The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
UUSC Provides Aid with Dignity
By Hannah Moy on August 14, 2017
Described by the United Nations as the largest humanitarian crisis since WWII, a widespread and enduring drought in East Africa is putting millions at risk of starvation. As with all of UUSC’s emergency initiatives, our goal is to provide aid with dignity to protect the lives of those affected by the famine but left out of traditional humanitarian relief efforts. We will achieve this goal through our usual partnership model, working with two long-time partners, SoilFarm Multi-Culture Group and the Tanzania Gender Networking Program.
Our collaboration with SoilFarm Multi-Culture Group (SFMG) in Kenya builds upon our previous work together. A number of years back, UUSC funded SFMG’s Food Security Project, which taught families the skills and knowledge needed to plant crops that are drought-resistant. Fortunately, the crops planted through this past program have withstood the extreme conditions facing much of East Africa today. Families that learned to harvest these resilient crops through SFMG’s project are now coming together with whatever surplus they have to assist those most in need, and have even set up five food donation centers that provide food to orphans, widows, and the elderly.
In addition to immediate aid, families are in need of long-term solutions to address food sustainability. With UUSC’s support, SFMG will help 400 households in the larger Kakamega community in Kenya by providing seeds to plant resilient crops (e.g. cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum), and by leading community trainings on food security, environmental degradation, and proper harvesting techniques. Additionally, members of UUSC and SFMG’s past Food Security Project will visit schools to educate youth on the importance of crop diversity and environmental matters.
In the Dodoma region of Tanzania, UUSC is working with the Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP Mtandao) to provide humanitarian relief and capacity building to women-led households. The prolonged drought adversely affected crop production and livestock development in many parts of Tanzania, but Dodoma was hit particularly hard. With UUSC’s support, TGNP intends to supply three months worth of crops to around 600 female-led families. In addition to this critical support, the project will focus on increasing awareness of women’s rights, economic justice, food security, and alternative agriculture.
Our East African famine projects will be supported through UUSC’s Emergency Humanitarian Crisis Fund, which also provides critical disaster relief for those affected by the destructive cyclone in Burma last May. Please consider making a contribution to this fund today!