A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
As millions of people continue to face hunger in East Africa, here's an event that you can take part in this weekend to help raise awareness of -- and help raise life-saving cash for -- the crisis that communities in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are facing.
Started by US-based blogging community, Daily Kos, the online event is about using the Internet to get as many people as possible talking about the food crisis over the course of this coming weekend. The money raised will help fund the vital emergency work of different organisations operation in the drought stricken area.
But beyond simply raising cash, the event aims to increase understanding of the causes of the crisis and how problems that include marginalisation, conflict, a lack of investment in small-scale food producers, and a changing climate must all be addressed in the long term.
It's the latter of these issues -- climate change and its impact on food production -- that we'll be going into in a bit more depth on this blog. Stay tuned for more about that...
If you'd like to get involved too, check out the information and links below, or take a look at this post on Daily Kos.How to take part
If you have your own blog then you can take part by writing a post about the food crisis (see 'What should I write?' for a few ideas).
If you don't have your own blog you can still get involved by sharing other people's blog posts on Twitter and Facebook. Follow the hashtag #48forEastAfrica on Twitter or keep your eye on the latest entries on Daily Kos's website.
What should I write about?
It's completely up to you. You may wish to write an article that explores some of the causes of the food crisis, or a personal piece about fundraising that you've taken part in, or simply encourage others to consider supporting a fundraising appeal too. For further background reading, the links below may be of use:
- Feature from TIME magazine about what the word ‘famine’ means
- Flickr photos of Oxfam’s work in the drought-affected areas
- Oxfam blog: East Africa food crisis - all you need to know
- Daily Kos has put together a list of useful reading -- scroll down to the 'Resources' section on this page