We were recently in touch with Craig Kielburger of Free the Children, an organization we have worked with closely over the years. Free the Children has been working in East Africa for 15 years, and report that this instance is one of the most severe droughts in East Africa in 60 years. Malnutrition in both children and adults is rising across the region and is expected to continue to do so until the next rainfall, likely in about 5 months’ time.
In response to this situation, Free the Children is administering a feeding program for all of the children attending Free The Children schools, as well as 3,500 pregnant women and new mothers. They are also working in partnership with the UNHCR to arrange for food and medical shipments to aid some of the hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees in Dadaab. As always, their initiatives will be paired with a continued focus on sustainable and long-term development so that communities are less vulnerable to these challenges in the future.
Support for both their short term emergency food relief and their long-term agriculture development programs will enable the communities to cope with this crisis while building towards a more sustainable future.
Craig reports that the distended bellies, extreme malnutrition and cholera seen in the media aren’t found in the communities that 60 Million girls has been supporting. He goes on to say that:
“So much of this current suffering could have been prevented if more organizations approached their work through long-term development such as [60 million Girls]… Education is one of the most effecting ways to make lasting change in a community, including through teaching about drought-resistant crops and irrigation. There are ripple effects for generations to come.
Because of your help, we are empowering communities to break a cycle of poverty.”