Following two consecutive seasons of poor rainfall, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan are all suffering a third year of drought: more than 15 million people won’t have access to safe drinking water this year, and 600,000 children under five will suffer severe malnutrition.
The drought is expected to worsen between now and May, when the rains are expected to fail again. Famine has already been declared in South Sudan, and Somalia is on the brink. The last time famine hit Somalia, a quarter of a million people died.
Women and girls are bearing the brunt of the crisis. They are trying to survive and care for their families while being exposed to an increased risk of sexual violence due to the much greater distances they must now walk in search of water to drink.
Nimo walked for eight days with her children in search of water in Somaliland, where drought has destroyed crops and livestock.
Ruth Masime, ActionAid’s Policy Manager in Kenya, says the situation is critical: “As a result of the drought, women and girls face a triple burden in some cases: to survive, care for their families and evade sexual violence in the process. Urgent action is needed to avert starvation, sexual violence and community breakdown.”
ActionAid puts women and women’s rights at the centre of all their work because they believe that inequality is an injustice that must be defeated. Women around the world are more likely to live in poverty just because they are women. They have less access to land, education, income and decision-making – all of which keeps them poor and increases their vulnerability in crises such as this:
- Nearly 100,000 people died in Cyclone Nargis in 2008 – 77% were women (Source: ActionAid, Women’s Resilience Index 2015 “Empowering Women 101” video)
- In the 2004 Tsunami, 80% of those who died were women (Source: Oxfam International, 2005)
- 70% of the Ebola epidemic victims were women (Source: ActionAid, Women’s Resilience Index 2015 “Empowering Women 101” video)
- As of 2015, just 0.5 per cent of humanitarian funding was spent on addressing gender-based violence (Source: Women and girls: Catalysing action to achieve gender equality – WHS 2016)
Since launching in 2012, Azimo has always championed diversity and empowering women around the world is a key focus for us. So it’s a privilege to show our support for all those facing daily struggles in the wake of terrible disasters.
“Africa is one of Azimo’s biggest corridors for sending money,” explains Marta Krupinska, Co-founder and General Manager at Azimo. “So it’s incredibly important to know that our donation will be going directly to help countries that we serve.”
To get involved, simply click here to visit the Azimo homepage and start saving money and lives today. You can also make a separate donation to the ActionAid East Africa Food Crisis Appeal here. Many thanks for your support!
Header photo: Jennifer Huxta/ActionAid. Other photos: ActionAid