Chad’s Food ShortageOn June 1, 2022, Chad declared a food emergency due to a dwindling supply of grain. A decrease in exports from Ukraine, as a result of their war with Russia, has caused food prices in Chad to skyrocket. Amid Chad’s food shortage, the country has asked the international community to provide aid as it is estimated that about one-third of the population of Chad will require humanitarian assistance this year.

Causes of Chad’s Food Shortage

While drought has ravaged Chad and surrounding countries for the past couple of years and undoubtedly plays a role, it is not the most significant factor causing Chad’s food shortage. Many factors have contributed to the severity of food insecurity in Chad.

In 2021, Chad experienced its second straight year of recession, with the country’s GDP dropping by 1.2% over the course of the year. Rising food prices, due to a combination of gradual inflation and rapid inflation sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have placed the final nail in the coffin. Internationally, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, global wheat prices have increased for the fourth month in a row, rising 5.6% in May 2022 alone. Rising prices combined with dropping income place the people of Chad in a difficult situation. The U.N. ranks Chad as the third most impoverished nation in the world in 2022, a status that the current food emergency does not ease.

Solutions and the Way Forward

Chad’s food shortage has prompted the country to request urgent aid from the international community. While at the moment it is unclear which countries will answer the call, one organization that is already helping is the World Food Programme (WFP).

The humanitarian organization aims to provide assistance to approximately 3 million people facing food insecurity in Chad in 2022. About 42% of the population of Chad falls below the poverty line, but the WFP plans to help in a few ways. The organization provides displaced people within Chad with cash-based transfers to purchase food. The WFP also works with the Ministry of Health to support government-backed nutrition programs, reaching “458,000 children and 235,400 pregnant and nursing women with specialized nutritious foods” in 2021.

Another measure the organization is taking is working to provide children within Chad with school lunches. These provided meals not only help with food insecurity but also encourage school enrollment in a country with low rates of education. These school meals reached 200,000 children in 2021.

Chad’s call to action came just days before a meeting between Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, and Macky Sall, the head of the African Union. On June 3, 2021, Sall met with Putin to discuss “freeing up stocks of cereals and fertilizers, the blockage of which particularly affects African countries.” The discussion did not spark any immediate change but there is cause for optimism as Putin said “We strive to develop humanitarian ties with African countries and will do everything in our power to make this process gain momentum.”

Whatever the outcome, Chad will need the support of numerous countries and organizations across the globe.

– Thomas Schneider
Photo: Flickr

Edible insectsEdible insects may be the solution to alleviating food insecurity. With rising global rates of hunger and a growing population, the world needs affordable, sustainable and accessible food sources. Traditional livestock requires acres of land, not to mention massive quantities of crops for feed and a lot of water too. Overall, livestock does not present a sustainable food source for the future. Edible insects, however, are increasing in popularity as research reveals a myriad of benefits that make edible insects a possible solution to reducing food insecurity across the world.

Poverty and Food Shortages

According to a U.N. report, in 2020, “between 720 and 811 million people in the world” suffered from hunger. Additionally, 2.37 billion people worldwide did not have sufficient access to adequate food. Both of these statistics saw an increase in the millions in comparison to pre-pandemic numbers.

Soaring food prices are making it even more challenging for those with low incomes to afford food. According to “rapid phone surveys done by the World Bank,” 48 nations across the world report “a significant amount of people” experiencing food shortages and resorting to minimizing food consumption due to financial struggles. Food shortages greatly affect the overall health and nutrition of people.

Children are particularly susceptible to the impacts of inadequate nutritious food as malnutrition can lead to detrimental, lifelong consequences for children. Because nutritious food generally costs more, a nutritious meal is out of reach for many impoverished people, especially during COVID-19.

Current Food Industry

By 2050, the expected global population will increase to roughly nine billion people. To keep up with the food demands of a growing population, “global agriculture production” needs to increase by 60-70%. However, the agricultural sectors of the world experience frequent threats from droughts, natural disasters, soil degradation and more.

About 80% of global farmland is used for feeding and raising livestock. A large proportion of arable land used for crops go toward animal feed. Moreover, greater land use for livestock leads to more deforestation. The meat industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Per capita, meat consumption has more than doubled since 1961. Unfortunately, livestock production is an unsustainable practice resulting in water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.

Livestock production contributes to 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the FAO. More than 70 billion animals are slaughtered each year, requiring acres of land and tons of feed. In developing countries especially, many people simply cannot afford the high cost of a nutritious diet, bringing about an increasing need for affordable and sustainable food sources.

The Rise of the Edible Insect Market

Insects are raised in warehouses, utilizing less farmland and feed. Furthermore, insects are low-cost and are easily accessible. Cultures around the world have consumed edible insects for hundreds of years yet many people express distaste in welcoming insects into their diets. But slowly, as people realize the many benefits of edible insects, more people are open to insects as a food source. Insects could be a solution to the issues surrounding poverty, food insecurity and environmental impact. The edible insect market is expected to reach $4.63 billion by 2027, making it a viable business venture as well.

The Specific Benefits of Edible Insects

  • Insects produce significantly fewer gases that pollute the air and water. One study found that crickets release “80% less methane than cows and 8-12 times less ammonia than pigs.”
  • Insects require less land, water and feed than the world’s typical livestock.
  • “Insects are 12-25 more efficient at converting energy into protein than animals.”
  • If the world replaces half of all meat consumption with insects, farmland usage would be cut by roughly 33% or slightly more than 4,000 acres.
  • Insects contain 60% protein, providing more protein than chicken and beef. Insects also contain more vitamins and minerals than beef, including iron, zinc and magnesium. In areas facing famine or food shortages, powdered crickets or mealworms provide nutrition and prevent disease.
  • Insects can help increase food crop production by reducing the need for crops as livestock feed since insects can serve as livestock feed. Insects can also survive on leftover food and agriculture scraps.
  • Insect excrement can be used as fertilizer.

Looking Forward

An important aspect of raising edible insects is finding a species that is suited for the region and is socially acceptable, especially in areas of poverty. The insect must be affordable enough for people of different economic backgrounds to purchase. Edible insects are packed with nutrients and present a potential solution to many environmental and social challenges. Overall, insects hold great value in addressing rising levels of global food insecurity.

– Madeleine Proffer
Photo: Flickr

cause of hungerThe COVID-19 pandemic is deemed a global health crisis that has resulted in an economic crisis and a hunger crisis too. In the Dominican Republic, Cabarete Sostenible seeks to address the root cause of hunger.

Unemployment Due to COVID-19

Cabarete, Dominican Republic, prides itself on being one of the watersports capitals of the world. Nearly two-thirds of Cabarete’s population depends on the local tourism industry for work and income. These jobs mostly fall under the informal economy.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 60% of the world’s working population were employed in the informal economy. The informal economy is defined by hourly jobs that offer neither a salary nor employee benefits. The pandemic left many people without a regular source of income and without health insurance.

Compared with the bailout packages that the governments of wealthy nations were able to provide to their citizens, the governments of impoverished nations were unable to provide citizens with such economic support. Around the world, NGOs have attempted to assist in providing the support that impoverished governments are unable to provide.

Cabarete Sostenible Addresses the Root Cause of Hunger

Moraima Capellán Pichardo, a citizen of Cabarete, is a supporter of the concept of food sovereignty. The Borgen Project spoke with Capellán Pichardo about the origins of Cabarete Sostenible and the organization’s long-term goals. Food sovereignty, the principle that individual self-actualization is dependent on having enough to eat, is at the heart of Cabarete Sostenible’s mission.

Capellán Pichardo told The Borgen Project that individual NGOs in Cabarete were working independently of each other when the COVID-19 pandemic began. These separate organizations had a common goal so they came together to form a coalition and increase their impact. This coalition became the nonprofit organization, Cabarete Sostenible. Everyone who works with Cabarete Sostenible is a volunteer. The organization works with local food distributors and organic farms and distributes the foodstuff that it receives to struggling families and individuals in Cabarete. This forms the organization’s first response to the hunger crisis.

Although it began as a method to address an acute crisis, Cabarete Sostenible seeks to address the root cause of hunger. Capellán Pichardo indicated that food sovereignty has been on the minds of Cabarete Sostenible’s volunteers and organizers since its inception. “Very early on, we sat down to discuss where we thought Cabarete Sostenible was going in the future. For us, we wanted to make sure that we did not just stick to giving out food because that does not really address the root problem.”

The Concept of Food Sovereignty

Food insecurity means being without reliable access to sufficient and nutritious supplies of food at any given time and is a common reality for citizens of Cabarete. On the other hand, food sovereignty, organizing society in such a manner that every individual has access to producing his or her own food, is a possible solution to food insecurity. “Food sovereignty is tied to land access,” Capellán Pichardo says. “For us, it is important that the first mission that Cabarete Sostenible focuses on is food sovereignty: access to healthy and appropriate food and using the native agricultural land to provide that.”

Food Sovereignty Addresses Food Insecurity

Since COVID-19, many factors have contributed to a rise in food insecurity and extreme poverty worldwide. Mass rates of unemployment have threatened access to food as even the poorest households spend close to three-fourths of their income on food.

Widespread unemployment, combined with unexpected drops in agricultural production, has created an unprecedented crisis. Because of supply line disruptions and trade barriers, often the result of increased health precautions, citizens of the world’s poorest nations are left without access to food. Some of the suffering caused by such disruptions can be mitigated by food sovereignty policies. Perhaps, a societal approach may be modeled after Cabarete Sostenible’s efforts to address the root causes of hunger.

Sustainable Community Solutions to Hunger

Capellán Pichardo is optimistic about the road ahead as she details how the organization has worked with local landowners to collaborate on solutions. The organization has opened the first community garden and is working to partner up to create a community-style farm. All this is work toward creating a social business model. Cabarete Sostenible seeks to address the root cause of hunger by helping to create a sustainable way of living, where food shortages are less likely and future hunger crises are averted.

– Taylor Pangman
Photo: Flickr

Food Shortages in Tajikistan

Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia that is home to 9 million people, many of whom have grappled with instability and poverty since its independence in 1992. In fact, half of Tajikistan‘s population lives in poverty today. Furthermore, the country is currently experiencing a food shortage crisis that is exacerbated by a number of factors including a heavy dependence on imported food products as well as inadequate agricultural practices.

Aid from US Initiatives

At least 30 percent of children under the age of five have stunted development. Increasing production in the local agriculture sector is a boost for Tajikistan’s economy, nutrition and general food supply. With equipment and training also provided by USAID, around 16,000 farmers were able to produce higher quality products that increased food security and nutrition. Improving agricultural production is a major step in alleviating the shortages that have plagued the population that currently live below the poverty line as well as helping the local farmers who struggled to make ends meet.

WFP Assistance

The World Food Programme has provided assistance to Tajikistan since 1993 and developed programs that aided people in need. The WFP helped with drafting policies and providing food to over 2,000 schools in rural Tajikistan, allowing over 370,000 students access to regular daily meals. Additional programs alongside the WFP have helped an estimated 119,500 infants under the age of 5 with their nutrition. Assistance is also provided to build new or improve infrastructure to provide security for supplies to rural areas, including additional agriculture production, disaster relief efforts and enrolling children into feeding programs to combat malnutrition. With aid from this program, Tajik children, alongside their parents, gained access to accessible food and medical facilities.

Domestic Poultry Market

Tajikistan’s domestic poultry market has been a major focus on increasing the country’s food security. An investment of expanding domestic poultry farming production in 2015, building new farms and increasing the number of eggs and meat produced for local markets. The poultry industry also got an additional boost in 2018 when the government lowered taxes on imported machinery and tools in 2017 to bolster internal production, though importing poultry still remains as one of the main drivers to meet domestic demand. There are currently 93 farms poultry farms with over 5 million birds currently in the poultry industry. The importance of poultry has on both the economy and the role it plays into combating hunger paves the way to alleviate the food shortages in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan’s effort, normally criticized for being lacking, has expanded upon its agriculture sector with significant investments. Much of Tajikistan’s battle against its internal food shortages have been from foreign aid programs, with various UN members providing the arid country with supplies and equipment to expand internal agriculture and food security alongside Tajikistan’s own national investment to expand them. The efforts have been slowly paying dividends in the Central Asian country, but it still remains a difficult road in alleviating the food shortages in Tajikistan.

Henry Elliott
Photo: Flickr



10 Facts About Hunger in Venezuela

Food shortages across Venezuela started to rise in 2013, around the time of President Hugo Chávez’s death. Less than a year later, the nation’s oil-dependent economy began to tank and inflation began to soar. Venezuela could no longer afford the cost of its imported basic goods, resulting in nationwide shortages in food and medicine. While the nation’s instability worsens, people are going hungry in Venezuela. Here are the top seven facts about hunger in Venezuela.

7 Facts About Hunger in Venezuela

  1. In 2017, 89.4 percent of Venezuelan households could not afford basic food supplies due to inflation and six out of 10 Venezuelans reported going to bed hungry. In February 2019, peak inflation in food prices hit a staggering 371,545.6 percent and high rates are continuing throughout 2019.
  2. Due to hunger in Venezuela, malnourishment is quite common. The United Nations reported that nearly 3.7 million Venezuelans suffered from malnourishment in 2018.
  3. Mass weight loss is also common across Venezuela as 64.3 percent of Venezuelans lost weight due to food shortages in 2017. Venezuelans who lost weight dropped an average of 11.4 kg each since the shortages began. 
  4. Available food supplies all too often end up on the black market and are sold by bachaqueros. Bachaqueros buy subsidized goods at government-set prices, then sell those goods at double, even triple, the original price, taking advantage of struggling communities. This illegal practice is exacerbated by Venezuela’s compounded crises.
  5. Without easy access to affordable food supplies, some Venezuelans resort to using alternative resources. For example, the yuca root can replace potatoes, which is a similar, yet far cheaper vegetable. In more desperate cases, scavenging for scraps has also become popular.
  6. Although President Nicolás Maduro has rejected many types of humanitarian aid, including extensive efforts to send food supplies, the government has accepted aid from nonpartisan groups. In 2018 alone, Cuatro Por Venezuela, one of the largest relief suppliers, sent 41,804 pounds of food to Venezuela, amounting to 120,000 standard meals for people in need. These supplies are distributed directly to schools, orphanages, nursing homes and homeless shelters all over Venezuela.
  7. In addition to nonpartisan NGOs, international government groups, such as the European Commission (EC), allocated another €50 million to the crisis in Venezuela, along with additional food supplies and nutritional services in March 2019. 

As food shortages continue and people remain hungry, these seven facts about hunger in Venezuela show that the country is in a clear humanitarian crisis. While there are aid efforts out there, supplies must be sent in as nonpartisan support. So long as aid efforts adhere to this restriction, there is hope for hunger relief in Venezuela.

—Suzette Shultz
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Water Quality in GuatemalaWater quality in Guatemala has become an increasingly important issue because the country is facing one of its worst droughts in decades. The drought has reduced access to clean water, and poor water quality has resulted in the spread of waterborne illnesses throughout the country. Additionally, this lack of water means immense food shortages and increasing malnutrition among children in Guatemala.

Approximately 43 percent of Guatemalan children under the age of five are fatally malnourished, and among rural Guatemalan children this number rises to around 80 percent. It is in rural areas that the drought has the strongest effect, as there is less access to clean water and there are more stagnant bodies of water that increase the spread of disease.

Due to the drought, Guatemala’s disposal of solid and liquid waste in local bodies of water is having a larger impact than ever. With limited quantities of clean water, the waste that is deposited in rivers makes the spread of disease and infection in the population even more rampant. Access to clean water is a major issue facing the country, but there have been some strides in resolving it.

Guatemala was able to reduce the percentage of citizens without access to drinking water to 50 percent, which met the 2015 Millennium Development Goal for access to clean water. In 2016, 93 percent of Guatemalans had access to non-polluted water, which is an impressive statistic.

There are also nonprofit organizations working to improve water quality in Guatemala. Water for People is an organization that focuses on providing clean water to certain communities in impoverished nations. They currently have a number of projects running in Guatemala, one of which is the Everyone Forever program. The program pledges to provide water and sanitation to every single person in those communities, forever. This is a very ambitious project, but it is also incredibly important.

In addition to simply providing clean water to those in Santa Cruz Del Quiche, or San Bartolome Jocotenago, Water for People creates a model that can be replicated by governments to provide water and sanitation for all parts of the nation. The organization also has programs for watershed management and school programming related to water sanitation.

There are also, of course, programs set in place by United Nations agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization, UNDP, and UNICEF. These organizations put in place measures that will raise the living conditions of people in poor communities, primarily through improving water sanitation systems.

Ultimately, water quality in Guatemala is a major issue, but there are improvements being made. Through collaboration between NGOs, the Guatemalan government and United Nations agencies, the issue of water quality and access in the country will hopefully be resolved soon, improving the quality of life for all of its residents.

Liyanga De Silva

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in UgandaLocated between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, while also struggling against the Lord’s Resistance Army, hunger in Uganda is a major issue that the country, as well as 800,000 refugees, are facing every day. Uganda as a whole produces more food than it consumes, but because of the prevalence of poverty in the country, many of its 39 million people cannot afford to buy all of the food they need.

Only 4 percent of households in Uganda have had food security over the past six years. This is related to the food shortages and destitute diets that have also come from dealing with climate change, urbanization, the inconsistencies of Ugandan policies and poor public financing.

Hunger in Uganda has also been caused by the lack of water. A growing population has led to stresses on water and sanitation services. 24 million people in rural areas do not have access to water, which has increased the incidence of water-related diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery. Each week, 30,000 deaths are caused by unsafe water.

The lack of food has led to malnutrition among children, including refugees. It has been estimated that 33 percent of children under five are enduring chronic undernourishment and stunted growth. Only one in three children actually have food to eat during the day, while stunting affects 29 percent of children and rises to 40 percent in certain areas and among refugees.

Organizations like Action Against Hunger have made efforts to help Uganda. They focus on nutrition, health and care practices, and have helped 148,420 people. They have been able to reach some of the most vulnerable children in refugee settlements and treat life-threatening malnutrition. Action Against Hunger has helped strengthen the local capacity while training locals to be able to provide treatment. They have plans to help prevent malnutrition as well as to gather more information on malnutrition in order to prevent it in the future.

The World Food Programme also helps Uganda by providing cash and food assistance to people in need. They have also set up the “cash/food-for-work” program to ensure there is food during the lean seasons. This program helps communities build tree farms, orchards, irrigation systems, water ponds and dams to help them better endure droughts.

While the poverty rate in Uganda has declined from 31 to 19.7 percent, the fact that the population is still growing means that the number of poor people has not decreased. To combat this, the work the aforementioned groups are doing is vital to help Ugandans become self-sufficient in growing food and end hunger in Uganda.

Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr

Yemeni_CiviliansOngoing conflict in Yemen continues to take its toll on the civilian population. According to the United Nations Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 21.2 million Yemeni civilians of the total 26 million in the population are in need of humanitarian assistance.

15 million people no longer have adequate healthcare as a result of the conflict in Yemen. Fuel and medical supply shortages have severely hindered functioning of hospitals and health facilities.

The deterioration of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services further aggravates the situation — approximately 20.4 million people lack adequate WASH services, says UNOCHA.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently working with other health partners to “ensure the continuity of health services” in Yemen.

Mobile clinics, for example, serve as “primary healthcare centers” in more remote areas of the country. WHO, partnered with Field Medical Foundation, have set up mobile clinics which specifically cater to the treatment of children between six months and five years of age in Aden, Lahj and Hadramout.

Approximately one million liters of fuel have been delivered to health facilities. The WHO and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been working together to bring water to different regions of the country.

According to BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, the conflict in Yemen began in the 2011 Arab Spring.

In an attempt to contain protests within Yemen’s borders, Yemen and its Gulf Arab neighbors made a deal that ultimately led to the replacement of President Ali Abdullah Saleh by Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.

In retaliation, Saleh supported a rebellion by Houthi rebels in late 2014. By January 2015, President Hadi had lost power and immediately made for Saudi Arabia, where he currently lives in exile.

Yemen now finds itself torn between Houthi/pro-Saleh forces in the West and Hadi forces in the East. As the fighting continues, WHO and other organizations continue to make major efforts toward supporting Yemeni civilians caught up in the violence.

Jocelyn Lim

Sources: BBC, World Health Organization (WHO) 1, World Health Organization (WHO) 2, World Health Organization (WHO) 3, UNICEF, UNOCHA
Photo: Google Images

According to the U.S. State Department, the U.S. currently has trade barriers and financial restrictions, or economic sanctions, of various types against eleven countries, including Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Russia.

Some of the sanctions target only individuals as in Zimbabwe’s case. Russian sanctions, on the other hand, target a range of industries, most notably defense, oil and energy.

U.N. economic sanctions against Iraq from 1991 to 2003 illustrate the impact of sanctions on the populace. Not only were financial transactions, overseas flights and exports banned, but imports were limited strictly to food and medicine. Gross domestic product (GDP) plunged from $38 billion in 1989 to $10.6 billion in 1996 in Iraq. Per capita GDP plunged to around $500 per person from 1991 to 1996, a decline of over 75 percent from the prior period.

Gross domestic product (GDP) plunged from $38 billion in 1989 to $10.6 billion in 1996 in Iraq. Per capita GDP plunged to around $500 per person from 1991 to 1996, a decline of over 75 percent from the prior period.

For Iraqi people, these statistics had consequences on their health and livelihood. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found that mortality doubled in children aged 5 and below. People consumed 32 percent fewer calories a day. Half of Iraq’s water treatment facilities ceased functioning, and 59 percent of people lacked access to clean water as a result. Over a quarter of Iraqi health centers closed and three-quarters of hospital equipment broke down.Econimic_Sanctions

People consumed 32 percent fewer calories a day. Half of Iraq’s water treatment facilities ceased functioning, and 59 percent of people lacked access to clean water as a result. Over a quarter of Iraqi health centers closed and three-quarters of hospital equipment broke down.

As salaries declined, many social problems arose. Iraqi citizens had to sell their belongings for food and many had to sell their homes. Crime and divorce rates skyrocketed. Many single mothers were forced into prostitution.

While exact figures are hard to find, a United Nations field office said, “The country has experienced a shift from relative affluence to massive poverty.” Likewise, debate surrounds the exact number of deaths caused by sanctions but estimates somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.

Less severe sanctions also hurt. The World Bank reports that Iranian per capita GDP fell from over $7,800 in 2011 before sanctions, to under $5,450 in 2014. The Moscow Times said an additional 2.3 million Russians became impoverished through the first nine months of 2015. Sanctions hurt, and yet, the people do not rebel. Leaders stay in power and policies rarely change.

University of Oregon professor James C. Davies “J-Curve” theory of revolutions explains why sanctions often fail to induce revolution. According to this theory, people revolt when reality fails to meet expectations for the future following a period of rising prosperity. An example of this theory in practice can be found in South Korea. Following decades of prosperity, people demanded more political power and freedom in the 1980s and successfully rebelled.

Economic sanctions are powerful in their effect on society, often causing significant problems for citizens within the countries being sanctioned.

Dennis Sawyers

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency, Global Policy Forum, The Moscow Times, The Nation, U.S. Department of State, World Bank
Picture: Google Images, Wikipedia

Summers are hungry times for the poor of Senegal, who must endure an annual “lean season,” lasting from June to September. Food insecurity caused by fluctuating food prices and unpredictable cereal harvests can leave hundreds of thousands of Senegalese malnourished and ill. Though Senegal’s economy relies mainly on the success of its agricultural sector – nearly 80 percent of the country’s people are employed in the industry, that success does not always translate to adequate nourishment for its 13 million people.

This year, underwhelming crop outputs are largely to blame for the food shortage Senegal is currently facing. Cereal harvests typically produce 20 percent more food than they have this year. As an added effect, the lean season started even earlier than usual this year, extending the period of chronic food insecurity for over half a million people.

Hunger has the power not only to kill and make ill, but also to disrupt families and throw individuals further into poverty. In Senegal, men often leave rural areas to seek food or employment in urban centers, forcing women to bear the burden of childcare at home. Many women, failing to obtain adequate food and water supplies for their families, resort to selling many of their possessions to make ends meet. Still, that is often not enough.

What’s the good news? Senegal is one of the most stable countries in Africa and has been since its independence from France in 1960. That makes it much easier for humanitarian agencies to work with the Senegalese government to implement effective aid programs. Currently, the World Food Programme of the United Nations is collaborating with Senegal to bring food to 675,000 of its people during the lean season.

The food aid strategy Senegal employs is based on a voucher system, in which households receive a monthly voucher they can use to feed their families. The program is very popular among the Senegalese people; one voucher recipient noted that, “from today forward, I will be able to feed my children, prepare rice the way I like it, and also save money to pay back my debts.”

With successful, targeted food aid programs like World Food Programme’s, the people of Senegal may be able to weather what is already the worst lean season of the last five years. Additional foreign aid aimed at Senegal would only extend that effect to even more people.

– Elise L. Riley

Sources: World Food Programme, The Hunger Project, Action Against Hunger
Photo: Global Post