People's Stories Human Rights Today

One year later, there is hope
by Collins Odhiambo
ActionAid - Hunger Free Campaign
Modogashe, Northern Kenya
July 2012
She was a victim of the food crisis that threatened the lives of millions of people across East Africa a year ago. To her, help came in time and she survived. I met six-year-old Sadia Abdullah, a standard one pupil from Makarim Primary School in Modogashe in Northern Kenya.
When our team met her last year, she was suffering from malnutrition. When I visit her almost one year later, Sadia is no longer an image of hunger and drought. She is now a smiling healthy girl thanks to the life-saving treatment and food that ActionAid provided to her and her family.
Sadia’s mother remembers: “We lost everything to drought-All my goats and sheep died. I was left with nothing. We could go for days without food. My children dropped out of school and they were malnourished. But things have changed for the better”.
“I don’t feel frustrated about what my children will eat because my situation has improved. We can now afford to have two meals in a day thanks to the monthly relief food that we get”.
ActionAid has been delivering emergency monthly food rations to families in the area. Sadia’s family has not only been benefitting from this, but also from water trucking which we are providing. The food, which includes cereals, vegetable oil, milk, beans and peas, is enough to last the family for a month.
Sadia’s mother tells me, that she no longer worries over food and water. She says that the food she has been getting enabled her children to rejoin school. Sadia tells me that she gets a mug of porridge in the morning and a plate of rice and beans at lunchtime. Modogashe is one of the areas in North Eastern, that is still too dry for successful farming, says field officer, Adam Gollo.
“Children are the first victims when a country grows short of food, because they are the weakest and their bodies have fewer defenses to fight against diseases, especially if they have not enough to eat. Malnutrition has unfortunately been hitting children for ages. That is why ActionAid aims its food assistance primarily at children, the elderly and at pregnant and nursing mothers”.
Action Aid’s emergency work includes a variety of activities across the entire District of Garbatulla. Apart from the emergency food distribution and water, ActionAid has also undertaken assessments, monitoring and treatment of malnourished children; built water tanks at health clinics and at five primary schools, distributed livestock to pastoralists, and provided de-worming and other veterinarian support for animals. ActionAid programs are working to build community resilience to deal with these sort of adverse situations.

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Food Security - Preventing Hunger
by HLPE, World Food Progamme (WFP)
The High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on food security and nutrition has been created as part of the reform of the international governance of food security to advise the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) which is the foremost intergovernmental and international platform dealing with food security and nutrition.
In June 2012 the Committee issued new HLPE reports on Food security and climate change and Social protection for food security see link below.
Food Security - Preventing Hunger. (WFP)
On average, WFP aims to bring food assistance to more than 90 million people in 73 countries.
As the United Nations frontline agency in the fight against hunger, WFP is continually responding to emergencies. We save lives by getting food to the hungry fast.
WFP also works to help prevent hunger in the future. We do this through programmes that use food as a means to build assets, spread knowledge and nurture stronger, more dynamic communities. This helps communities become more food secure.
Whether refugees are fleeing war, floods are washing away homes or drought is destroying farmland, hunger is often the first emergency.
As soon as the local government has requested WFP"s help, our emergency response mechanisms go into action. Time saved means lives saved, so our Emergency Preparedness team makes sure WFP is ready to go, anytime. They use ground-breaking technology to direct assistance to where it is most needed.
In the early days of an emergency, while the first food supplies are being delivered, Emergency Assessment teams are sent in to quantify how much food assistance is needed for how many beneficiaries and for how long. They must also work out how food can best be delivered to the hungry.
Equipped with the answers, WFP draws up an Emergency Operation, including a plan of action and a budget. This lists who will receive food assistance, what rations are required, the type of transport WFP will use and which humanitarian corridors lead to the crisis zone.
Next, WFP launches an Appeal to the international community for funds and food aid. The agency relies entirely on voluntary contributions to finance its operations, with donations made in cash, food or services.
As funds and food start to flow, WFP"s logistics team works to bridge the gap between the donors and the hungry. To transport food to crisis zones we use ships, planes, helicopters, trucks -- whatever it takes, including donkeys and yaks, if need be.
When the food reaches designated distribution sites - refugee camps, therapeutic feeding centres and other emergency shelters - WFP teams up with governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to deliver food into the hands and mouths of the hungry. WFP works with about 3,000 international and local NGOs to distribute food aid.
At this stage, local community leaders work closely with WFP to ensure rations reach the people who need it most: mothers, pregnant women, children and the elderly.
What is food security?
People are considered food secure when they have all-time access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life (Definition adopted by the 1996 World Food Summit). Food security analysts look at the combination of the following three main elements:
Food availability: Food must be available in sufficient quantities and on a consistent basis.It considers stock and production in a given area and the capacity to bring in food from elsewhere, through trade or aid.
Food access: People must be able to regularly acquire adequate quantities of food, through purchase, home production, barter, gifts, borrowing or food aid,
Food utilization: Consumed food must have a positive nutritional impact on people. It entails cooking, storage and hygiene practices, individuals health, water and sanitations, feeding and sharing practices within the household.
WFP"s post-emergency and development operations are built around projects focused on preventing hunger taking hold in the future and breaking the cycle of hunger which is at its root.
WFP"s innovative projects allow the weak and poor to stop worrying about their next meal and build a sustainable future for themselves, their families and their communities.
Here are some of the ways in which we work to prevent hunger in the future:
School meals
As well as directly addressing hunger, school meal projects encourage families to keep their children in school and so help them build better futures. If children are not hungry they will also concentrate better on their lessons. With a solid education growing children have a better chance of finding their own way out of hunger. These projects benefit girls especially.
Food for Assets
WFP"s Food for Assets projects pay the hungry with food to lay the foundations for a better tomorrow. When poor farmers no longer have to worry about the next meal, they have the time and energy to build irrigation systems that can boost production. Similarly, Food for Training projects allow the poor to devote time to learning skills that will sustain them economically in future.
WFP uses its food rations to soften the blow of HIV and AIDS. The agency distributes its rations to people living with HIV and AIDS, so they can keep providing for their families for longer and have time to transfer vital knowledge and skills to the growing number of AIDS orphans - the next generation of food providers in developing countries.
Purchase for Progress
WFP already buys large amounts of food in developing countries. P4P harnesses this purchasing power and uses it to help poor farmers connect to reliable markets where they can get competitive prices for their produce. With secure markets, farmers will be encouraged to produce more and innovate. The knock-on effect is more food security for everyone.
Focus on Women
WFP has long believed that women are the first and fastest solution to reducing hunger and poverty. In both its emergency and development projects, WFP has a special commitment to helping women gain equal access to life"s basic necessity.

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