Champion African Humanitarian Organisations To Get Aid To Vulnerable People

It is vitally important that African organisations’ efforts to address the continent’s challenges, such as food insecurity, are championed by the international humanitarian aid community, ForAfrika CEO Isak Pretorius said at the World Food Programme (WFP) Annual Partnership Consultation that took place in Rome, Italy, from 25 to 27 October 2022.

Africa is at the epicentre of the global food crisis in which an estimated 42-million people worldwide face starvation this year, and which looks set to worsen in 2023, delegates were told at the gathering, which brings together organisations that operate as the WFP’s implementing partners across the world.

Indigenous organisations are better able to retain access to communities struggling with political upheaval and even conflict than international entities, plus these organisations also bring with them grassroots innovation, context and efficiency that is vital, particularly in the current environment, Pretorius said.

“We are an African organisation, with predominantly African staff who are rooted in the African communities they serve. When others are running out, we are running in,” Pretorius said.

ForAfrika is the continent’s largest indigenous humanitarian organisation and has approximately 700 African staff members across six countries – South Sudan, Mozambique, Uganda, South Africa, Rwanda and Angola. 

“We are ideally placed to help global organisations such as the WFP ensure that their interventions have complete buy-in from the recipients, and to solve real, on-the-ground issues,” he added.

ForAfrika has partnered with the WFP since the late 1990s, says Pretorius. Together, ForAfrika and the WFP have reached around 1.3-million people in South Sudan, Mozambique and Uganda this year.

In 2008, ForAfrika and the WFP started working together in what is now South Sudan, where a small partnership grew to the extent that ForAfrika has become the WFP’s second-largest implementing partner in that East African country. ForAfrika has managed a number of projects, programmes and warehouses across Africa for the WFP, including the construction of roads, wells and flood dykes.

Climate change, conflict, and their concomitant economic pressures are the main drivers of the global food crisis.

“We are currently facing a perfect storm. The lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, war in Ukraine and the resultant food shortages and rampant inflation are all combining to have devastating effects on Africa and other parts of the world. More than 200-million more people than in 2019 are facing severe food insecurity, so we are being forced to do more with less, and I believe this is not temporary but is the new normal, at least for a protracted period,” Pretorius said.

The 2022 WFP Annual Partnership Consultation theme was “Partnering to Turn the Tide Against Hunger”, and the conference brought together WFP’s largest strategic partners in order to find ways to do just this.

In September 2022, ForAfrika added its signature to an open letter, endorsed by the members of 238 non-governmental and civil society organisations from 75 countries, that calls on world leaders to end world hunger immediately. The letter was released as global leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

The letter calls for greater action to end hunger across the world, yet the resources available for taking such action are dwindling.

“Not only do we have to do more, we have to do better, and I believe this comes down to vision,” said Pretorius. “If our vision doesn’t change, then we will continue to create what I call perpetual poverty, a form of poverty that people exist in for longer … This cannot be our vision – we have to have a vision for people to flourish. For us at ForAfrika our vision is for Africa to thrive.”

ForAfrika collaborates with African communities to determine where it can help them make their own priorities come to fruition. In its work to promote food security, it has reached nearly a million people, creating more than 100 communal farms.

Working together with communities, ForAfrika has facilitated training for more than 46 000 people, equipped local farmers with more than 300 000 seeds, and helped establish value-chain systems.

Details of ForAfrika’s work can be found on its website: https://www.forafrika.org/our-work/

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