First Person Blog

Voices, video, and photos from Oxfam's fight against poverty

Sahel food crisis: sharing the facts and the faces

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Right now more than 18 million people in the western Sahel region of West Africa are facing a food crisis. Oxfam is aiming to reach more than a million people with aid. Here in the US, we’re also trying to bring attention to a crisis that hasn’t received much coverage in the news.

You can help spread the word by sharing our new “photo-infographics” (yes, I just made that term up), below, on your various social media pages. Initiallly, we wanted to create simple infographics to draw attention to some of the stark facts about the crisis. Then we had the idea to visually combine them with some of our recent Oxfam photos from the Sahel. We ended up using images from Mauritania and Burkina Faso—two of the countries hit hardest by the crisis. Hopefully, these photos are a reminder that behind every statistic is a person (or a family, or a community) trying to get by.

Here’s a little more information about the people and places behind the images:

 

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Aissata Abdoul Diop, a member of the Diawoud community women’s cooperative in Mauritania, holds drought-withered ears of corn from her fields. Lack of rain, combined with rising food prices, has put 700,000 Mauritanians at risk of hunger: about a quarter of the country’s population. People living in rural areas, like Diop, face the greatest risk. (Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam)

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Seidou Sy Fame works long hours in a community garden in Ganki, Mauritania, tending crops threatened by drought. As water sources dry up and crops wither in the fields, Oxfam and partners are undertaking essential projects that include rehabilitating wells, constructing water networks, and providing irrigation to community gardens. (Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam)

 

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A farmer in Burkina Faso shows rice grains dried up due to lack of water. Because Burkina Faso is facing a potential 32,000-ton rice shortfall this year, Oxfam is supporting people as they seek alternative ways to provide for their families, like cultivating vegetable gardens. Though gardeners face daily challenges accessing enough water, the vegetables require less water than rice, and they still help families eat.

“If I sell some of the vegetables, I can buy millet, which is the staple part of our diet,” said Ramata Zore, chairwoman of a garden cooperative in Taffoga. “I’d also like to keep up the vegetable plot for five years.  Then, if I manage to find something else to do which will enable me to supplement my income, I’ll be able to start a small business. I want to carry on with the vegetable plot and earn money to help my children.” (Photo: Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam)

Oxfam is aiming to help 1.2 million people across seven countries with programs that include cash transfers and cash-for-work initiatives, veterinary care for the livestock on which many families depend, and access to clean water and sanitation. We are also campaigning to change the root causes of this crisis. Find out how you can support our efforts.

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