16 October 2012: World Food Day
The German emergency relief organization Welthungerhilfe supports people all over the world by helping them to help themselves. One focus of its work is on projects aimed at bringing about lasting improvements in food supply. October 15, 2012
Deutsche Welthungerhilfe has been in existence for 50 years now. Since its foundation in 1962, this independent and private aid agency in the field of development cooperation has provided nearly 2.5 billion euros in funding for more than 6,800 projects in 70 countries — in its fight for a world without famine or poverty. The spectrum of the organization’s work extends from swift disaster relief to reconstruction and longer-term projects. Working in tandem with partner organizations at the local level, Welthungerhilfe’s goal is to help people to help themselves and lead a self-determined and dignified life.
Take for instance the Nepalese mountain farmers in the Himalayan village community of Korak, who belong to an ethnic minority. Their knowledge of how to utilize natural resources sustainably has been lost as a result of civil war and social marginalization. What is more, severe monsoon rains and droughts are on the increase, with devastating consequences for harvests. Since November 2011, however, the tide has begun to turn: in nine communities, Welthungerhilfe and its local partners have started to work together with the population. For the first time, the people in Korak feel that they are being taken seriously. Never before have they ever had any say in things – but now their needs are being identified for a village development plan. The People’s Forum, which represents all sections of the population, was established as the project’s umbrella organization. This has meanwhile given rise to more than 40 different initiatives in the areas of road building, sustainable forest use and reforestation, irrigation, integrated agriculture and marketing as a source of income. The training and education programmes are tailor-made for the people in Korak.
Another example is the famine crisis in the Horn Of Africa, which in 2011 provoked a tremendous willingness to help in Germany. “For East Africa alone, we received donations of 17 million euros, not only to provide acute survival relief but also to lay the foundations for long-term improvements in food supply”, reports Wolfgang Jamann, chairman of Welthungerhilfe. Around eight million people in the region continue to rely on emergency aid as a result of drought, crop failures and high food prices, not to mention the tense security situation.