February 2018


This post was originally published on this site

Regular natural disasters hinder stability for many Filipino communities, and limited access to educational opportunities delays children’s development in Indonesia. These are just two examples of how children and families are struggling to survive and thrive in the Asia-Pacific islands. They need your prayers. Please pray for the Asia-Pacific Islands — World Vision’s work with communities in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea.

Sing to the LORD a new song … you islands, and all who live in them.—Isaiah 42:10

Pray for disaster preparedness in the Philippines.

The Philippines deals with more than 20 natural disasters each year, most of them storms and floods. Because they strike so frequently, many families have little time between events to recover and rebuild. World Vision works closely with communities and government agencies to help people prepare for and quickly respond to disasters. Additional training helps families become resilient.

Lord, may those suffering from the effects of recent natural disasters ultimately put their hope in You. When the storms rage and waters rise, equip aid workers to meet the most urgent needs. And when the effects subside, provide teachers to train community members in basic disaster preparation skills.

Pray for early childhood education in Indonesia and Vanuatu.

About 98 percent of Indonesian children attend primary school, but only 72 percent of boys and 75 percent of girls continue on to secondary education. And 1 in 5 children in Vanuatu does not attend primary school. In both island nations, World Vision helps preschoolers learn basic skills and establish an appetite for learning.

Lord, many children in rural Indonesia and Vanuatu lack access to resources like transportation, which prevents them from attending primary and secondary school. Bless teachers and parents with energy and wisdom to create an accessible and invigorating environment where their children can grow strong and learn to know You.

Pray for an end to violence against women in the Solomon Islands.

About 2 of 3 women in the Solomon Islands have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner, according to a 2009 government study. World Vision uses an innovative, biblical approach to address gender-based violence in communities here. The organization recently adapted its Channels of Hope for Gender community training for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to use. The police are seeing hearts change and peace return to many households.

Jesus, we know Your heart breaks every time someone abuses their spouse or loved one. Thank You for equipping law enforcement to address these issues in the Solomon Islands, and give World Vision the resources to reach more communities where women and children face abuse.

Pray for food security in East Timor.

East Timor has been independent from Indonesia for 15 years, but the country still ranks 133 of 188 countries on the United Nations’ human development index. In East Timor’s rural areas, 9 out of 10 people rely on agriculture for their livelihood. When the rains don’t come, farming-dependent families struggle to feed themselves. World Vision equips farmers to improve their yields and income through training in new methods, seeds, and diversified crop cultivation.

Lord, we acknowledge our reliance on You to provide the elements necessary to grow crops. We humbly submit our desire for families to flourish by Your provision. We ask that You bring rain. Bring nutrients. Bring hope to struggling families.

Pray for people with tuberculosis (TB) in Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally and geographically diverse countries in the world. The island nation also has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the Pacific region, according to the World Health Organization. World Vision works with the national department of health to treat TB patients and educate communities about the disease.

Jesus, embolden health workers to emulate Your model of healing to those living with TB. Encourage people who are sick to be faithful in their treatment so the disease will not spread or become drug-resistant. Allow Your hope to invade the hearts of families struggling with the disease.

The post Covering the world in prayer: Pray for the Asia-Pacific Islands appeared first on World Vision.


This post was originally published on this site

Millions of people in East Africa are experiencing chronic hunger and the threat of famine. Conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices are to blame. People are starving to death — right now.

Hunger and malnutrition continued to worsen in East Africa through the peak of the lean season in July. Massive food assistance is needed by May 2018 to prevent hunger and the fear of famine in East Africa. Up to 25 million people in East Africa are in need of humanitarian and protection services.

Recurring East Africa droughts make it difficult for farmers and herders to produce crops and feed livestock. While Somalia has seen some improvement since rain in fall 2017, many families will face hunger in the coming months. Food security is also getting worse in Ethiopia.

Children will be hit the worst, with their health and development drastically impacted. More than 15 million children in the East African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, and Somalia are struggling to get enough to eat, and an estimated 6.9 million of them are malnourished.

Our big goal:
Help end hunger through child sponsorship.

Sponsoring a child in Africa can save lives, and help prevent the spread of hunger. Now and for years to come.

Brief history of hunger and famine in Africa

A look back at some of Africa’s major food crises shows conditions still faced by many Africans today: poverty, drought, conflict, and environmental degradation due to overgrazing, deforestation, and other types of environmental damages.

1968 to 1980s — A drought in the Sahel region led to 1 million deaths in Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso.

1980 to 1981 — Drought and conflict led to widespread hunger in Uganda.

1984 to 1985 — Famine in Ethiopia. Drought in the northern highlands and problems delivering aid led to approximately 1 million deaths and massive displacements.

1991 to 1992 — The Somalia famine is caused by drought and civil war.

1998 to 2004 — During the Second Congo War, more than 3 million people died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mainly from starvation and disease.

2011 to 2012 — The Horn of Africa hunger crisis is responsible for 285,000 deaths in East Africa.

2015 to 2016 — A strong El Niño affected almost all of East and Southern Africa, causing food insecurity for more than 50 million people.

2017 to 2018 — 25 million people, including 15 million children, need humanitarian assistance in East Africa.

World Vision’s work to combat hunger in Africa

For more than 40 years, World Vision has brought emergency aid and long-term assistance to families and communities in East Africa. Here are some of the ways we help them to overcome the root causes of hunger and malnutrition:

  • Food assistance, including emergency feeding and cash
  • Diagnosis and treatment of childhood malnutrition
  • Water and sanitation to prevent water-related diseases and provide water for irrigation
  • Support for improved, more efficient agriculture and for farmers to diversify livelihoods
  • Land rehabilitation to improve harvests

FAQs: What you need to know about the East Africa hunger crisis

Explore frequently asked questions about the East Africa hunger crisis, and learn how you can help hungry children and families:

 

Fast facts: East Africa hunger crisis

Recurring failed rainy seasons have made it impossible for many East African farmers and herders to keep up their livelihoods. Poor rainfall is expected to increase humanitarian needs for the first six months of 2018, especially in South Sudan, Ethiopia, and northern Kenya.

  • 6 million people in the East African region are displaced due to conflict and drought, making them dependent on aid to meet their needs.
  • Communicable diseases threaten the lives of children. More than 131,000 cases of acute watery diarrhea or cholera were reported in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya during 2017, according to the World Health Organization. Measles outbreaks in Ethiopia and Somalia affected more than 24,000 children.
  • Conflict, hunger, poverty, and displacement create a climate in which children are at risk of violence and exploitation.
  • Help is necessary to keep the Africa hunger and food crises from worsening. Children, especially those younger than 5, are the most vulnerable because they need critical nutrients to build strength and immunity against disease.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

East Africa food insecurity map

Severe drought and widespread food insecurity are also ravaging entire communities in Niger, Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, parts of the Southern Africa region, and Yemen, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

FEWS Net map of food security levels in East Africa as of September, 2017.FEWS Net map of food security levels in East Africa through January, 2018.

 

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Why are people in Africa facing chronic hunger?

Recurring drought, conflict, and instability have led to severe food shortages. Many countries have struggled with extreme poverty for decades, so they lack government and community support systems to help their struggling families.

A compressed cycle of recurring drought is plunging the same communities into drought again before they have a chance to recover sufficiently from the last one. It’s the roller coaster that doesn’t seem to stop, while picking up speed.

In South Sudan, where people fled their homes because of violence, few farmers have been able to harvest a crop. This limits what is available at community markets and raises food prices. In addition, during the rainy season, 60 percent of the country is inaccessible by roads, which limits transportation of food aid as well as goods sent to market.

In such conditions, poor families can’t afford enough food to keep their children healthy, and eventually they need emergency help from government agencies or aid groups when they run out of money and food. We’re not talking low funds or food that’s been in our pantry that’s well past its expiration. We’re talking about not having any money or any food at all — nothing.

The longer these factors persist, the harder it is for families to stave off the effects of lost livelihoods and homes.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Join us in prayer

Pray with us for children and families affected by hunger and famine in Africa.

 

 

I hear the word famine a lot, but how do you define famine?

The word famine means an extreme scarcity of food. But it’s more than that — it’s the absolute worst-case scenario for a food crisis and has a technical definition used by the humanitarian community.

Keep in mind that not all food crises become famines. A food crisis becomes a famine when there’s so little food in the region that it causes large-scale starvation, malnutrition, and death.

South Sudan declared famine in February 2017 in two counties in Unity state with a population of about 100,000. By July, enough aid had reached the area so that famine conditions had ended.

To declare famine, the following three things must all happen:

  • At least 20 percent of households in a given area face extreme food shortages with limited ability to cope.
  • More than 30 percent of children suffer from acute malnutrition.
  • Hunger causes more than two deaths each day for every 10,000 people.

When a food crisis no longer meets these technical criteria, a famine is no longer in effect.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Why does it seem there’s always a hunger crisis in Africa?

Drought, poor harvests, and instability create a cycle that’s extremely difficult to break. And this happens in other regions of the world too.

When instability persists because of conflict or political problems, people flee their homes or are unable to plant their crops. Then less food gets harvested. Prices go up. Families’ livelihood prospects dwindle as markets close. Violent conflict makes situations worse because humanitarian groups often cannot access affected communities to bring emergency relief.

Droughts have become more frequent and intense in recent years in west, east, and southern Africa. These droughts affect food-production systems in fragile contexts in similar ways that conflict does. Less food and water also means vast numbers of dead livestock in affected areas. This devastates families’ source of income and food.

And when nearly 40 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa grow up stunted due to chronic malnutrition, they lack the capacity to learn and contribute to society. It’s because their little bodies don’t get enough of the right nutrients at the right times to support physical and intellectual growth. Thus, their countries lose out on significant leadership and innovative potential, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and deprivation.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

What is malnutrition?

Malnutrition refers to an unhealthy condition that develops when your body does not get enough of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to function properly. It can occur when you don’t eat enough food or you aren’t eating enough healthy food.

When food crises happen, some children are malnourished for long periods. This leads to stunting (being underweight for their age). Children who were already growing poorly when the food crisis began now risk becoming permanently stunted (being short for their age).

Those who are most at risk experience severe acute malnutrition, known as severe wasting. This means their bodies are beginning to lose the ability to absorb vital nutrients. So they’re literally starving to death. And they’re nine times more likely to die than a well-nourished child.

Malnourished children don’t just need more food. They need nutrient-rich food treatment, called  ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).

You’ve seen the photos — children getting their arms measured with the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) strips to gauge their level of malnutrition.
Eight-month-old Charity Asibitar is held by her mother while a community health worker measures her mid-upper arm circumference. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

 

 

Medical workers often measure a child’s mid-upper arm circumference to gauge the level of malnutrition the child is experiencing. That’s why you may see photos of people wrapping a band with green, yellow, and red sections around a malnourished child’s tiny upper arm. Green indicates the child is not malnourished. Yellow indicates malnourishment. Red indicates severe malnourishment and risk of death.

Malnutrition is the cause or a contributing factor to 45 percent of deaths among children younger than 5 globally, according to the World Health Organization.

Read more on the tragic, long-term effects of malnutrition.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

How is World Vision responding to the East Africa hunger and food crisis?

World Vision has scaled up efforts in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan to reach up to 2.2 million people with life-saving food, clean water and sanitation services, medical assistance, and livelihood skills training. Here are some highlights from our response in 2017:

  • 2.4 million people reached with food-security and livelihoods support
  • 2 million people reached with health and nutrition services
  • 1.2 million people reached with water, sanitation, and hygiene services
  • 145,000 children reached with protection and education activities

Funding provided through child sponsorship programs in Kenya and Ethiopia enabled our local staff to intervene to assist  communities in 2016 before the crisis intensified. They provided drought-resistant seeds and training for farmers, cash-for-work programs, and other interventions that help families avert crisis or weather it more confidently.

By the time the food crisis became full-fledged, staff in South Sudan and Somalia were already helping communities struggling with food-insecurity and malnutrition due to conflict and years of persistent drought.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

How can people become resilient so they don’t need aid?

There’s no substitute for life-saving aid in an emergency. But World Vision also focuses on long-term solutions that build resilience, which allows families and communities to bounce back when crops fail or streams dry up. Livelihood skills training is one aspect of World Vision’s current responses that helps families find their own way out of a food crisis.

With long-term development programs in place, hunger crises can often be avoided and families can maintain independence. Here’s how World Vision is working today to prevent future food and hunger crises:

  • Farmers and pastoralists benefit from market development, immunizations for livestock, and training and seeds to grow drought-resistant crops.
  • Cash aid gives impoverished families the ability to take care of themselves and stimulates local markets.
  • Saving groups and community banks make loans that help members recover from emergencies.
  • Building and repairing water and sanitation facilities contributes to healthy living.
  • New business training, equipment, and materials can help families diversify their income so their assets are not wiped out by drought or adverse weather.
  • Developing resilience is a generational process. Children who stay in school are better prepared for the challenges and opportunities in their future.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

How can I help hungry children and families in East Africa?

  1. Pray for children and families affected by famine and hunger crises in East Africa.
  2. Give to our East Africa hunger crisis fund. Your gift will help provide emergency food aid, agricultural support, clean water, medicine, and other essential care to hungry children and families.
  3. Sponsor a child. World Vision’s sponsorship program is the most powerful way you can help fight poverty at the family and community level. When you sponsor a child, you provide access to life-saving basics like nutritious food, healthcare, clean water, education, and more. You will help change a child’s life story and the life of their family and community.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Contributor: Kathryn Reid, World Vision staff.

The post East Africa hunger, famine: Facts, FAQs, and how to help appeared first on World Vision.


This post was originally published on this site

Millions of people in East Africa are experiencing chronic hunger and the threat of famine. Conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices are to blame. People are starving to death — right now.

Hunger and malnutrition continued to worsen in East Africa through the peak of the lean season in July. Massive food assistance is needed by May 2018 to prevent hunger and the fear of famine in East Africa. Up to 25 million people in East Africa are in need of humanitarian and protection services.

Recurring East Africa droughts make it difficult for farmers and herders to produce crops and feed livestock. While Somalia has seen some improvement since rain in fall 2017, many families will face hunger in the coming months. Food security is also getting worse in Ethiopia.

Children will be hit the worst, with their health and development drastically impacted. More than 15 million children in the East African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, and Somalia are struggling to get enough to eat, and an estimated 6.9 million of them are malnourished.

Our big goal:
Help end hunger through child sponsorship.

Sponsoring a child in Africa can save lives, and help prevent the spread of hunger. Now and for years to come.

Brief history of hunger and famine in Africa

A look back at some of Africa’s major food crises shows conditions still faced by many Africans today: poverty, drought, conflict, and environmental degradation due to overgrazing, deforestation, and other types of environmental damages.

1968 to 1980s — A drought in the Sahel region led to 1 million deaths in Mali, Chad, Niger, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso.

1980 to 1981 — Drought and conflict led to widespread hunger in Uganda.

1984 to 1985 — Famine in Ethiopia. Drought in the northern highlands and problems delivering aid led to approximately 1 million deaths and massive displacements.

1991 to 1992 — The Somalia famine is caused by drought and civil war.

1998 to 2004 — During the Second Congo War, more than 3 million people died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mainly from starvation and disease.

2011 to 2012 — The Horn of Africa hunger crisis is responsible for 285,000 deaths in East Africa.

2015 to 2016 — A strong El Niño affected almost all of East and Southern Africa, causing food insecurity for more than 50 million people.

2017 to 2018 — 25 million people, including 15 million children, need humanitarian assistance in East Africa.

World Vision’s work to combat hunger in Africa

For more than 40 years, World Vision has brought emergency aid and long-term assistance to families and communities in East Africa. Here are some of the ways we help them to overcome the root causes of hunger and malnutrition:

  • Food assistance, including emergency feeding and cash
  • Diagnosis and treatment of childhood malnutrition
  • Water and sanitation to prevent water-related diseases and provide water for irrigation
  • Support for improved, more efficient agriculture and for farmers to diversify livelihoods
  • Land rehabilitation to improve harvests

FAQs: What you need to know about the East Africa hunger crisis

Explore frequently asked questions about the East Africa hunger crisis, and learn how you can help hungry children and families:

 

Fast facts: East Africa hunger crisis

Recurring failed rainy seasons have made it impossible for many East African farmers and herders to keep up their livelihoods. Poor rainfall is expected to increase humanitarian needs for the first six months of 2018, especially in South Sudan, Ethiopia, and northern Kenya.

  • 6 million people in the East African region are displaced due to conflict and drought, making them dependent on aid to meet their needs.
  • Communicable diseases threaten the lives of children. More than 131,000 cases of acute watery diarrhea or cholera were reported in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya during 2017, according to the World Health Organization. Measles outbreaks in Ethiopia and Somalia affected more than 24,000 children.
  • Conflict, hunger, poverty, and displacement create a climate in which children are at risk of violence and exploitation.
  • Help is necessary to keep the Africa hunger and food crises from worsening. Children, especially those younger than 5, are the most vulnerable because they need critical nutrients to build strength and immunity against disease.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

East Africa food insecurity map

Severe drought and widespread food insecurity are also ravaging entire communities in Niger, Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, parts of the Southern Africa region, and Yemen, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

FEWS Net map of food security levels in East Africa as of September, 2017.FEWS Net map of food security levels in East Africa through January, 2018.

 

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Why are people in Africa facing chronic hunger?

Recurring drought, conflict, and instability have led to severe food shortages. Many countries have struggled with extreme poverty for decades, so they lack government and community support systems to help their struggling families.

A compressed cycle of recurring drought is plunging the same communities into drought again before they have a chance to recover sufficiently from the last one. It’s the roller coaster that doesn’t seem to stop, while picking up speed.

In South Sudan, where people fled their homes because of violence, few farmers have been able to harvest a crop. This limits what is available at community markets and raises food prices. In addition, during the rainy season, 60 percent of the country is inaccessible by roads, which limits transportation of food aid as well as goods sent to market.

In such conditions, poor families can’t afford enough food to keep their children healthy, and eventually they need emergency help from government agencies or aid groups when they run out of money and food. We’re not talking low funds or food that’s been in our pantry that’s well past its expiration. We’re talking about not having any money or any food at all — nothing.

The longer these factors persist, the harder it is for families to stave off the effects of lost livelihoods and homes.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Join us in prayer

Pray with us for children and families affected by hunger and famine in Africa.

 

 

I hear the word famine a lot, but how do you define famine?

The word famine means an extreme scarcity of food. But it’s more than that — it’s the absolute worst-case scenario for a food crisis and has a technical definition used by the humanitarian community.

Keep in mind that not all food crises become famines. A food crisis becomes a famine when there’s so little food in the region that it causes large-scale starvation, malnutrition, and death.

South Sudan declared famine in February 2017 in two counties in Unity state with a population of about 100,000. By July, enough aid had reached the area so that famine conditions had ended.

To declare famine, the following three things must all happen:

  • At least 20 percent of households in a given area face extreme food shortages with limited ability to cope.
  • More than 30 percent of children suffer from acute malnutrition.
  • Hunger causes more than two deaths each day for every 10,000 people.

When a food crisis no longer meets these technical criteria, a famine is no longer in effect.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Why does it seem there’s always a hunger crisis in Africa?

Drought, poor harvests, and instability create a cycle that’s extremely difficult to break. And this happens in other regions of the world too.

When instability persists because of conflict or political problems, people flee their homes or are unable to plant their crops. Then less food gets harvested. Prices go up. Families’ livelihood prospects dwindle as markets close. Violent conflict makes situations worse because humanitarian groups often cannot access affected communities to bring emergency relief.

Droughts have become more frequent and intense in recent years in west, east, and southern Africa. These droughts affect food-production systems in fragile contexts in similar ways that conflict does. Less food and water also means vast numbers of dead livestock in affected areas. This devastates families’ source of income and food.

And when nearly 40 percent of children in sub-Saharan Africa grow up stunted due to chronic malnutrition, they lack the capacity to learn and contribute to society. It’s because their little bodies don’t get enough of the right nutrients at the right times to support physical and intellectual growth. Thus, their countries lose out on significant leadership and innovative potential, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty and deprivation.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

What is malnutrition?

Malnutrition refers to an unhealthy condition that develops when your body does not get enough of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to function properly. It can occur when you don’t eat enough food or you aren’t eating enough healthy food.

When food crises happen, some children are malnourished for long periods. This leads to stunting (being underweight for their age). Children who were already growing poorly when the food crisis began now risk becoming permanently stunted (being short for their age).

Those who are most at risk experience severe acute malnutrition, known as severe wasting. This means their bodies are beginning to lose the ability to absorb vital nutrients. So they’re literally starving to death. And they’re nine times more likely to die than a well-nourished child.

Malnourished children don’t just need more food. They need nutrient-rich food treatment, called  ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).

You’ve seen the photos — children getting their arms measured with the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) strips to gauge their level of malnutrition.
Eight-month-old Charity Asibitar is held by her mother while a community health worker measures her mid-upper arm circumference. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

 

 

Medical workers often measure a child’s mid-upper arm circumference to gauge the level of malnutrition the child is experiencing. That’s why you may see photos of people wrapping a band with green, yellow, and red sections around a malnourished child’s tiny upper arm. Green indicates the child is not malnourished. Yellow indicates malnourishment. Red indicates severe malnourishment and risk of death.

Malnutrition is the cause or a contributing factor to 45 percent of deaths among children younger than 5 globally, according to the World Health Organization.

Read more on the tragic, long-term effects of malnutrition.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

How is World Vision responding to the East Africa hunger and food crisis?

World Vision has scaled up efforts in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan to reach up to 2.2 million people with life-saving food, clean water and sanitation services, medical assistance, and livelihood skills training. Here are some highlights from our response in 2017:

  • 2.4 million people reached with food-security and livelihoods support
  • 2 million people reached with health and nutrition services
  • 1.2 million people reached with water, sanitation, and hygiene services
  • 145,000 children reached with protection and education activities

Funding provided through child sponsorship programs in Kenya and Ethiopia enabled our local staff to intervene to assist  communities in 2016 before the crisis intensified. They provided drought-resistant seeds and training for farmers, cash-for-work programs, and other interventions that help families avert crisis or weather it more confidently.

By the time the food crisis became full-fledged, staff in South Sudan and Somalia were already helping communities struggling with food-insecurity and malnutrition due to conflict and years of persistent drought.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

How can people become resilient so they don’t need aid?

There’s no substitute for life-saving aid in an emergency. But World Vision also focuses on long-term solutions that build resilience, which allows families and communities to bounce back when crops fail or streams dry up. Livelihood skills training is one aspect of World Vision’s current responses that helps families find their own way out of a food crisis.

With long-term development programs in place, hunger crises can often be avoided and families can maintain independence. Here’s how World Vision is working today to prevent future food and hunger crises:

  • Farmers and pastoralists benefit from market development, immunizations for livestock, and training and seeds to grow drought-resistant crops.
  • Cash aid gives impoverished families the ability to take care of themselves and stimulates local markets.
  • Saving groups and community banks make loans that help members recover from emergencies.
  • Building and repairing water and sanitation facilities contributes to healthy living.
  • New business training, equipment, and materials can help families diversify their income so their assets are not wiped out by drought or adverse weather.
  • Developing resilience is a generational process. Children who stay in school are better prepared for the challenges and opportunities in their future.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

How can I help hungry children and families in East Africa?

  1. Pray for children and families affected by famine and hunger crises in East Africa.
  2. Give to our East Africa hunger crisis fund. Your gift will help provide emergency food aid, agricultural support, clean water, medicine, and other essential care to hungry children and families.
  3. Sponsor a child. World Vision’s sponsorship program is the most powerful way you can help fight poverty at the family and community level. When you sponsor a child, you provide access to life-saving basics like nutritious food, healthcare, clean water, education, and more. You will help change a child’s life story and the life of their family and community.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

 

Contributor: Kathryn Reid, World Vision staff.

The post Africa hunger, famine: Facts, FAQs, and how to help appeared first on World Vision.


This post was originally published on this site

God’s greatest messenger of our time is silent today.

The Rev. Billy Graham’s death brings a significant sense of loss to people throughout the world. Believers and nonbelievers everywhere knew and admired him as a man of personal, professional, and spiritual integrity.

That integrity enabled him to cross national, racial, and class boundaries. No matter the audience — be they world leaders or everyday people — Billy Graham’s message was the same: the power of Jesus Christ transforms lives. He had the courage of his convictions to bring that message to some of the most influential people of our time.

In addition, 12 U.S. presidents looked to Billy Graham for advice and counsel. My wife Reneé and I had the pleasure of a short meeting with Dr. Graham in 2010. It was one of the most meaningful and profound times of my life.

Billy Graham had the extraordinary ability to take complex problems facing humanity — war, poverty, disease, prejudice — and explain them simply in spiritual terms. And he did it so effortlessly that one would think he had been discussing the issue with God just moments before.

He probably had.

Billy Graham played an important role in the early years of World Vision. Alongside World Vision’s founder Bob Pierce, he visited children’s homes and preached to U.S. troops in Korea and later served as chair of the World Vision board.

In 1950, Billy Graham announced he was canceling an order for a new Chevrolet and instead giving the money to World Vision to help orphaned Korean children. His gift and his endorsement helped the fledgling organization to survive the early years and grow into an agency that today has more than 42,000 staff helping serve victims of poverty and injustice in nearly 100 countries.

Today, Billy Graham has been reunited with his wife, Ruth, who probably introduced him to Jesus Christ face-to-face. And I’m certain the Lord greeted him with the words, “Welcome home.”

The post Rich Stearns reflects on the Rev. Billy Graham’s death appeared first on World Vision.


This post was originally published on this site

I will admit it wasn’t the most romantic date. But that sunny afternoon in 1974 was definitely memorable for me and my wife Reneé.

I was just 23 and a brand-new Christian. Reneé and I were in Oceanside, California, where she grew up, not far from Camp Pendleton. When we heard that the Rev. Billy Graham had agreed to come to the base to speak to the Marines, we couldn’t pass it up. What I witnessed that day was one of my first glimpses into the supernatural power of God working through a life surrendered to him.

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.—Hebrews 13:7

At Camp Pendleton, we sat in an amphitheater among several hundred people. In the row in front of us were three young Marines, no older than 21 or 22. As the event began with music and testimonies, they joked and snickered. It was obvious that they had been commanded to attend. We were irritated by their rudeness.

Then Billy Graham got up to speak. I cannot remember what he said, but during his message, the three young men gradually began to quiet down. One hung his head, another put his head in his hands, and the other sat stoically. Billy gave his predictable invitation at the end, asking all who were willing to come forward and commit their lives to Christ. Many began to work their way down the bleacher steps.

We saw tears running down the face of one of the Marines in front of us. He stood and left his buddies to go forward. Then the second stood and followed, leaving only one still sitting. More tears appeared on this last young man’s face as he wrestled with his decision. Finally, almost at the very end of the call, he too went forward.

Reneé and I were stunned. These three had not come that day thinking their lives would change — no, they came to poke fun and to ridicule. But they had not counted on the power of the gospel message of forgiveness and redemption. In the end, they could not resist it.

Thirty-six years later, Reneé and I had the profound honor to meet with Billy Graham on the occasion of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s 60th anniversary in November 2010. Then 92, he was frail, mostly deaf, and partly blind, and his thundering voice was now weak and raspy, but he remained a giant of the faith — the man who advised then 10 but eventually 12 presidents and countless world leaders, the evangelist who preached the good news of Jesus Christ to more people than anyone in history, the towering figure who dominated the latter half of the 20th century as one of the most admired men in the world.

Billy Graham would say he doesn’t deserve such praise or recognition. Unlike most figures of public adulation, he has always asserted that it was God who was the power behind all of the amazing events and outcomes that characterized his life’s work.

And I agree. It was not he who orchestrated those great events; it was not he who led millions to the cross; it was not the 17-year-old farm boy who himself had come forward to answer a similar call in 1934. It was God working through him. It was God. This same God was the power behind Moses’ staff, David’s sling, and Paul’s pen. He is the same God who has also promised to use all who are willing to lay down their lives for him.

Billy Graham dared to take God up on his amazing offer — and then he spent the next six decades spending himself in service to the One who paid such a high ransom for him. My prayer is that God will find a few more men and women with the same willing heart.

 

This column originally appeared in the spring 2011 issue of World Vision magazine. It has been updated to reflect the Rev. Billy Graham’s death.

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To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, here are seven easy ways to make a big difference in the lives of daughters, sisters, and mothers around the world — and right in our own neighborhoods.

1. Provide the ticket to education: clean water.

Did you know that girls in poor communities often miss school because of a lack of clean water in their village? Instead of attending class, millions of girls and women are forced spend several hours each day fetching water for their families that is often dirty and dangerous to their health. Help provide clean water or walk the average 6 kilometers they walk for water and open the door to education for a young girl.

2. Support girls and women in crisis.

Millions of girls are subjected to abuse, child labor, sex trafficking, child marriage, and other offenses. Your gift will go where it’s needed most, protecting girls and women by equipping skilled, local staff to offer training, education, counseling, medical care, small business loans, and other programs that reach women and girls as well as boys — helping to end cycles of gender-based violence.

3. Mentor a girl close to home.

A growing poverty rate, poor-performing schools, and teen violence make it tough to be a girl growing up in the United States. Reach out and influence the life of a young girl in your own community by volunteering as a tutor or mentor. One way to establish a mentorship is through Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

4. Invest in a small business owner.

Through World Vision microloans, you can connect with hardworking female entrepreneurs who are waiting to realize their dream of building or expanding a successful business. A small loan is all they need. Even better, when the loan is paid off, your donated funds are recycled again and again to help more people and make a bigger impact.

5. Use your voice to end preventable deaths of mothers and children.

Although incredible progress has been made over the last several decades, we can’t stop speaking up. Nearly 2.7 million newborns around the world still die each year, about 1 million on their very first day of life, over 300,000 women die annually due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth, and 16,000 children die every day, most from preventable and treatable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Congress listens to the emails and calls from you. Tell them to support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (S. 1911, HR. 3706) to help implement a more efficient, sustainable approach for saving the lives of moms and babies.

6. Help a new mom.

The first weeks of a newborn’s life are the most critical. You can help save young lives around the world by giving a new mother the essential things like a bassinet, cloth diapers, blankets, a container for clean water, and soap. Your gift also provides life-saving infant care training. Know a new mom near you who might be feeling overwhelmed? Mothers of Preschoolers connects moms of young children all over the world to a community of women in their own neighborhoods who meet together to embrace the journey of motherhood.

7. Tell the women in your life that you care.

Empowering women starts right in our families, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Write a note of thanks to that teacher who encouraged you years ago, pick up coffee for that new mom in your office who’s struggling to balance it all, or tell your own sister, daughter, or mother how much you appreciate them.

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High schooler Michael Atlas will go hungry with his youth group for his fourth 30 Hour Famine this spring.

As youth come together across the country this weekend to fast for 30 hours and bring hope to the hungry, find out how Michael’s first experience inspired him and brought him closer to God.

*     *     *

I vividly remember my first experience with the 30 Hour Famine as an incredibly hungry freshman in high school.

I was still relatively new to St. Joe’s Youth Group and initially wary of spending an extensive 30 hours with them in the act of fasting. To be completely honest, I didn’t think I could manage it; I loved eating more than I loved life itself.

Nevertheless, backed by the support of a few close friends alongside me and my youth ministry leader, Bob, I decided to join the Famine, and I don’t regret a single second of it.

My church’s Famine started off with a night of games and friendly competition, each with the specific purpose of opening our eyes to the issues concerning world hunger and poverty. Despite hunger already settling in my empty stomach, I fully invested myself in every activity, hoping fun could be a comparable substitute for food.

Although each new game we played acted as another great distraction from the daunting task at hand, I found myself learning a lot about poverty as well. This was especially true for the short breaks we took between each activity, as the team of ministry leaders would present facts about hunger, tell stories, and have us act out scenarios.

It was not long before I found myself wrapped up in the presentations, as each appalling statistic and humbling story seemed to pull on something deep inside of me. Coming to the realization that some people are faced with such destitution was troubling; this social injustice did not make sense to me. I felt an urge to reach out a hand to these people who desperately needed my help and the help of any other person like me, which only grew stronger as the night grew longer.

Each presentation would then transition into another game, and I would spring back into my joyous, competitive self, but everything I had learned would always float around the back of my mind.

The next morning, the group woke up bright and early with our stomach’s growling louder than our tired, worn voices could speak. If all I had learned the previous night was not sufficient in influencing me, the hunger I was feeling pushed me over the edge. To think that I was only feeling a small fraction of the discomfort millions of starving children feel every day was unsettling; I could not imagine a life of constant hunger, especially now that I had received a taste of it.

We spent the majority of that day doing various volunteer jobs around the community and helping to package meals to be shipped overseas to the hungry. The entire time, I relied on the support of my friends and my faith in God to keep me standing, working, and my mind off the highly anticipated meal to come at the end of the Famine.

While working to organize care packages, a realization came to me. I looked around the large gym at my peers, youth group leaders, and the hundred-or-so other people scrambling to organize meal bags. All of us, including the wonderful people at World Vision who organize the Famine and inspire so many people to help the impoverished, are agents of God acting to make the world a better place. The situation of hunger may look grim, but as long as people like us keep working to do God’s will and our absolute best to help all in need, things will get better. It may take time before conditions completely improve, but the more people involved, the faster we can solve this complicated issue.

There is an immense amount of hope for the hungry, even when it may seem as though there isn’t, because under the guidance of our faith in God, we can create positive change on every corner of the globe.

As the 30th hour came to a close, I honestly felt I was a changed person. I felt as if a veil of ignorance had been lifted from my head, and I could see the problems faced by the millions of impoverished people much more clearly now than ever before.

I felt an immense amount of pride in my own abilities and the abilities of my peers, as we had just achieved what I thought to be impossible — going 30 hours without any food.

And to top it off, the entire experience had been an absolute blast. I found myself closer to other youth group members, closer to my already-close friends, and closer to God.

Today, I consider St. Joe’s a second home and my youth group a second family, and I have my first Famine experience to thank for that. Without the Famine, I would never have had the bravery or the inspiration to travel to Peru with World Vision the following summer. Now I look forward to doing the Famine with my youth group for the fourth time in April, and I hope to continue the fight against hunger through college and for the rest of my life.


The 30 Hour Famine will disciple youth in your church’s youth group to grow closer to God’s heart for the poor. Pass this article on to your church’s youth leader or sign up to do the 30 Hour Famine here!

Michael Atlas is a high school senior from New Jersey. He has participated in the 30 Hour Famine with his church youth group for the last four years, going hungry to raise money to care and feed for hungry children. In 2015, Michael was a top fundraiser and had the opportunity to travel with World Vision to Peru to see the work the 30 Hour Famine funds. Michael has remained dedicated to caring for people living in poverty and is a passionate advocate for justice in our world! We can’t wait to see what he does next.

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Join with us to pray for the Caribbean, specifically World Vision’s work in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Haiti is the least developed country in the Western Hemisphere. The Dominican Republic enjoys a stronger economy, but still 40 percent of its residents live in poverty. Both countries struggle with the lingering effects of major natural disasters.

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood. … The LORD gives strength to his people. —Psalm 29:10-11

Pray for disaster recovery efforts in Haiti.

This nation of more than 10 million was on a slow path to recovery after the 2010 earthquake killed about 220,000 people, displaced millions, and destroyed much of Haiti’s already-weak infrastructure. When Hurricane Matthew in 2016, it set the country’s recovery a severe blow. World Vision is helping families affected by these devastating disasters. Pray for continued progress in rebuilding and development.

Lord, in spite of the immense challenges Haiti faces, You have placed a host of resources there to help people recover and rebuild. Guide government leaders, affected families, and development organizations to move forward with a collective vision for a better life.

Pray for improved health for Haitians and Dominicans.

Since the 2010 earthquake, cholera has killed thousands of citizens and infected hundreds of thousands in Haiti. HIV also has been a problem in the Dominican Republic. More than 52,000 people live with the virus, including 5,000 children younger than 5. World Vision operates community health centers and sanitation and hygiene programs. Pray for better access to health services, clean water, and adequate hygiene and sanitation facilities.

Lord God, You alone can cure disease. Bring relief to those suffering from cholera, and improve access to sanitation and hygiene resources. Inspire and empower church and community leaders to love and serve people living with HIV.

Pray for exploited children in Haiti.

Roughly 790,000 Haitian children ages 5 through 17 are forced to work in households up to 14 hours per day. Families that can’t afford their children’s care often send them to friends or relatives, hoping they will have a better life. In some cases, these children are also abused or neglected. Pray that families can find ways to provide for their children’s needs.

Dear Jesus, through the prophet Isaiah, You declared You would bind up the brokenhearted and bring freedom from darkness. Please make this promise real for Haiti’s exploited children and their families, and provide them the resources they need to achieve fullness of life.

Pray for food security in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Beyond the 2010 earthquake, severe storms have caused widespread flooding and loss of agricultural production in both countries. In late 2012, Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy pushed Haiti into a food crisis, and the Dominican economy lost $30 million in agricultural production. In 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria wrought further damage. Pray for World Vision’s disaster relief efforts and work that is helping farmers recover by improving their agriculture techniques and irrigation systems.

Lord, with so many livelihoods at the mercy of environmental conditions, calm the storms that pass over these island nations. Bring relief to families who have lost homes and food sources. Bless farmers with the knowledge and resources to reap abundant harvests and provide for their families.

Pray for those affected by domestic violence in the Dominican Republic.

Almost 200 women are killed by their partner or former partner every year in the Dominican Republic. In some cases, children are also killed — in part due to a justice system slow to protect women and children. World Vision strives to influence government policy and works with community leaders to nurture children spiritually, lift up their voices, and protect them from domestic violence. Pray that leaders will truly protect families.

Heavenly Father, raise up advocates and help lawmakers understand the importance of creating a safe environment for children. Help all concerned to act on behalf of children’s well-being.

Pray that youth in the Dominican Republic can attend secondary school.

Although about 85 percent of Dominican children are enrolled in primary school, only 66 percent of boys and 79 percent of girls go on to secondary school. About 190,000 orphans are at particularly high risk of exploitation due to lack of resources, few child-rights advocates, and limited educational opportunities. World Vision provides tutoring and vocational training services to Dominican youth. Pray that more young people will have access to education and grow in the knowledge of God.

Lord, Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Raise up those who desire to know You more. Use teachers and community leaders to impart wisdom and practical skills so that Dominican Republic children can reach their full potential.

The post Covering the world in prayer: Pray for the Caribbean appeared first on World Vision.


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In eastern Uganda, a community is still reeling from the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency more than a decade ago. Children must walk a long way for dirty water while parents are still walking an emotional path of healing. Through it all, access to clean water would help everyone heal and have a fuller life.

Grace, 5, walks about 6 kilomters every day to help provide dirty water for her family to use for drinking, washing, and cooking. She often misses school because it takes so much of her time. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace, 5, walks about 6 kilomters every day to help provide dirty water for her family to use for drinking, washing, and cooking. She often misses school because it takes so much of her time. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

At daybreak, Asamo Grace’s tiny 5-year-old feet swiftly carry her along the narrow dirt path. She softly hums her ABC’s as butterflies flutter before her and crickets chirp in the dry grasses she brushes past. As the Ugandan sun begins its day’s journey across the bright blue sky, Grace begins her journey for water.

In Morungatuny, Uganda, 5-year-old Grace and 3-year-old Judith start and end their day with walking to gather water for their family. Judith often struggles to keep up with her older sister and has trouble carrying her 1-liter water can. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
In Morungatuny, Uganda, 5-year-old Grace and 3-year-old Judith start and end their day with walking to gather water for their family. Judith often struggles to keep up with her older sister and has trouble carrying her 1-liter water can. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Grace’s little sister, Asimo Judith, who’s a month shy of her third birthday, scampers behind, struggling to keep up as they make their way through the high grasses that stand far taller than both girls.

Judith, Grace's little sister, holds a plastic cup of water. The girls drink dirty water every day, and it often makes them sick. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Judith, Grace’s little sister, holds a plastic cup of water. The girls drink dirty water every day, and it often makes them sick. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

But unlike so many people who begin their day with morning exercise, this 1.75-mile walk in Morungatuny, Uganda, isn’t for fun or to take in the beauty of a peaceful morning. It’s out of necessity — Grace and Judith are making the day’s first trek to get water for their family.

With the nearest borehole about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away, the journey for clean water is more than 7 miles round trip. So the family instead settles for contaminated swamp water that’s half that distance — about 2.8 kilometers (1.75 miles)  —  away.

Grace and Judith must make their daily trek so the family can survive, and struggling for survival is what this community is accustomed to.

Grace, right, and Judith, left, scoop water from a dirty swamp, which serves as their family's main water source. They make at least two treks a day for water, Grace carrying a 3-liter can, and Judith carrying a 1-liter can. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace, right, and Judith, left, scoop water from a dirty swamp, which serves as their family’s main water source. They make at least two treks a day — about 6 kilometers in total — for water. Grace carries a 3-liter can, and Judith carries a 1-liter can. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

A wounded community

Life was already challenging for the people of Morungatuny, but in June 2002, their world became downright terrifying when Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group operating in Uganda and neighboring countries, moved into the area. The LRA launched its insurgency in 1987, aiming to create a new government based on a twisted interpretation of the Ten Commandments. Over the years, the LRA abducted tens of thousands of children, forcing them to fight or marry its soldiers, who murdered, raped, and destroyed.

A former child soldier attended a World Vision rehab center in Gulu, northern Uganda. World Vision's center helped children heal from the trauma they experienced as forced soldiers. (©2005 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
A former child soldier attended a World Vision rehab center in Gulu, northern Uganda. World Vision’s center helped children heal from the trauma they experienced as forced soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army. (©2005 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Auma Mary Margaret, 55, is a local official in Morungatuny. She remembers the horror.

“We rely on cows, which were being eaten by the rebels,” Mary Margaret says. “Food eaten. Houses burned. Most of the schools were destroyed. You couldn’t remain at your home alone.”

To protect people during the insurgency, the Ugandan government created camps for families while it fought the LRA. Borehole wells were installed at the camps, but there was little access to food. Children cried in anguish as they starved. As the calendar changed to 2003, the death toll rose, and desperation drove parents to take bold, dangerous risks.

I was arrested and badly beaten, almost to the point of death. —Joseph

Grace’s parents made the perilous trek home to their farm to gather food, but as they harvested cassava, LRA soldiers found them. “I was arrested and badly beaten, almost to the point of death,” says Joseph, 35.

A family seeks shelter from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Gulu, northern Uganda. The LRA terrorized families throughout the region. (©2005 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
A family seeks shelter from the Lord’s Resistance Army in Gulu, northern Uganda. The LRA terrorized families throughout the region. (©2005 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Soldiers tortured him for six hours. He’s never fully recovered from his injuries due to the lack of medical care in the community. His wife, pregnant at the time, also suffered. “When we were arrested, they separated us, so she was taken in a different direction. I was tortured, and she was tortured.”

The extent of her injuries suggests the worst. “She poured blood,” Joseph says. They lost their baby.

As the government cleared the area, families returned home. Joseph and his wife had more children, including Grace and Judith, but because of their emotional and physical pains, problems arose in their marriage. Joseph’s wife left home two years ago and has failed to return.

Their story isn’t unique. Many people in the community recount terrible events.

People are still traumatized. —Patience

“People are still traumatized,” says Abugo Patience, senior secretary in Morungatuny’s government.

While it’s been more than a decade since the area was under immediate threat from the LRA, the fear hasn’t faded. If Joseph hears a gunshot, it takes him back. He says, “You begin standing [close] with your children, and you get suspicious. You’re peeping around, but you don’t want to get out of the home. At night, you can’t sleep because you think it’s another attack.”

When he can sleep, his slumber is often ruined by torturous nightmares.

Grace's father, Alia Joseph, 35, still carries emotional and physical pain from being tortured by the Lord's Resistance Army. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace’s father, Alia Joseph, 35, still carries emotional and physical pain from being tortured by the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA occupied Morungatuny for a few years in the early 2000s and destroyed much of the buildings and crops as well as beat and tortured people. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“There are moments in dreams that the soldiers and rebels have again come, and when I dream, I get up and find my body very painful. I feel as if it’s a fresh wound,” Joseph says. The dreams emotionally rip open the wounds so desperate to heal.

Wanting to move forward, Joseph eventually remarried and clings to his faith to help him lead his family. He says, “I have a family that has survived, by the grace of God, and we have our hope in God.”

Water struggles

After a shaky peace deal was established in 2006, people began returning home. But they faced a water problem. The boreholes drilled during the war were by the camps, which weren’t close to people’s normal homes. Aluka Elizabeth, the area program manager for World Vision in Morungatuny, says there are 37 borehole wells across the larger district — but only 20 are functional.

There are only a few operating boreholes in Morungatuny area, remnants of displaced people camps that the government set up in the early 2000s as places of refuge from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The wells are far from family homes and often require many hours of walking and then waiting. Many, like this one, often break. World Vision has plans for water systems that will be closer to people's homes and that will be reliably run by trained water committees. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
There are only a few operating boreholes in the Morungatuny area — remnants of displaced people camps that the government set up in the early 2000s as places of refuge from the Lord’s Resistance Army. The wells are far from family homes and often require many hours of walking and then waiting. Many, like this one, often break. World Vision has plans for water systems that will be closer to people’s homes and that will be reliably run by trained water committees. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“The others got spoiled,” she says. “All of these were put in by the government and local partners
during the insurgency to manage the larger populations in the camp. At that time, World Vision was 
not there.”

Patience, 25, says clean water in the district is accessible — within 1 kilometer — for about an abysmal 20 percent of people.

People in the developing world walk an average of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) a day for water. In Morungatuny, if people want to access clean water, the only reliable borehole is about 6 kilometers one way. Joseph says it can take between 90 minutes and two hours to walk that distance.

Every borehole serves more than 850 people, which makes them incredibly crowded. Joseph says, “Then when you get to the water source, you can take two or three hours” because the line is so long, as it serves six communities.

A two-hour walk from Grace’s home is a government borehole serving 850 people with wait times up to three hours. The borehole was installed during the Lord's Resistance Army insurgency. Instead of spending all day fetching clean water at this borehole, Grace’s family reluctantly opts for the contaminated swamp water closer to home. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
A two-hour walk from Grace’s home is a government borehole serving 850 people with wait times up to three hours. The borehole was installed during the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency. Instead of spending all day fetching clean water at this borehole, Grace’s family reluctantly opts for the contaminated swamp water closer to home. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Even if families wanted to endure the walk and wait, the fields often flood and cut off access during the rainy season.

So many families, like Grace’s, opt for the shorter walk to the dirty swamp. But that creates a host of other challenges.

Safety struggles

Tall grasses more than twice as high as Grace’s tiny frame overhang the path she takes to get water. There are noises and rustlings aplenty — goats, cows, and pigs roaming; men zooming by on bicycles; and other women and children also walking for water.

Grace often gets tired and sore from carrying water about 6 kilometers every day. She also suffers from kidney problems because her family can’t afford the treatment. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace often gets tired and sore from carrying water about 6 kilometers every day. She also suffers from kidney problems because her family can’t afford the treatment. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Together, the sounds create a kind of symphony. But not all the sounds are innocent. One of the biggest concerns for children like Grace is safety. Her long walk is fraught with opportunities to get hurt or for others to hurt her.
 In 2016, a child in a neighboring community was kidnapped while walking for water.

Grace, 5, carries a 3-liter jug of dirty swamp water to her home. Her journey can be dangerous because of kidnappings and assault as well as simply many chances to trip and fall and hurt herself. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace, 5, carries a 3-liter jug of dirty swamp water to her home. Her journey can be dangerous because of kidnappings and assault as well as simply many chances to trip and fall and hurt herself. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“It frightens me moving alone along that long, bushy road,” Grace says, her voice barely audible. “I fear kidnappers — they use sacks and put the sack on your head.”

I fear kidnappers — they use sacks and put the sack on your head. —Grace

Sexual assault and broken bones from falling are also a risk. But safety isn’t only an issue for children. In a community with such deep emotional wounds, tempers can be short. Often husbands will accuse their wives of infidelity because they’re suspicious of how long the women are gone for water.

“The issue of water is causing domestic violence,” Patience says.

Education struggles

When Grace arrives late at her school, St. Mika, she stands nervously outside, reluctant to burst under the thatched-roof structure to join her classmates. Sometimes administrators and teachers scold or even beat her for being late.

Grace stands outside her classroom at St. Mika school, in Morungatuny, Uganda, anxious about entering because she is late from walking for water and may get in trouble or be ridiculed. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace stands outside her classroom at St. Mika school, in Morungatuny, Uganda, anxious about entering because she is late from walking for water and may get in trouble or be ridiculed. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

But today, her teacher, Acham Lucy, greets her with a smile and invites her to take her seat on the wooden bench.

Lucy Acham, Grace's teacher at St. Mika school in Morungatuny, Uganda, persuades Grace to come into class even though she is late because she was walking to gather water. Grace is often hesitant to join class late because students make fun of her and teacher scold her. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Lucy Acham, Grace’s teacher at St. Mika school in Morungatuny, Uganda, persuades Grace to come into class even though she is late because she was walking to gather water. Grace is often hesitant to join class late because students make fun of her and teachers scold her. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Lucy guides the students in learning their ABC’s, numbers, and types of transportation, and she ends their morning lessons with having them draw their teacher reading a book, which Grace pours herself into. She loves drawing pictures — on paper with pencil or in the dirt with chalk — as well as jumping rope, matching, and counting.

Grace, on the far left in her school uniform, loves to draw and count and dreams of becoming a nurse, but she is about two years behind in her studies because she misses so much school due to how long it takes to get water each day. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace, on the far left in her school uniform, loves to draw and count and dreams of becoming a nurse, but she is about two years behind in her studies because she misses so much school due to how long it takes to get water each day. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Grace enjoys school, but to make it to class, which starts at 8 a.m., she must hurry to get water in the morning. She’s often as much as an hour late — and sometimes she may simply not go at all. During the rainy season, she misses about 10 days a month. But during the dry season, when she must walk much farther for water, her grandmother Selina estimates that Grace misses 80 percent of her classes. And sometimes, she may miss class simply because her family can’t afford her exam fees or supplies.

Because she’s missed so many classes, Grace is two years behind in her studies.
“Her performance is poor because she comes late,” Lucy says. “She has to catch up. Sometimes she can’t finish the week with coming to school. She can perform better when she attends every day and is on time too.”

Classmates often ridicule Grace for being late and behind in her studies. She says, “They laugh at me all day.”

But tardiness and absences are problems throughout Morungatuny. Many schools had to be rebuilt following the insurgency. Eloagu Julius, the school founder and a teacher, says the school started four years ago with 168 children. Today, the school has only 109 students, and of those, only 30 had arrived on time that day — a tally that isn’t unusual.

Lucy Acham teaches Grace, far right, and her classmates. There are two levels of preschool and a kindergarten equivalent level all in this class. Grace should be in the kindergarten level, but because she misses so much school, she's at the first preschool level. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Lucy Acham teaches Grace, far right, and her classmates. There are two levels of preschool and a kindergarten equivalent level all in this class. Grace should be in the kindergarten level, but because she misses so much school, she’s at the first preschool level. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“Children [can] come to school more easily when there is a water source nearby,” Julius says. “It encourages children to run and have happiness.”

Grace longs to become a nurse. She says, “I want to inject the children and be a vaccinator so they can get healed and not have diarrhea and polio.” But she’ll need a solid education to make that happen. She also needs the proper supplies to study. Selina laments that often the children cry because they don’t have notebooks and schoolbooks to do their assignments.

Grace dreams of becoming a nurse so she can help vaccinate children against diseases. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace dreams of becoming a nurse so she can help vaccinate children against diseases. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Joseph prays. “My dream, and I’m praying by the grace of God, that he gives them life, and I want my children to study,” he says. “I want one to become a doctor, one an engineer, one a police person, one a carpenter, and one to become a teacher.”

Patience thinks more families in Morungatuny would be able to have such dreams and see them become reality if the community had closer access to clean water. She says, “If water was brought nearer, a child would be at school — the child might not have to go get water.”

World Vision Area Program Manager Elizabeth Aluka, jumps rope with children at Grace's school in Morungatuny. Elizabeth wove the rope in just a few minutes from nearby grasses, just as she did as a child growing up in a nearby area.(©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
World Vision Area Program Manager Elizabeth Aluka, jumps rope with children at Grace’s school in Morungatuny. Elizabeth wove the rope in just a few minutes from nearby grasses, just as she did as a child growing up in a nearby area.(©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Health struggles

At home, Grace seems tired and may be developing a fever. Judith runs around, her tiny body carrying a far heavier-than-normal belly.

“Judith has a problem — she continuously falls sick,” Selina says. She’s had tests done. “They keep telling me she has a high fever and stomach pain, and they tell me it’s malaria.”

Grace and Judith wash their dirty feet and legs from a basin at their home after gathering water. The girls walk about 6 kilometers every day to gather dirty water. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace and Judith wash their dirty feet and legs from a basin at their home after gathering water. The girls walk about 6 kilometers every day to gather dirty water. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

She’ll receive a health evaluation soon, but the diagnosis could also be worms, which Grace has been treated for in the past. Grace and Selina have also had typhoid, and the whole family — particularly the children — consistently gets diarrhea.

“It can be frequent,” Selina says, “especially during the wet season and when they go [for water] after the animals have drunk.”

Judith, nearly 3, naps at her grandmother’s feet, exhausted after walking for water in the afternoon heat. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Judith, nearly 3, naps at her grandmother’s feet, exhausted after walking for water in the afternoon heat. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

She says the children are all constantly sick. “Every time they use the water from the swamp, there are complaints of stomach problems and headaches,” Joseph adds. Grace has been diagnosed with kidney problems, but proper medical treatment is not available in their community.

The water also creates itchy and painful sores that leave scars. Grace has some on her legs that she says hurt when she walks for water. It’s only one of the pains for her young body. She says she also gets tired and her head and neck hurt from carrying the water “because it’s long, and I don’t rest on the way.”

Many of the women and children in the community have a form of dermatitis that causes itchy, circular sores all over their bodies, like Abido Merab, 5, has on the side of her face. Grace has smaller sores on her legs. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Many of the women and children in the community have a form of dermatitis that causes itchy, circular sores all over their bodies, like Abido Merab, 5, has on the side of her face. Grace has smaller sores on her legs. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

The distance to the health centers also compounds the water issues. The dirt roads to get there are bumpy, filled with holes, and in some places, only wide enough for a bike — which all make it challenging for families to transport their children.

Okello Emmanuel, 40, is part of the village health team, which serves as the first line of treatment for people in the community. He says, “There are long distances to access the health service facilities. Some parents can’t get to these, so they reach them when they’re already at an emergency level.”

Even if they do make it to the local clinic, there are other difficulties. Ojulong Aaron, the clinic officer for Morungatuny Health Center III, has a sink at the clinic that doesn’t produce anything.

“There’s no running water,” he says. “We [only] get water from the rain, so we can’t wash our hands.”

People wait for help at the health clinic in Morungatuny, Uganda. The clinic has no running water for washing hands or treating patients, instead relying on the rain. The clinic has just seven staff members to serve about 1,200 people a month and often lacks the tests and supplies it needs to properly treat people. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
People wait for help at the health clinic in Morungatuny, Uganda. The clinic has no running water for washing hands or treating patients, instead relying on the rain. The clinic has just seven staff members to serve about 1,200 people a month and often lacks the tests and supplies it needs to properly treat people. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Aaron has a staff of only seven who see more than 1,200 people a month. He says malaria is the number one disease for the children. The clinic staff also handle many cases of diarrhea, typhoid, and dermatitis from the dirty water, as well as people needing psychosocial support after the LRA insurgency. He says that nationally, about 20 percent of people get diarrhea. The local rate is barely above that at 22 percent, and he hopes to decrease that number.

He says the other major challenge is a shortage of medicine and tests. “Without the test, you can’t get the treatment,” Aaron says. “Sometimes we’re blindly treating.”

A mother and her child wait for help at the crowded Morungatuny clinic. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
A mother and her child wait for help at the crowded Morungatuny clinic. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

But families often can’t afford treatment elsewhere. “You have poverty rates so high, and you tell someone to buy something to clear up a rash; where would they get the money for that?” Patience says. “If they go to the health unit and find there is no medicine, the only solution is to buy from the private drugstores, which are very expensive.” So it becomes a choice between medicine and food.

That’s why Joseph continues to have problems from injuries he sustained during the terrible beating, and it’s why his children have persistent health problems. “When any of the children fall sick, I’m not able to raise enough funds to get a full treatment,” he says. “Our little Grace has a problem with the stomach and has pain in her kidneys and pelvic area.”

Aaron says additional funding would help provide tests and medicine for proper treatment. But prevention is better than treatment, so having access to safe water close to home would change everything.

Joseph sees how clean water would give his family better health, and he says World Vision can help.

“Sponsorship can help Grace get that treatment.”

Financial struggles

With so little money to support his family, Joseph struggles to pay all the costs involved with his children’s educations, which in total cost about 990,000 schillings a year (about US$278). But what pains him more is that he can’t afford the medicine his children desperately need when they’re sickened by dirty water.

He feels these strains, but the lingering effects of his injuries prevent him from farming more crops to sell at the market. “I can’t do a big plot that would bring a lot of food for my home,” he says. “My waist gets tired. I desire to do work like any other, but my energy [isn’t enough].”

Grace's grandmother, Ariso Selina, is in her 50s and suffers from a lot of physical pain. She relies on the children to help her with chores at the house and with gathering water. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace’s grandmother, Ariso Selina, is in her 50s and suffers from a lot of physical pain. She relies on the children to help her with chores at the house and with gathering water.
(©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Stomach pains, cysts, and ulcers slow Selina down when farming, so she struggles to keep up, saying, “The children are my hands of work.”

Grace's chores include helping her grandmother, Selina, wash dishes, sweep, and maintain their home. Even though she is only 5, Grace is already aware of all the chores that must be done each day. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace’s chores include helping her grandmother, Selina, wash dishes, sweep, and maintain their home. Even though she is only 5, Grace is already aware of all the chores that must be done each day. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

And without water close by, Joseph can’t water his crops, so they don’t flourish. Instead, he’s forced to depend on the rain — which is no longer reliable. “The rains are very unpredictable nowadays,” Patience says. “We used to have two rainy seasons and one dry season, and now we can’t predict how many seasons we’ll have in one year. … You can’t really say, ‘Let me plant this at this time.’”

By early November, Joseph’s chili pepper crops had already shriveled. He dreams of someday having resources to help him farm more productively.

“If we had a near water source, we could maybe do irrigation or draw water for our crops,” he says. “We would be able to do short-term rotating with crops like cabbages, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes. All those crops have market during the dry season because they’re not available.”

Grace loves to draw, whether it's on paper or in the dirt with chalk. Here she draws a woman wearing a skirt. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace loves to draw, whether it’s on paper or in the dirt with chalk. Here she draws a woman wearing a skirt. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Solutions

With water the source of so many problems in Morungatuny, both the government and World Vision are working toward solutions.

“The priority is mostly water because without water, you don’t have life,” Patience says of the government’s efforts. “But the resources we have are very meager.”

Elizabeth Aluka, area program manager in Morungatuny, Uganda, has an intimate talk with Grace (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Elizabeth Aluka, area program manager in Morungatuny, Uganda, has an intimate talk with Grace (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

She says the government is able to rehabilitate one borehole a year. It would take 17 years to fix what already exists, let alone build new wells or fix more. Over the last four years, World Vision has installed four borehole wells in the district and trained community leaders on how to maintain the wells.

“World Vision plays a big role because it does almost everything a government is supposed to do,” Patience says. “It’s helped us with livelihood, agriculture, sponsorship, education. The pit latrines they’ve given us are improving the sanitation in the schools. It has also drilled boreholes. It encourages us and trains us on other issues that are related. The community is empowered.”

She says the evidence of that empowerment is visible throughout other communities in the district where World Vision hasn’t yet worked, but where the principles it teaches are already being applied. Patience says it “shows that people have really learned something” when you see practices and programs being shared by word of mouth.

Mary Margaret sees change in the community as well as a correlation between clean water and recovery. “We’re grateful to World Vision for the healing we have seen,” she says. “We have some boreholes.

It’s not enough, but we have some — we are lucky. The relationship is so good. They are helping.”

Elizabeth Aluka walks with Grace, left, and Judith, right. In Morungatuny, Uganda, the girls start and end their day with walking to gather water for their family. It’s about 6 kilometers of walking every day for them. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Elizabeth Aluka walks with Grace, left, and Judith, right. In Morungatuny, Uganda, the girls start and end their day with walking to gather water for their family. It’s about 6 kilometers of walking every day for them. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

World Vision is working with the community to install three boreholes in the area in the year ahead. Paul Oiesigye, a water engineer for World Vision in Uganda’s eastern region, says drilling for shallow wells in the area has been challenging.

“You have to drill and go deep to get water,” he says. “In some areas, you’re really limited by the underground water situation.”

Elizabeth noted that some of the borehole wells run dry faster than expected. World Vision wants to install a mechanized system. Paul says, “A solar-powered, motorized water system is cost-effective. They use a generator or a grid. The only challenge is in the initial investment of buying the solar panels. After the initial investment, the people are able to manage that system.”

A project like this can help about 20,000 people, in comparison to 900 served by a regular borehole.

The first priority is the health centers, says Paul: “We need to ensure the health centers are equipped with continuous water year-round. We can’t mainly rely on rainwater.”

Elizabeth says that if World Vision can drill 13 boreholes, they can reduce the local walk for water to around 3 kilometers. With 20 boreholes, the distance will drop to 1.5 kilometers — significant progress toward reaching the ideal 1-kilometer threshold. She says, “We will be very intentional,” when World Vision plans the well locations with the community.

Elizabeth Aluka, a local World Vision manager, talks with Grace, on her lap, while Judith watches. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Elizabeth Aluka, a local World Vision manager, talks with Grace, on her lap, while Judith watches. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Even though Joseph still struggles with pain and Grace and Judith are still walking a long path for water, the family is hopeful. As they attend church every week, Joseph encourages his children to seek God in the midst of their burdens.

God will remove this wound of pain. —Joseph

“I use the Bible and tell them the living testimonies of our home based on the trials the family is going through,” he says. “Every challenge we go through, I share with them and encourage them every Sunday to go for prayers, and when they go, they shouldn’t just be going to church; they should pray, repent of anything the family has done to God, pray for God to forgive them, and pray for God to open a way for them. God will remove this wound of pain.”

Grace and her family sit at their home. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)
Grace and her family sit at their home. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

How to help

 


Walk or run in the Global 6K for Water May 19. Every step you take is one they won’t have to.

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