Africa is currently facing the largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, according to Stephen O’Brien, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations. O’Brien and his department estimate that over 20 million people in 4 different countries in Africa are at risk of starvation over the next several months unless the world can come together and intervene. O’Brien’s specific request for monetary aid was $4.4 billion, which he estimates would be enough to stave off the growing hunger crisis and save millions of lives.
Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and Northeast Nigeria have been particularly hard hit during this time due to a combination of internal conflict within the countries, and severe droughts during their growing seasons. In addition to the issues within these specific countries, Africa as a whole is facing severe climate change, population growth, widespread unemployment, extreme poverty, hunger, and now coronavirus. With all of these challenges facing their people, there has never been a time in Africa’s history when it has needed help more than it does today.
Help comes in many forms, and HHRD’s Africa Relief Fund aims to provide assistance to African countries through a multi-pronged approach. HHRD provides assistance in getting food and water to those in need. The care packages are thoughtfully put together and have enough food to last a family of 5-7 for 2 weeks. By including hearty, long-lasting staple food items, they ensure that every ounce of nutrition possible is being packed into their meal packages. For water insecure regions, HHRD’s Water for Life program works with engineers on the ground to determine ways to install, retrofit, or modify existing water supply schemes for long term sustainable use.
While food and water are the most immediate and life-threatening needs for most, HHRD also works to set local communities up for economic success through their Skills Development and Livelihood program. Economic depression is widespread in Africa, and by helping the local populations set up some form of business, HHRD hopes to secure long-term success and prosperity. HHRD’s Skills Development workers train the local population on how to create goods that will be desirable to the local community and the world at large. By imparting the knowledge of how to create quality products and sell them effectively, entire towns can be made economically self-sufficient.
Healthcare is also severely lacking across the continent. HHRD’s Health Care and Nutrition program works with the World Health Organization to provide free medical help to disaster areas. Free medical exams, diagnosis, and medicine are part of the standard treatment package for so many who do not have the opportunity to get their yearly checkup at the local doctor’s office. In addition to basic medical exams and screenings, HHRD is able to provide eye exams to the local populations. Free eye operations have helped over 1100 people in Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, and South Africa maintain their vision.
In the midst of a crisis, proper education tends to be hard to come by as well. HHRD’s Educational Support program works to provide education to over 300 orphans at a time in Mogadishu, Somalia. The orphans are sponsored, or “adopted”, by their donors, and are provided with school tuition, supplies, pocket money, medical screenings, and psychological support.
All of these efforts are supported by donations, and as Stephen O’Brien will tell you, the assistance currently required in Africa is not cheap. HHRD would love to expand all of its programs in the region, in order to help as many people as possible. Consider helping out today, with a small donation that will be used to directly benefit the people of Africa who need it most.