Skye Wheeler is the Humanitarian Press Officer for Oxfam America.
As the English wife of an American I am occasionally called upon to defend our royal family. “What are they for?” people ask.
A discussion about the Windsor family is beyond the scope of this short blog but I was glad to see William and Kate providing one answer to the question today in Copenhagen where they toured UNICEF’s enormous warehouse to bring attention to the drought in east Africa right now. In Somalia the drought, together with conflict there and a lack of development over many years, has amounted to more than 750,000 people at risk of dying from famine.
William and Kate join their voices with other celebrities who have already tried to call attention to the massive humanitarian emergency in the horn of Africa right now.
Oxfam ambassadors Scarlett Johansson and Kristin Davis have brought attention to the very difficult situation hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees in Kenya are facing. Read about Scarlett Johansson and Kristin Davis‘ trips to East Africa, and how they responded to the stories they heard in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp (the world’s biggest). And learn about Djimon Hounsou’s Twitter fund-raising campaign for Oxfam’s work in East Africa.
Celebrities are important messengers for crises like this one. They get people interested in something that otherwise might feel just like something happening very far away. But they’re also just people and have normal people reactions to seeing this kind of hardship. Dadaab’s security situation is too bad right now to make a royal visit likely any time soon, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see how Kate and William would respond to the world’s biggest refugee camp?
Oxfam aims to reach more than 3 million people throughout East Africa with a variety of support, including food aid, clean water, and veterinary care for animals. We are drilling and repairing wells and distributing fuel vouchers to ensure that pumps on the wells can keep operating—even if people have no money. We are also campaigning to change the root causes of this crisis. Find out how you can support our efforts.