BLUE TEAM MISSION:

As the Blue Team in Economic Development in Africa course at Howard University, we want to positively affect the African economy and people by assisting in the issue hunger plaguing Eastern Africa. We want to team up with Bread for The World who is an established organization that works to end World Hunger by writing letters to Congress. We want to spread the word on Howard University's campus and get our students involved to help make a change in Africa.


Bread for the World:

http://www.bread.org/about-us/
Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.
By changing policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities where we live.
We can end hunger in our time. Everyone, including our government, must do their part.
With the stroke of a pen, policies are made that redirect millions of dollars and affect millions of lives.
By making our voices heard in Congress, we make our nation’s laws more fair and compassionate to people in need.

What We Do

Bread for the World members write personal letters and emails and meet with our members of Congress. Working through our churches, campuses, and other organizations, we engage more people in advocacy.
Each year, Bread for the World invites churches across the country to take up a nationwide Offering of Letters to Congress on an issue that is important to hungry and poor people.
As a non-profit, Bread for the World works in a bipartisan way. Our network of thousands of individual members, churches, and denominations ensures Bread’s presence in all U.S. congressional districts.
Together, we build the political commitment needed to overcome hunger and poverty.

RESEARCH:

Based on our reseach, famine has struck Eastern Africa to the core. For the first time since the 1980s, the UN has declared a famine in Africa. An exceptionally severe drought is the main cause. More than 10m people are directly affected. The epicentre is in Somalia and Ethiopia—as aid agencies have made abundantly clear in their funding appeals—but the situation in neighbouring Eritrea is almost as desperate and politically much more complicated.
True to form, the Eritrean government is mostly keeping mum on food shortages. Since winning independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year civil war, the country has changed from a poster child for liberty to Africa’s most autocratic and reclusive country. Ethiopian officials claim that almost half of Eritrea’s 5.3m inhabitants are in need of food assistance, though that is likely to be an exaggeration. The hungriest bits of the country are in the Danakil depression, where nothing grows and only small numbers of Afar nomads live. It is the harvest in the highlands that really matters; the Eritrean government insists that people there have enough food.
Farming in the highlands depends on water from small dams that local communities built for themselves as part of an official self-reliance campaign. Almost alone on the continent, Eritrea turns away foreign aid. That would be fine if President Isaias Afwerki were benign and competent. Reports of human-rights abuses are hard to verify, but a stream of Eritreans fleeing the country bears witness to a thoroughly demoralised people. This month has seen a series of high-profile defections: football players absconding at an away match in Tanzania; medical workers seeking refuge in Sudan; naval ratings escaping to Yemen. Even a senior government propagandist has bolted. The punishment of family members and the occasional execution of failed escapees may only accelerate the flow as it makes the granting of asylum abroad more likely.
Ethiopia has complained that Eritrea maintains ties with rebel groups in the region, including Ethiopian secessionists. Together with other neighbours it has even called for UN sanctions against Eritrea, aimed at the mines. Since independence, Western engineers working for Australian and Canadian minerals companies have found gold, copper and zinc worth billions of dollars in royalties and taxes to Mr Afwerki. Alleged links with the al-Qaeda-like Shabab militia in Somalia are unproven. But Eritrea’s ties to its south-eastern neighbour are undeniable—hunger may drive them closer together.
(http://www.economist.com/node/18989213)

Thousands of people, more than half of them children, died needlessly and millions of dollars were wasted because the international community did not respond to early warnings of an impending food crisis in East Africa, aid agencies said in a report released Wednesday.
Most rich donor nations waited until the crisis was in full swing before donating a substantial amount of money, said the report by Oxfam and Save the Children. A food shortage was predicted as early as August 2010, but most donors did not respond until famine was declared in parts of Somalia in July 2011.
The report, written by two prominent aid groups, even blamed aid agencies, saying they were too slow to scale up their response.
"We all bear responsibility for this dangerous delay that cost lives in East Africa and need to learn the lessons of the late response," said Oxfam head Barbara Stocking.
The aid agencies said many donors wanted to first see proof that there was a humanitarian catastrophe. That caused a funding shortfall that delayed a large-scale response to the crisis by around six months.

New crisis in West Africa

Now, there are clear signs that there is an impending hunger crisis in West Africa, said Save the Children's head Justin Forsyth. The report said that a food crisis in the West African region known as the Sahel is being driven by drought and high food prices. The report says agencies should put into practice there what has been learned in the Somalia crisis.
A recent Save the Children assessment in Niger shows families in the worst-hit areas are already struggling with around one-third less food, money and fuel than is necessary to survive.
  • 'The world knows an emergency is coming but ignores it until confronted with TV pictures of desperately malnourished children.'—Justin Forsyth, head of Save the Children
The report says the delays in East Africa caused thousands of deaths and increased costs for aid agencies. The British government estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 people have died from the famine, mostly Somalis. Ethiopia and Kenya were also affected but aid agencies were able to work more easily there than in war-ravaged Somalia.
More than half of those who died are believed to be children. The U.N. says 250,000 Somalis are still at risk of starvation and more than 13 million people need aid.
"The earlier you respond, the more you get for your money," said Oxfam's regional spokesman Alun McDonald.
"We've done a lot of water trucking. It's the last resort," he said. "It's a very expensive and inefficient way of delivering water."

Issue of cost and timing of response

Friday will mark six months since the U.N. declared famine in Somalia.
"It's much more cost-effective to invest early on," he said, in things like dams, reservoirs, and boreholes.
Trucking just over a 5 litres of water per day per person to 80,000 people in Ethiopia costs more than $3 million for five months, the report said, compared to $900,000 to prepare water sources in the same area for an oncoming drought.
The report also said it costs three times as much to restock a herd in northern Kenya than to keep it alive through supplementary feeding.
"The world knows an emergency is coming but ignores it until confronted with TV pictures of desperately malnourished children," said Forsyth.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/01/18/east-africa-hunger-response-deaths.html

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Video:

http://www.bread.org/hunger/global/eastern-africa-drought/video-crisis.html

OUR PLAN:

As the blue team, our first plan of action is to conduct and host a series of "Congress Letter Writing Sessions" on campus to bring in a significant amount of letters from the young minds of our brilliant University. Howard University possesses a wealth of students from all over the United States and world that can write to their individual Congressmen or Congresswomen asking for change. We plan on hosting these events and volunteering with Bread For The World with any events that that may need help with.