The Sahel region of West Africa has contended with the effects of climate change for years. For the last several years, rain has been scarce, but people planted their crops anyway. Drought prevented much of them from reaching maturity before the rainy season came. When it did, it washed away what the people were counting on: food through to the next planting season.
There are approximately 815 million food-insecure and malnourished people in the world today. Shoukuriya is just one of millions of children impacted by the lack of access to quality food.
Shoukuriya wears a red ankle bracelet indicating she’s been diagnosed with acute malnutrition, but you don’t need to see the bracelet to know this little girl is in danger.
At one year and nine months, Shoukuriya’s bright eyes have gone listless, her siblings long for her to run and play, and she doesn’t speak. Her mother, Zeinabou, is determined to keep caring for her daughter and always has her top of mind. She told me,
“I wake up sometimes in the middle of the night to check on her breathing and see if she’s still alive.”
Malnutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life has permanent negative impacts on a child’s physical and cognitive
development. Repeated, acute malnutrition prior to the age of 5 can cause children to be “wasted.” Chronic malnutrition during the same age range can cause “stunting,” a permanent condition that renders those who suffer from it permanently developmentally and physically disadvantaged.
“Providing micronutrients to children under five is the single smartest way to spend global aid dollars. Every $1 spent yields $30 – an astonishing return on investment ratio by any measure. We cannot improve health and promote development without addressing micronutrient deficiencies.” – 2010, International Food Policy Research Institute
$40 can provide drought-resistant seeds which can help farmers combat dry seasons and still produce enough food for their families.
$50 can provide a household with one pair of chickens for egg production and breeding.
$81 can provide one family with a crop kit and training on farming techniques to increase the amount of food they can grow.
Donate now so children like Shoukuriya don’t have to wonder where their next meal will come from.