Today the African Union will meet in Ethiopia to decide how much money they will pledge to tackle the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa.
With hundreds of thousands of children currently facing hunger and disease across the region, World Vision urged African leaders and the international community to give generously and save lives.
“We need to see action now on funding pledges. We also need to make sure the money is spent to help those children most in need,” said World Vision spokesperson in Addis Ababa, Njeri Kinyoho.
“Women like Gaalo Adan Ali, a Somali mother of nine, need urgent help. Gaalo suffered two consecutive dry seasons and lost two of her children on a 15 day trek to Puntland in northern Somalia to find food.”
Across the Horn of Africa there are approximately 2.3 million acutely malnourished children.
As well as increasing pledges to help meet the US$1.3 billion dollar funding gap for the total USD$2.4 billion needed, World Vision said it was important the leaders of the member states made sure resources continued to flow to help communities build resilience to future droughts.
World Vision’s development work has already proved that investment in irrigation, agriculture and markets helps villagers cope with drought conditions that cause children to die in communities where no such investment has been made.
“More attention needs to be paid to giving long-term help to families and communities to ensure they can withstand shocks such as droughts,” Ms Kinyoho said.
“To build food security within the region, today’s African Union meeting needs to focus on forming partnerships between countries, regional institutions and humanitarian organisations to link long-term development efforts with humanitarian assistance.
“Comprehensive national food policies and other food security strategies do exist but many regional and national agreements have not been fully implemented. Countries need to live up to their promises.”
World Vision has been responding to the food and drought crisis in East Africa since February this year. The organisation aims to help more than 2.5 million people in the three most affected countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
World Vision also has plans to assist more than 400,000 people who need food aid in Tanzania.