Ways to Help Famine Victims in the Horn of Africa

Somalia and neighboring countries are facing the worst drought in 60 years, which has led to severe famine affecting approximately 10 million people. Hundreds of thousands of people – the majority women and children – have been displaced in the Horn of Africa.

As in most cases of humanitarian crisis, one of the best ways to make a difference is to give to organizations on the field that are working with victims. In this case, there are some complications.

Al Shabaab – the militant group controlling much of Somalia – is not allowing help into some of the most devastated places; and because countries like the United States are not legally allowed to give aid to terrorist groups, the charities working in the area have to be cautious and often work outside of Somalia in nearby camps.

Organizations to Consider:

IRC – A major refugee non-profit, the International Rescue Committee is one of my go-to groups. They help victims get everything from food and water to legal help after a crisis. Right now, they are providing monetary assistance to famine victims’ families, along with food, water and health care.

UNICEF – UNICEF’s focus on children means they are at the forefront of the crisis, because children have been the most affected by malnourishment. With 2 million children at risk, UNICEF has established feeding centers for the most acutely malnourished children.

Doctors Without Borders – Always on the field in the Horn of Africa, Doctors Without Borders is providing medical relief to victims who are malnourished or arriving wounded at refugee camps.

Religious Groups:

World Vision – Another group that is very active on the Horn of Africa, World Vision is a Christian organization providing basic aid to famine victims.

Islamic Relief USA – Focused a good deal on drought conditions, Islamic Relief USA is providing drinking water and water pumps to refugees and internally displaced people within Somalian borders.

American Jewish World Service – A major Jewish charity, AJWS is partnering with other organizations to provide aid.

(There are of course many other groups large and small delivering assistance. These are just a few doing either really amazing work or helping from a unique perspective.)

Fundraising Idea:

I figured I’d add a quick tip for raising funds to give. Pick an organization with some friends, and spend this weekend doing free stuff together. Watch a movie, go to the park, etc. Take the money you all save by not eating out or paying for entertainment, and donate it together.

As a team you could also write notes to accompany your donation and mail them to the relief workers, pray together for victims, or create something to raise awareness for this issue.

I’ve used this idea before with my husband and we really enjoyed it. It works for a variety of causes, and ends up bringing us closer by giving us something to work toward together.

(Photo by Oxfam East Africa)

6 Responses to “Ways to Help Famine Victims in the Horn of Africa”
  1. Cassie says:

    Thanks for posting, Jo! I received info about this crisis in today’s newsletter from Sameritan’s Purse, another good nonprofit to support as well. I love your creative ideas about HOW to go about donating.

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