen’s healthcare system and a cholera outbreak.

Currently, almost half of Yemenis are food-insecure. Almost 2.2 million children are malnourished, 462,000 of whom have severe acute malnutrition. Furthermore, the cholera outbreak which impacted more than 300,000 people.

The civil war made these issues worse because it caused the healthcare system in Yemen to collapse. Poverty also exacerbates the crisis. Many Yemenis lost all their wealth because of the conflict. They are forced to work more and cannot take time off to stay with sick family in the hospital, nor can they necessarily afford travel expenses and treatment. Furthermore, the malnourishment experienced by a generation of children may set the stage for another impoverished generation in Yemen.

Fortunately, some are stepping in to help. U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN), is pleading for a policy of aiding the country. He wrote a resolution that addressed the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia. He is also asking the U.S. to reprimand its ally Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is blamed for much of the suffering in the civil war. For instance, the country bombed cranes which were used to deliver food and medical aid. Saudi Arabia then proceeded to block the delivery of new cranes.

However, the new Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman recently allocated $66.7 million to the WHO and UNICEF to fight the cholera epidemic. While bin Salman was defense minister, he oversaw the bombing of Yemen. It is unclear if the donation is personally from bin Salman, or from the government budget.

Many other governments are also addressing the crisis in Yemen. Through USAID, President Donald Trump offered $192 million for Yemen. This will add to the $275.2 million the U.S. already gave for Yemeni assistance in 2017. The European Union is also funding humanitarian aid in Yemen. Since 2015, the European Commission gave approximately $199.5 million to help with malnutrition, water sanitation, healthcare, homelessness and more.

The WHO and UNICEF, Oxfam, Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders are among the organizations contending with the crisis in Yemen. Oxfam has been in Yemen for 30 years, building better infrastructure and working towards women’s rights and ending poverty. Save the Children has worked in Yemen since 1963 and fights for children’s rights by offering education, healthcare and food. Doctors Without Borders offers free healthcare and is working hard to alleviate the cholera epidemic.

Life has been shattered in Yemen. One of the poorest countries in the world is being made worse by civil war. Much of the world understands, that as fellow humans, it is our obligation to help end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. This ideal must spread and continue.

Mary Katherine Crowley


Most people know that education is the key to ending global poverty. If the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers and parents are better educated, they will be more equipped to improve their conditions.

Books for Africa is an organization that is working to accomplish that goal today. Its message is clearly stated on its website: “education is the great equalizer in the world, and books are at the foundation of a strong educational system.”

This inspiring organization controls all aspects of giving books to children in Africa; it collects donated books, sorts them, ships them, and distributes them to the children.

Since Books for Africa’s founding in 1988, they have shipped more than 38 million books to 49 different African countries. These are huge numbers that are making great strides for children’s education in Africa.

The Board of Directors has a multitude of factors that must work for the operation to be successful: do they have enough donations to send, will they have enough money to send the shipment, did they pick an African community that will actually use the books?

According to Publishers Weekly, “It costs $10,300 on average to ship each container by sea to Africa from the U.S.” With this expense, it is imperative for people to continue donating their books, time and money. Books for Africa is sure that its cause is making a difference.

Studies done by the World Bank, various researchers and Books for Africa have concluded that providing even one textbook can increase literacy rates by five to 20 percent.

One program focused on promoting education, Learn NC, concluded that reading a book does so much more than merely pronouncing the written words. Reading can spark discussion, promote engagement with others, transform the reader’s mind and inspire the reader to act.

Books for Africa promotes that a “gift of books truly is a gift of hope.” Ending global poverty can happen one book at a time.

Sydney Missigman

Photo: Flickr


According to the United Nations, the world is undergoing the biggest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. Currently, South Sudan resides in the middle of a massive famine that affects 10,000 people. Forty percent of the people in South Sudan struggle with food, agriculture and nutrition assistance. Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen declared famine warnings, and malnutrition puts 1.4 million children at risk of death in Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. Furthermore, seven million people risk starvation in Nigeria.

The following are 10 facts about famine and its consequences.

  1. A famine is a condition of extreme starvation of food. Famines are caused by natural disasters like droughts, floods, earthquakes, insect plagues and plant diseases. Manmade causes, such as wars, civil disturbances, sieges and crop destruction can also lead to famines. Famines cause significant and prolonged hunger to a country’s population which results in malnutrition and death by starvation and disease.
  2. Famines are declared when:
    • 20 percent of the households in the area face extreme food shortage with limited ability to cope.
    • Acute malnutrition rates exceed by 30 percent.
    • Death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.
  3. Famines evolve slowly and may remain underreported for extended periods of time before they become massive famines. Families have experienced months of crippling hardship before a crisis makes a headline.
  4. Overpopulation is not a cause of famine. The English philosopher Thomas Malthus created this myth in his 1798 essay, in which he argued that population levels outpace available resources. Famines now grip lightly populated areas like Somalia and South Sudan.
  5. Violence and conflict serve as major sources of famines. Other countries cut South Sudan off of supply routes, causing food prices to increase and aid delivery to be hampered. The civil war in South Sudan led to widespread hunger, with half of the nation’s harvests getting destroyed, food deliveries blocked and workers attacked.
  6. Hunger is only one part of famines. Famines can damage future generations, as malnutrition in infants can lead to the suffering of poor health and stunted development.
  7. Famines can drive violence, as global threats of terrorism and political or economic instability grow out of poverty. The famine-affected areas undergo conflict, which leads to displacement and loss of livelihood. Lack of opportunity can lead to choosing terrorism as a way of life.
  8. The 21st century brought massive progress. Until the middle of the 20th century, massive famines could kill millions of people within a decade. The adoption of human rights and globalization has made it difficult to turn a blind eye on people dying of hunger.
  9. A massive famine hit Somalia between 2010 and 2012. Two hundred and sixty thousand people died.
  10. The United Nations needs 2.5 billion to respond to the famine crisis in the Horn of Africa. The agency fundraised 62 percent of this goal.

Famines and hunger are not inevitable and are often human-made. Thus, they can be human-solved. Action must be taken to improve the rights of millions of children and families around the world.

Aishwarya Bansal

Photo: Flickr