Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 at 10:57 am
By Carol Morgan, Regional Director, Central Africa Region, Concern Worldwide
Hafiza Moussa is three years old and suffering from malaria. He is receiving treatment from a Concern-supported ward (CRENI) at the regional hospital.
I recently returned from the Sahel region of Africa, where a major humanitarian crisis is now unfolding, affecting an estimated 18.7 million people. In the Tahoua region of Niger, where Concern is responding, I saw children who, completely listless from the effects of malnutrition, could not hold down therapeutic milk in overcrowded feeding centers.
The United Nations now estimates that upwards of one million children are at extreme risk of severe acute malnutrition across this semi-arid belt of land along the Sahara desert. Even in ‘non-crisis’ years, 645,000 children die in the Sahel—35 percent of which are linked to malnutrition. This grim reality will never change unless we address the root causes of cyclical hunger.
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Posted on Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 8:23 am
By Tom Arnold, Chief Executive of Concern Worldwide
The three-day United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development which started in Rio de Janeiro today (Wednesday, June 20) presents world leaders with an excellent opportunity to adopt a new approach to climate change that reflects the priorities of the developing world. Called Rio+20, it marks the 20th anniversary of the historic 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development attended by 179 countries which put sustainable development on the global agenda.
The Sahel region of Africa is currently facing a food security crisis that threatens more than 18 million people
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. In the poorest countries where Concern works, the strains caused by climate change are increasingly evident. Erratic seasons, rising droughts and floods, uncertain planting dates, and shorter growing periods for essential staples are all having an impact. For the world’s poor, who overwhelmingly depend on rain-fed agriculture for their survival, the changing patterns of climate, land availability, and food production have caused chaos.
In the Sahel region of Africa, where a current food security crisis threatens more than 18 million people, rainfall has decreased by 25 percent in the last 30 years wreaking havoc on farming communities. Other factors like deforestation, overgrazing, continuous cropping, desertification, and poor water management have also contributed to a deteriorating environment.
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Posted on Monday, June 11th, 2012 at 8:29 am
By Paul O’Brien, Overseas Director, Concern Worldwide
In this region, malnutrition rates rise and fall along with the levels of food available pre- and post-harvest.
On July 9th, the Republic of South Sudan will celebrate its first Independence Day since its secession from the Republic of Sudan in 2011. I recently travelled, first to Juba, the capital, and then to the Aweil West and Aweil North areas of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state—a region bordering the Republic of Sudan where a staggering 800,000 people live below the poverty line.
In this region, malnutrition rates rise and fall along with the levels of food available pre- and post-harvest. In Aweil West, for instance, fluctuations in child malnutrition rates from harvest to the ‘lean season’—the time preceding the harvest when food supplies are at their lowest– doubled from 12 percent to 26 percent in November 2011. Given that a rate of 15 percent is considered to be at emergency-level, it is clear that communities in South Sudan are constantly confronting food insecurity, even in times of what they consider to be ‘plenty.’
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Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 1:08 pm
By Moire O’Sullivan, Assistant Country Director Programs, Concern Worldwide Cambodia
Today, Dok Sareth went to the bank. He came home with a bag of rice.
“Before the rice bank was set up, I had to borrow rice seed to plant my rice crop,” Sareth told me on a visit to his village. “Every time I borrowed, I had to repay the loan with a 100 percent interest rate. Now because of the rice bank set up with Concern’s support, the villagers can help each other and the interest rate is much more affordable. It has made a huge difference to my life and I am extremely grateful.”
Local farmer Dok Sareth proudly shows off his rice bank. Conor Wall / July 2011 / Pursat, Cambodia
The people who Concern works with in Cambodia depend heavily on rain-fed rice production for their income. They are rural farmers who grow and sell rice on the small amounts of land that they own. Those without land work on other farmers’ paddy fields for a small daily allowance. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 4:11 pm
Paul O’Brien, Overseas Director, Concern Worldwide
Last week, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg announced a contribution of $33 million to support food security, nutrition and short-term cash assistance efforts across the West African region of the Sahel, bringing USAID’s total humanitarian assistance to the region to more than $270 million in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. The announcement caused barely a ripple in the US media, and many who heard the news may have even asked ‘What crisis?’ or ‘What’s the Sahel?’ As aid organizations, it is our responsibility to issue and amplify calls to action to respond in the Sahel, and to broadcast the important message that coordinated action now will save lives and prevent costly interventions later – and we have the evidence.
Millet is the staple crop that keeps most people alive in Niger, but this year, drought and poor harvests threaten to leave 13 million people in need of emergency food assistance by April. Photo: Tim Peek for Concern Worldwide US, Tahoua town, Niger
Right now, a series of factors—including volatile spikes in food prices, failed harvests and cyclical drought—have triggered widespread food shortages across the Sahel, according to the USAID Famine Early Warning System Network. Levels of malnutrition among children under five have already reached the internationally recognized emergency threshold of 15 percent in parts of many affected countries, which include Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 1:31 pm
By Emily Bradley, Program Support Officer (PSO)
Bakhtwar sits proudly in front of her small shop which she reopened with the support of Concern after the floods washed it away. Jamshoro District, Sindh. Photo: Emily Bradley
Driving through Southern Sindh province in Pakistan on a bright, sunny day in early December 2011, it is difficult to imagine the catastrophic scale of the destruction caused by the floods of 2010. Beyond the bounds of the irrigated sites, the land is now dry and dusty and the heat is immense. As I meet with Concern’s beneficiaries and partner organizations, it is all too clear however, that, although the flood waters have receded, their devastating legacy lingers.
In August and September 2010, villages across Jamshoro district were entirely submerged in water. We all recall the media images of the floods in Pakistan, but it is often difficult to fully comprehend the extent and reality of the devastating impact until you speak with those who were directly affected. Imagine losing everything you ever possessed; imagine fleeing your home with your children to save your lives; imagine watching as the mud walls and thatch roof of your home and business disintegrate in the floodwaters before your eyes.
Now try and imagine all of this as a severely disabled mother of eight. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 8:00 am
Stefano and his wife pictured with one of their rabbits. Photo: Joseph Scott, Malawi, Concern Worldwide
As the rains pound mercilessly in the small village of Chikanga – Stefano and his neighbours hope that, this season, their crops will make it.
The rainfall pattern of the last two farming seasons has been unpredictable, with rains disappearing mid-season and leaving any crops to the mercy of the sun.
After two hours of thunderous downpours, Stefano, a father of five from Lilongwe, goes out to survey his rabbit kraal and chicken pen, dodging the children playing and shouting all around him.
Unlike the past years, Stefano has a sense of calm and security. Whether there are going to be floods, drought ,or normal rainfall, he is better positioned than ever before to withstand potential disaster.
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Posted on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 6:00 am
Mrs Sokhom pictured feeding the chickens that managed to provide her with a lifeline. Photo: Cambodia, Concern Worldwide
I have been in Cambodia for just nine months now, and the hectic nature of the lifestyle in Phnom Penh is matched only by the sheer volume of work that needs to be tackled on a weekly basis.
Then again, I have come to expect this when working with Concern, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is easy, particularly in an office-based role such as mine, to get immersed in the Mekong-like flood of different things coming across your desk. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 at 9:09 am
Abraham, the livelihood program manager for Concern in Angola. Photo: Aoife Gleeson, Concern Worldwide
It’s nearly eight o’clock in the evening and I can’t believe I am still in the office. The working day here in Angola starts at 7.30am, so it feels longer than a typical day. I finished working a while ago but have been chatting with Abraham, the livelihood program manager for Concern in Angola.
His story is so compelling and he tells it in such an open and engaging way that I’ve found myself completely hooked. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Mr Chinamo, aged 83, addresses the crowd at his farm in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe. Photo: Cormac Staunton, Concern Worldwide
I watch as Mr. Chinamo, an 83-year-old farmer from Gokwe North in central Zimbabwe, stands proudly in his field. Flanked by his wife Clara, he surveys his crop, picks up a bullhorn and begins to speak.
As many as 500 people are watching, the majority of them also farmers from the same district. This is the centerpiece of their “Field Day,” an age-old tradition in rural Zimbabwe. Read the rest of this entry »