EU Humanitarian Aid Operations and Action against Hunger have joined forces to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the ‘hunger season’ in the Sahel.
The campaign, called ‘The Sound of Hunger’, comes as the Sahel approaches this year’s hunger season which occurs between June and September. During this period, over 50 million people are expected to experience food insecurity; of this number, 9.3 million people will require emergency food assistance to make it through the season.
The campaign will explain this humanitarian situation whereby the lives of millions of children in the Sahel are at risk of disease, malnutrition and possibly death. ‘The Sound of Hunger’ will also provide examples of how European Humanitarian Aid and Action against Hunger have jointly been responding to this emergency, with food assistance, nutrition care, access to safe water and other interventions.
Food insecurity is a chronic issue in the Sahel region, the band below the Sahara desert stretching across Africa, but every year the hunger season makes it worse, hitting the most vulnerable populations. From Mauritania to Mali, from Niger to Chad, this is the time of the year when the poorest families have consumed their food reserves while the new harvest is yet to materialise. During this precarious season, food is scarce while prices go up, and the risk of hunger and under-nutrition is higher.
The campaign’s main tool, an emotional video spot, is designed to be massively shared by viewers and direct them to an informative website where they can learn more, participate and help silence ‘The Sound of Hunger.’
The European Union is one of the largest contributors of humanitarian aid to the Sahel. European Humanitarian assistance to this region reached over €299 million in 2016 in support of 1.9 million Sahelian people affected by severe food and nutrition insecurity.
This contribution has helped to meet a quarter of all emergency food assistance required as well as to life-saving treatment to 618 000 children affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition.
Emergency needs in the Sahel will persist unless the root causes of food insecurity and under-nutrition are properly addressed and the resilience of the poorest people is strengthened. In 2012, the European Commission championed the creation of AGIR, the Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative, which aims to strengthen resilience in West Africa/the Sahel and has set itself a ‘Zero Hunger’ goal by 2032.