FAO issues alert over third consecutive failed rainy season, worsening hunger in East Africa

Rome – Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead – according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The most affected areas, which rec…

Use Mandela Day to fight poverty

President Jacob Zuma says South Africans must use Mandela Day on 18 July to take forward the fight against poverty.

The Presidency on Friday said Nelson Mandela International Day, marked in honour of the world icon and late President Nelson Mandela, will this year be observed under the theme #ActionAgainstPoverty.

President Zuma said the collaboration of all sectors to fight and alleviate poverty in the country has been commendable. He called on society to continue working with government to fight poverty, inequality and unemployment to improve the living conditions of the poor and the working class.

Too many of our people live in poverty, in spite of progress that government is making in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment.

As guided by the National Development Plan’s vision for rural revitalisation, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, we must work together to intensify poverty alleviation programmes and initiatives to ensure that our people receive basic human needs, especially food production to ensure access to food, the President said.

The people of South Africa are also encouraged to be actively involved in various initiatives to change their lives and uplift their communities out of poverty.

Job creation

The President encouraged all to promote food gardens for households, support for cooperatives, Small, Medium & Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and other initiatives that will help alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life.

Government runs effective poverty alleviation programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which has since 2014, created more than two million work opportunities towards the attainment of the target of six million work opportunities by the end of March 2019.

Of the work opportunities created, more than a million have been taken up by the youth.

During 2015/16, more than 61 000 work opportunities were created through environmental programmes such as Working for Water, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire and Working for Ecosystems. The Presidency said more than 60% of the beneficiaries were young people.

Other initiatives, such as the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC); Community Works Programme (CWP), SMMEs support and financing, will be intensified to address unemployment.

We believe that South Africans, young people in particular, have greater opportunities to change our environment and communities for the better. [They can] help us to grow our economy and contribute to the prosperous country that Tata Madiba lived and died for.

The youth must be inspired and groomed to be agents of change in fighting for freedom from poverty, inequality and unemployment, said President Zuma.

Government reaches close to 17 million people, mainly older persons and children, through social grants, said the President.

In honour of Madiba, South Africans are encouraged to engage in meaningful and constructive community work by dedicating themselves to improving the lives of poor people and uplift the lives of those in need to build a united and more caring society for a better life.

Let us individually and collectively continue to make a difference in addressing the most pressing challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, said President Zuma.

Source: South African Government News Agency

UN Gives Goats as Emergency Food Measure in Boko Haram-hit Nigeria

ROME � Nearly 1,000 women struggling to put food on their tables in Boko Haram-hit northeast Nigeria have received goats as emergency assistance, the United Nations said Thursday.

The region is threatened with famine after the militants’ eight-year insurgency to create an Islamic state, which has killed more than 20,000 people and forced 2.7 million people to flee their homes.

Many women, traditionally responsible for small livestock, have had their animals stolen or were forced to leave them behind to escape, leaving them with virtually no source of food and money for their families, aid agencies say.

“Many are alone because … men have left, been injured, disabled or even killed,” Patrick David, Nigeria country representative for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

FAO said it delivered 3,600 goats to about 900 women in the northeastern Borno state. Each received three breeding females and one male.

The “emergency distribution” targeted families hit hardest by the conflict, such as those displaced or who recently returned home in areas taken back by the Nigerian army, the agency said in a statement.

“My husband is paralyzed for the last five years due to injuries sustained during the conflict. As an only earning member, I will keep these goats to reproduce so we can sell some of them and buy grains,” Bintu Usman, 35, was quoted as saying by the FAO.

Families living in towns or villages where displaced people have sought shelter also received help, said David.

“Animal restocking is crucial for the benefit of women for whom goats play a major role for the household nutrition security through the provision of milk and a source of revenue,” he said.

More than 5 million people do not have enough to eat in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, including 50,000 living in famine-like conditions.

Nigeria’s army and troops from neighboring countries have pushed Boko Haram out of most of a swath of land about the size of Belgium that it controlled in early 2015. But insurgents continue to carry out suicide bombings and raids in northeast Nigeria, as well as in Cameroon and Niger.

A suicide attack in Borno’s capital of Maiduguri killed 17 people and injured 21 on Wednesday.

Source: Voice of America