First Person

Sahel food crisis: Kristin Davis and Djimon Hounsou raise funds and awareness

Posted by

Now is a crucial time for farming families across the Sahel region of West Africa, where drought and rising food prices have put an estimated 18 million people at risk of hunger.

Fatimata Awade draws water from one of the few remaining wells in Natriguel, Mauritania. Many of the community's wells have run dry due to the recent drought. Photo: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam

Many farmers had poor harvests last year, and they’re struggling to find the resources to re-plant their crops when—and if—this season’s rains begin in the coming weeks. “The situation is difficult here. There’s a problem of rain. It’s been irregular,” said Founé Danfakha, a 60-year-old grandmother of four from Bembou, Senegal, who grows rice, maize, and groundnuts to feed her entire household. “If there’s not enough rain, there won’t be a harvest. And if there is no seed, there’ll be no harvest.”

Oxfam and partner organizations have mobilized across the region, aiming to reach more than a million people with aid. But funding for this emergency still lags far behind the needs.

Kristin Davis. Photo: Oxfam America

That’s why Oxfam’s celebrity ambassadors have also gotten involved in the effort: to use their voices to help raise funds and awareness. Yesterday, for example, actors and Oxfam supporters Kristin Davis and Djimon Hounsou launched individual fund-raising pages to support Oxfam’s response to the crisis.

“Sadly, there are still those who are not aware of the dire need that West Africa is in right now,” wrote Hounsou on his fund-raising page. “The people there are facing drought and a severe food crisis. To some of us, this problem is a world away and is easy to ignore, but I implore you to pay attention.”

Davis, who’s traveled with Oxfam to countries like Uganda, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Kenya, said she wanted her fund-raising page to help call attention a crisis that hasn’t been covered in the news. “One of my main goals with working and traveling with Oxfam is to get the truth,” she wrote. “The truth of what’s really happening to people around the world—the truth that doesn’t seem to make headlines.”

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. Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+